February 12: Arriving in Freeport, Bahamas

Winds gusted to 45 knots on a cold and blustery morning as we approached Freeport, Bahamas. The moody weather mirrored our mixed emotions as the expedition came to an end. For the Lone Ranger, the return to port begins a new chapter in her long and storied history as she is decommissioned from the scientific fleet of the Schmidt Ocean Institute to become a global expedition vessel once again.

Sunrise on a cold and blustery day as the Lone Ranger nears the Bahamas. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer

Sunrise on a cold and blustery day as the Lone Ranger nears the Bahamas. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer

Now the ship’s crew are preparing to join the R/V Falkor, the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s newest research vessel. The R/V Falkor is currently at a shipyard in Germany where work to retrofit the vessel with cutting-edge scientific support facilities and equipment is nearing completion and delivery is expected in March 2012.

A view from the bridge during our approach. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer

A view from the bridge during our approach. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer


The pilot boat approaches the Lone Ranger. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer

The pilot boat approaches the Lone Ranger. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer


Scientists and crew on the Lone Ranger as the ship leaves the Sargasso Sea. This is the final scientific mission for the vessel. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer

Scientists and crew on the Lone Ranger as the ship leaves the Sargasso Sea. This is the final scientific mission for the vessel. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer


The Lone Ranger alongside the dock in Freeport, Bahamas. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer

The Lone Ranger alongside the dock in Freeport, Bahamas. Photo: Debbie Nail Meyer

—Debbie Nail Meyer