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After leaving Salina Island yesterday at 1100, we reached our base on Manoel Island at 0830 Friday morning. Except for a swell off Catania, the journey was relatively uneventful. We made fast at our berth and got the boat shipshape. Over the next two weeks we will be involved in an environmental project, which should take us up to the third week of August.
The first part of our season is over. We are heading back to our home base in Malta. This trip will take us back through the Straits of Messina and down the eastern coast of Sicily. This trip will reunite some our crew with their loved ones and therefore makes it that little bit special.
Leaving Salina after two weeks, we said farewell to our numerous friends and colleagues. We then prepared ISIS for tow and set off for the Straits of Messina – next stop Malta.
The twenty course participants enjoyed a number of interesting lectures on the subject of new technologies and their application to deepwater archaeology. Lectures took place at the cultural centre of Santa Marina. On Tuesday morning, students were taken out for practicals on board the ISIS and in the afternoon we looked at how sonar data are analyzed and managed.
Following the Wednesday morning lectures the group crossed to Lipari for a visit to the world famous Bernabo Brea Museum. It was a privilige to be guided through the various collections by Sebastiano Tusa, who is an expert on Sicilian underwater archaeology and prehistory.
In the evening, a gala event was held in the main square of Santa Marina where images and footage of our Aeolian survey were projected on a big screen. All participants received a certificate.
One of the main objectives of our stay on Salina was the organization of a course in new technologies available for undersea exploration. Throughout the winter months AURORA, together with the Superintendence of the Sea, made sure that everything was in place for participants from Sicily, Italy and Lebanon to meet in Salina at the end of July. The local council of Santa Marina played a vital role in making this course happen. Special thanks to the mayor Massimo Lo Schiavo.
The main aim of this short course is not to create instant experts in undersea technologies but rather to imbue in them a sense of what is available to modern researchers. A number of talks, practical sessions on the ISIS and a site visit to the wonderful and world famous museum of Lipari.
So its all systems go till Wednesday night when we end the course with a gala event.