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> July 17 - 2005
post Jul 18 2005, 05:48 PM
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TEA Teacher

Group: TEA Teacher
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Joined: 6-July 05
Member No.: 20

July 17, 2005

Last night was pretty crazy! We started the line of thirteen CTD stations around 11:45 PM on the 16th, and finished the last one at 5:45 this morning. Until it got dark around 3 AM, the scenery was very dramatic. We were in the middle of the Bering Strait and we could see both Big Diomede (Russian) and Little Diomede (United States). Check out the pictures of chart on the computer screen on the bridge and the one I took looking out the window from the bridge. Add beautiful cloud formations, high winds (over 40 knots) and crashing waves, and you have an exciting night! Once we finished, most of us got a chance to eat a little breakfast and catch up on some sleep. When I saw Bon at lunch, however, he had not had any sleep at all. While we were done with our CTD work, Rebecca needed CTD casts for each of her moorings. And, since Bon is chief scientist in charge of all the CTD work, he had no break at all!

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After dinner, I had a chance to watch all that goes into recovering and deploying a mooring. From my warm and dry spot in the winch room above the deck, I could watch the work on deck and the work that took place from the small Zodiak launched to pick up the mooring. While the ship got into position and worked to locate the mooring in the water, Rebecca and the crew worked on deck to check and re-check every piece of the mooring that was going in. Once they located the mooring by acoustic signal, they triggered the release. They were able to predict almost exactly where it would come to the surface, and they were right on target. With the wind and the waves, it was a rough ride in the Zodiak, but they were able to hook the mooring and bring it back to the ship. Once it came along side, the crew on deck attached lines and brought it on board. Check out the pictures to get an idea of the process. The skilled crew made it look easier than it is! Remember, each of these moorings (Rebecca's three and Bill's one) has been in the water for almost a year, measuring and recording data every half hour or hour!

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IPB Image

Although I didn't get to see the morning moorings, I did hear an interesting story of the recovery of one of them. Evidently, there was a clear signal from the mooring, and the ship was in position, so Rebecca triggered the release mechanism. Although the signal remained strong, the mooring did not come to the surface. After searching for more than 25 minutes, she triggered the second release and the mooring popped up. Oddly enough, once on deck, she had a chance to examine it and both releases had triggered. Before he left, Bill Floering and I had talked about the pros and cons of two releases instead of just one. Clearly it's an expense to have two, and Bill felt that it was more important to have two when the mooring is deeper. In this case, however, the mooring was quite shallow, but it might have been lost if not for the second release.

Due to the rough weather, we were not able to send the small boat into Little Diomede Island. I had the chance to visit last year and was disappointed that I couldn't go again.
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