….. or in our case gone deploying.
Ship time is expensive and so all of our deployment and recovery operations tend to be 24/7 operations.
As we only have relatively few (for us) instruments to deploy a 24/7 operation has turned into a long day, which involved getting up with the sun and leaving port as it was still getting light.
There are some perks in working all hours to suit the task in hand – and one of them is lovely atmospheric views – even if this one suggests its going to rain.
The first task after leaving port, as soon as the water gets deep enough, is to test the release devices that enable us to get our instruments off the seabed when we are ready to recover them.
This involves dangling something over the side.
The side A-frame of the Aquepeligo is perfect for this job, and peering over the side at nothing always seems popular.
The interesting thing – on the end of the wire is our acoustic release carousel – is several hundred metres deep, so it cannot be seen no matter how long you peer over the side ……..
…. at least not until we fish it out of the water, job done.
We always test more releases than we actually need, and choose the ones that perform best in the water conditions we have to deploy into – although identically constructed they have uniques characteristics – some apparently liking shallower water over deeper, and some preferring warmer to colder water.
Odd – but there is it – makes our job more interesting at least.
Once the acoustic tests were complete, off we steamed at full transit speed to the first deployment site which was just a few hours away.
During the transit the instrument platforms were fitted with their releases and everything checked and double checked before reaching the first station.
Pity the sun didn’t come out, as the view of the islands would have been lovely.
The ship’s crew are used to fishing for research purposes – what we were doing must have seemed quite odd to them – but regardless they were extremely helpful.
And, eventually, it was time for number 5 – when its flag is installed that is the marker for the crew that it is ready to go.
Hooked up to the stern A-frame winch, lifted off the deck, A-frame rotated outboard and …….
…… away – only ~2000m before it lands on the seabed.
The bubbles are nothing to worry about – that’s not a pressure vessel leak – its just the air escaping from the yellow hard hat cases that protect the glass flotation.
All done – and its time to head back to port just as the sun starts to set.
Our ship track shows we have zigzagged about a bit – not quite a bow-tie, but close enough.
These instruments will now sit on the seabed listening for small earthquakes that will map how the volcanic eruption is progressing and from which the lead scientist will develop a model of the processes that result in the eruption.
We would like to say many thanks to the crew of the Aquepeligo for their helpfulness and assistance with this URGENCY deployment.