On Friday and Saturday, 15 and 16 June 2018, the Light Trap was once more under way in the port from dusk until 1 am. The framework for this action was provided by the Lange Tag der StadtNatur (Long Day of Urban Nature) initiated for the eighth time by the Loki Schmidt Stiftung (Loki Schmidt Foundation). In altogether 220 public events, various places in Hamburg and the region – generally inaccessible to the public – were explored with regard to their biodiversity. The Loki Schmidt Stiftung was supported by the association Verein GEO-Tag der Natur and the Center of Natural History (CeNak) at the University of Hamburg. The main sponsor for this year was the foundation Stiftung Lebensraum. For 2018, the particular focus was on the Elbe as a lifeline for the region.
On the initiative of Dr. Martin Kubiak, who organized the scientific monitoring of the activities on behalf of the CeNak, the opportunity arose to repeat our investigations by staging Light Trap Hamburg 2018 and thereby to continue our science-based data collection. This time, finding the right experts was therefore not a problem, instead, the difficulty was to find a ship: as the Repsold was already scheduled for the Baltic Sea, we needed to find an appropriate alternative. Neither the Stiftung Hamburg Maritim (Hamburg Maritime Foundation), nor the Port Museum Hamburg, a branch of the Museum of Work possessing historical vessels of the right size, were willing to collaborate. Unfortunately, negotiations with the owners of the police boat Ottenstreuer at the Museumshafen Övelgönne (Museum Harbour Övelgönne) also failed to lead to results. With Christine Röthig and Jan Peters, co-founders of the association Fördervereins Hamburger Hafenlieger Verein (HHLV), we finally managed to find the right cooperation partners.
As we learned during our first inspection with Hans Georg Losekamm, the launch Elsa, built in 1908, 13 m long and 2,86 m wide, was smaller than the fire-fighting boat Repsold. The motorboat was, however, nonetheless big enough to fit the light object and the historical 3-cylinder Jastram diesel engine strong enough to transport it. We figured out that if we were to place the light trap on deck centrally, it would slightly protrude beyond the ship’s edge. Different from the way the light trap was positioned on the Repsold, where observers would stand in front of a railing on its elevated deck, on board the Elsa, they would sit on benches installed all around the ship’s sides.