August 10 - August 17, 2006
August 17, 2006
ROV Dive 6: Finishing the Extended Experiments
After sea conditions prevented another AUV dive last night, the Brewer group had an early morning, starting a half-day ROV dive in hopes of freeing up the crew to launch the AUV in the afternoon. As such, the ROV touched seafloor around 7:30am to begin its final day of experiments. The day’s main goals were to use the PUP positioner for the DORISS laser optic probe head to examine the hydrate contents of both the time-lapse camera mesh cage as well as the carbon dioxide replacement experiment container. Both of these missions were accomplished by noon, with visibly noticeable results from the dissociation experiment (the purer hydrate sample decreased in size faster than the oil-saturated sample), and more subtle data from the Raman spectra of the potentially carbon dioxide hydrate formed in the Pyrex chamber.
This data will continue to be analyzed on the ship and in the laboratory. Once the experimental containers on the elevator frame had been collected back onto the ROV, the metal weight holding down the elevator to the sea floor was released, and the buoy attached to its top lifted it to the surface in minutes.
Before returning back to the ship, our serious experiments completed, we allocated a bit of ROV time for some celebratory amusement. There now resides a pink lawn ornament flamingo near one of the hydrate outcrops, proudly displaying the MBARI logo. In addition, as a continuation of a tradition and as a token of our friendship to our favorite brewery in Newport, Rogue Brewery, we took a photo of one of their beer bottles illuminated with the Raman laser at 850 meters depth. Several MBARI cruises had taken underwater photos of Rogue beer bottles through the years and presented poster sized versions to the brewery bar/restaurant. In exchange, the establishment presented us with their insignia flag, which still hangs proudly in the ROV bay.
The AUV deployment went smoothly and as planned, as the waters outside were among the calmest we’ve seen on this voyage. Retrieval took place at 8:30 this evening in increasing winds, but we experienced no major problems. We are currently steaming to an additional site to try to squeeze in an additional AUV run to make up for lost days. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and allow us this opportunity.