Friday, December 11, 2009

Some very important Spaniards

In my present mood, every Spaniard is important. But let me pay particular tribute here to two Spanish scientists, Antonio Gonzalez Ramos and Enrique Alvarez Fanjul.

Antonio is a biology professor at the University of Las Palmas on Grand Canary, in the Canary Islands, and Enrique is a physical oceanographer with Puertos del Estado, the Spanish government agency that runs the country's ports and also concerns itself with oceanography. I don't have space to do proper justice to what they did for the Atlantic Crossing project, but suffice to say that they were crucial. They provided access to important satellite data used by the glider pilots in Rutgers to plot their course, and in Antonio's case, an algorithm to help them make the best use of that information. Enrique used his diplomatic skill and cross-cultural sensitivity to help everyone focus on the task at hand; it was his agency that chartered the Investigador, for instance.

And, on the day, the Great and Manifest Day, Antonio was the first to spot Scarlet Knight bobbing in the sea. He and Enrique were nothing if not hands-on. Here, they are in the zodiac heading back to the Investigador from their first inspection of the Scarlet Knight before they return to take it out of the water. That's Enrique in the stern, waving. First Officer Juan Pedrosa has his hand on the tiller; Antonio and Scott Glenn are in the bow.

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