Counted them all out …..

….. and counted them all back in again.

We have got to that point in any data acquisition when the “lasts” happen.

Starting with the last seismic source shot to be fired, which was monitored with on a multitude of screens – a multitude of screens for multichannel seismic data quality control!

When the last shot was fired and when the recording of the returning signals reflected off rock layers in the subsurface concluded 60s later, then the “off” button was clicked and everything shutdown ready to be dismantled for packing.

The packing of the multichannel system also included dismantling and stripping down to its component parts the equipment that resides on the deck.

This is much heavier and generally requires a crane to shift.

Once that was concluded all the remaining seabed instruments were progressively recovered through the night and into the following day.

At night they can be much easier to spot as each has a flashing light that emits a pulse every few seconds that should be visible for several miles – a calm sea also helps.

And finally, our last one appears – all successfully deployed and all successfully recovered., and with each and every one having recorded a full load of data, for each sensor attached.

A 100% success rate.

Then it was full steam back to port, packing all our instrumentation up as we went.

And on arrival, everything was craned off. The multichannel streamer winches onto the quay.

Our equipment went straight onto a lorry bound for the Customs warehouse where it would be inspected again before we can pack it back into our own 20’ shipping container that has sat in storage in the port for the duration.

One fully loaded lorry and a bit more still to go.

Once we’ve packed our container and sealed it we’ll be ready fly home.

But one task we have to do before leaving the research vessel is pack and clean our cabins, and put all the bedlinen in the repository for washing and make the bunk ready for the next occupant.

The instrumentation, all being well, should be back in the UK in three weeks or so.

By then we’ll have been back to the Azores to collect the six instruments that have been sitting on the seabed there for the last four months recording earthquakes resulting from an ongoing volcanic eruption of the islands and through ruptures on the seabed.

Data acquisitions can seem like red buses at times – don’t do one for a (COVID) long time, and then several come along in quick succession.

Once the Azores instruments are recovered we’ll then be starting the preparations and mobilisation for the next biggish one in July.

And before that we are hoping to receive a delivery of six new platforms that have been being built over the last six months – we’ll have to give them an in-water test as well!

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