Saturday, August 28, 2010

Science log 3- out to sea and back

We arrived at the deployment site at 5:30 AM. All hands we on deck and by 6:30 the wave glider was in the water and quickly moved on its eastward path. Throughout the course of the day the glider's speed was registered at 2.1 to 3.0 knots. This surprised just about everyone on-board the ship. The average, or expected speed, was between 1 to 2 knots.
So the deployment went smoothly. The retrieval, on the other hand did not. You may be asking, but why? Well the gulf is always full of surprises in weather, especially in the fall. So when we left the dock it was kinda overcast and then for the whole day yesterday it rained, either a drizzle or a deluge. The storm caused 4-8 foot swells and a very fluid boat, or what everyone called 'the rockin' ryan'. Luckily I took everyone's advice and started taking dramamine 2 days before deployment. I got kinda queasy at one time, basically the first time I tried sitting down on my computer to write the daily report. I took a video of the 'box' I call the office, but I can't seem to get my computer to play it. Maybe I can add it through another computer. The portable office is situated on the back deck very close to the deck edge. We had wave crashing into our window every 10 or so minutes and our chairs were rolling around, even with duck tape on them.
The day seemed to be going pretty slowly. Especially since I woke up at 5:30 and the peak excitement of the day happened at 6:30 am. However, at 4:00 pm, the CSIRO scientists came knocking at my office to inform me that the winch they used to deploy the vertical cast equipment had broken, or more specifically, there was a crack in the shaft coupling sleeve of the sprocket. Immediately I had to call the manufacturer and relay that we needed a replacement sprocket for us at port on Saturday. This call required a photograph due to my inability to properly describe all things mechanical. Based on the winch being out of commission we made a decision to go ahead and head back to port. On our way back in we decided to try to find the Wave glider and retrieve it. Finding that little sucker was tricky, especially since it had gotten dark and the storm had escalated (along with the size of the waves). So the wild goose chase continued and when we finally found it it took 2 hours to catch the glider and get it onto the deck. It was almost like the little robot had a mind of its own, always tacking when we got close to it. I felt like I was in a wild adventure with big seas, rain, and a pitching boat- a regular most dangerous catch. After the excitement of getting the wave glider on-board it was almost 9:30 pm. I had a few hours before my shift was up and we headed in to Theodore. The boat continued to pitch all night and I slept in till 9:00!

No comments:

Post a Comment