Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We caught a mooring.....and a fish!

Some rough weather at the start of the cruise slowed us down a bit, but over the last week our crew has been busy recovering moorings. So far we have picked up 3 of the source moorings and the vertical receiver array mooring.

We've had some exciting moments during these recoveries! On Monday, we discovered that the mooring wire had become entangled with fishing line and our mooring had caught a rather large fish! The pictures (taken by the Able Sea Chicks good friend Mr. Lloyd Green) show the fish coming out of the water and on deck, just before it was cut off the line and fell back into the water. You should be grateful that these pictures can't convey smell! This tuna had been dead a long time and had quite a strong aroma.

There was quite a lot of line wrapped up in the mooring. The third picture shows three of our science crew (Meghan, Matt, and Jim) cleaning up the tangled wire.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Roomba's seagoing sister

Seagliders are underwater robots made by the company iRobot, the same company that makes the Roomba (you know, that vacuum cleaner that zooms around your house all by itself while you aren’t home)! Well, the company may be the same, but these gliders are not out there cleaning up the Pacific Garbage patch or anything. (That would be cool, though wouldn’t it?!) Instead of cleaning, these gliders are actually out there taking oceanographic measurements. They dive down to about 1000 meters and then back up to the surface, measuring temperature and salinity along the way. Gliders dive for about 8 hours at a time. When they come to the surface they stick their tail up in the air (the tail is an antenna) to communicate with a satellite. They get their latitude and longitude position from GPS and then they send back the temperature and salinity data that they collected during the dive. While they are at the surface the Seaglider pilots can also tell them where to go on the next dive.

The University of Hawaii put out four Seagliders in November and now Lora is here to pick them all up and bring them back to Hawaii. We have just one more to pick up, Seaglider 513. We are tracking it while we are out here at sea, so we know exactly where it is. When we take a break from recovering moorings, we will go out and grab it! You can follow it too, if you’d like. Check out the glider web page at: http://hahana.soest.hawaii.edu/seagliders/history513.html