April 27, 2004–May 8, 2004
We departed at 06:00 and planned to transit all the way south to San Juan Seamount in time to dive tomorrow. The weather was clear, sunny, and completely calm (Duanne Thompson took this photo of the ship in front of MBARI while returning from a mooring trip aboard the Zephyr). Unfortunately, when we were part way down the coast of Big Sur, the ROV pilots discovered that a power spike experienced yesterday while they were testing the ROV caused damage to the power can. You can see the burned part (blackened, near center) of a computer board (green) in the ROV's power can that got hit with a power spike (image to the right). We returned to Moss Landing for spares and stood offshore while they replaced the smoked board and made sure that the one component was the extent of the problem. We set off again at about 17:30, with strong afternoon breezes making the seas a bit choppy. Our destination is now Rodriguez Seamount, where we hope to be on site for a dive by 11:00 tomorrow.
On our way north to repair the ROV, one of the ship's propulsion motors overheated again, setting off a smoke alarm, so half our return home was on one engine. This is the same problem that had crippled the ship for the last two months. They have decided to proceed with the caveat that the motors not be driven at 100%. Our transit to Rodriguez Seamount is on one engine anyway to conserve fuel, since our detour today used up a lot of our reserves.