Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Release the Floats!

December 27th, 2016
Now that I have mostly acclimated to life on rocking ship (with the aid
of my wonderful medication!) It is time to get to some serious work.
Today we have 2 SOCCOM floats to deploy and prior to both launches, the
boat will send out a CTD to take water samples. A CTD is a cylindrical
looking device that has a ring of water bottles that can be individually
remotely triggered at different depths to capture water samples at
varying points in the water column. The CTD has a number of uses. Some
of the other science teams use the water samples for their experiments
to analyze components of the water such as chlorophyll. The first CTD
deployment only goes to a depth of 200M as below that there is not much
photosynthesis and hence no chlorophyll.
The second CTD deployment goes to a depth of 2000M and is used for
additional experiments. Our SOCCOM group uses this deeper test as a
control to calibrate the some of the sensors in our SOCCOM floats. So
why 2000M? Well it just so happens that the SOCCOM float spends most of
its days at 1000M. Roughly every 10 days it descends to 2000M before
making a dash to the surface. As the float rises through the water
column all of the onboard sensors come to life creating a highly
detailed profile of what is happening at that location in the ocean. The
CTD test allows scientists to ensure that the sensors on the float are
providing accurate information. If there is any discrepancies in the
readings, the data can be corrected in accordance with the CTD readings.

So my friends, as you can see there is a lot happening today! It seems
as if the entire boat was up and working as early as 3am. I was able to
sleep in and didn't have to get up until 4:45am. We really wanted to get
some footage and photos of the CTD going in the water so it was divide
and conquer time! I set up the GoPro while Greta took photos with the
Canon SLR.
Shortly after the CTD was done, it was time to toss the first float
overboard. Que the Benny Hill music, because we really had to hustle! We
really wanted to be on the aft deck during the deployment, but because
the waves and wind were all up in our business, the only thing we could
leave on the deck was our GoPro.

Was I finished? Well what do you think?
Of course not!

I still had my Blackmagic URSA mini to setup on the helideck. Greta and
I found our positions overlooking the deployment site just as the float
was being carried out onto the deck. While Greta furiously snapped away,
I stayed focused on the float box. Steve Riser really wanted to see the
biodegradable box break open and the float fall out. While I was able to
track the float box for a minute or two, it slipped behind the waves
before we could see the big payoff.

1 float down, 1 to go!

By the night of the 27th we had reached the next deployment site and
the CTD team got to work doing their thing. By the time we were ready to
deploy the 2nd float, it was around 3:30am. The seas and wind had both
died down, but now we had a light rain. As you can guess, water and
cameras do not generally mix well. (ok so the GoPro does, but my big
camera would not be thrilled)

Did I let this stop me? Heck no.

Before the trip, I assumed floating around in the Southern ocean may
expose everything to some water in one form or another. To cover my
bases, I picked up a Porta Brace rain slicker for the URSA. I am never a
fan of the bulkiness and awkward handling that goes along with a rain
slicker, but is sure does keep things dry.

Shooting on a ship, the jungle or a car wash? Bring something to cover
your camera. Yea it's an expense, but also way cheaper than replacing
your water and suds filled gear.

So this ends another long and exciting day here aboard the NBP. With a
little sleep and some food, I will be ready to do it all over again!
I know, I promised a post about working with the 360 cam. It'll happen,
perhaps tomorrow? Come back soon to find out!
Cheers and stuff,
Ted

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