No idle hands in this calm weather

November 12, 2012

MBARI’s marine operations team, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) pilots, Ken Smith’s science team, and their collaborators all converged on the R/V Western Flyer at 7:00 a.m. to prepare the ship for departure. By 7:50 a.m. the Western Flyer was underway and by 8:30 a.m. Moss Landing Harbor and the iconic towers of the Moss Landing power plant were nothing but tiny reminders on the horizon of our land-based start.

The free vehicle grab respirometer (FVGR) sits ready to be deployed early Tuesday morning as the ship steams away from Moss Landing. Photo: Carola Buchner.

The free vehicle grab respirometer (FVGR) sits ready to be deployed early Tuesday morning as the ship steams away from Moss Landing. Photo: Carola Buchner.

Though it takes a full day and night’s steam to get to Station M, all hands have been busy all day. Jake Ellena and Crissy Huffard tested and mounted electronics to the free vehicle grab respirometer (FVGR), the first instrument to be deployed tomorrow, while Henry Ruhl made sure the respiration chambers sealed well and functioned properly for operation on the seafloor, 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) below. The engineering team planned the recovery and turn-around of the Benthic Rover, another autonomous instrument that will occupy much of tomorrow’s efforts at Station M. Still more tasks, such as tying down equipment in the wet lab, organizing tools and labeling drawers, a safety briefing and fire drill, and the continual planning required to ensure that all tasks can be accommodated, filled the rest of the day.

Crissy Huffard and Jake Ellena test equipment on the way out to Station M. Photo: Carola Buchner.

Crissy Huffard and Jake Ellena test equipment on the way out to Station M. Photo: Carola Buchner.

Tomorrow will be an early start. All hands are needed at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow to help prepare for deployments, so we’ll enjoy the sunset and then head off to bed.

Calm swells make for a smooth trip so far down to Station M. Reports indicate calm weather, with conditions holding out until Friday or Saturday. Photo: Carola Buchner.

Calm swells make for a smooth trip so far down to Station M. Reports indicate calm weather, with conditions holding out until Friday or Saturday. Photo: Carola Buchner.

—Amanda Kahn