What was that "secret project" that I referred to in my last post? Well it turns out I was invited on a 3 day oceanographic cruise aboard the Scripps research vessel Robert Gordon Sproul. Our mission was the deployment of CCE2 (labeled CO2) a buoy with a number of scientific instrumentation. Get ready for a super photographic super post!<br /><br />
<br />The activities started on Thursday for a Friday departure with loading. All of which took place at the Nimitz Marine Facility in Point Loma (known as MARFAC), San Diego, CA. Loading took most of the day.<br /><br />
<br />The ship, one of the smallest in the Scripps fleet, was the R/V Robert Gordon Sproul, I would not leave the confines of the ship for the next 4 days as I spent the night on board while in port.<br /><br />
<br />Some of the more interesting items loaded were the extra weight for the anchor. It was still being decided exactly how much the anchor should weigh so a variety of weight was loaded.<br /><br />
<br />A nice part of the ships in the UNOLS fleet is the standardized deck of the ship which have many threaded holes for securing things. This allows for large pieces of heavy equipment to be moved from ship to ship.<br /><br />
<br />With such a large piece of equipment, the capacity of the shipboard crane was exceeded. A dock crane was used, however this created a challenge due to the dynamic nature of a ship in water vs the stationary nature of crane.<br /><br />
<br />With the ship fully loaded, the focus turned to securing items for travel.<br /><br />
<br />The bottom of the buoy had a counterweight to ensure it remained upright even in some of the most adverse conditions.<br /><br />
<br />I spent the night onboard the ship die to early departure of 0600. This departure meant that all hand were on board 0500 which meant I needed to wake up at 0430 to get to the ship on time. Sleeping on board eliminated all these issues.<br /><br />
<br />There was plenty of Navy activity going on just offshore. The early morning light made for some very picturesque scenery.<br /><br />
<br />This was a view of San Diego I had never seen before, and would be the last until I returned.<br /><br />
<br />Much to our surprise a submarine was on its way into the harbor. One of the members of the science party identified this as a Los Angeles class submarine. Having no knowledge of the various types of submarines, I will defer to their judgement.<br /><br />
<br />Also, to our delight, a pod of dolphins decided to ride the bow wave. They unfortunately didn't stick around for very long.<br /><br />
<br />On getting to deep enough water, a calibration cast was performed and samples were taking using a rosette. This is where everything is controlled (except the winch).<br /><br />
<br />With the calibration cast complete and the samples taken, we steam to the deployment site of the buoy. We wouldn't arrive until the next morning.<br /><br />
<br />The next morning everyone was busy doing final systems checks and making sure everything is as it should be.<br /><br />
<br />Scientists checking systems aboard the buoy. <br /><br />
<br />A nice view of the ship steaming to the deployment site.<br /><br />
<br />Nearing complete of checking buoy systems.<br /><br />
<br />Small fish were discovered on the fantail of the ship, it was hypothesized that they somehow made it up there during the middle of the night. Lucky we had a ship load of scientists, the fish was identified (though I forgot what) and some posed photos were taken. <br /><br />
<br />Not only were instruments placed on the buoy but several instrument packages were placed inline of the anchor line to take measurements at specific depths. This is one of the instrument cages.<br /><br />
<br />A lot happened between the last photo and this one. The buoy was deployed and all the instrument packages were attached. I was very busy during this time and didn't have an opportunity to photograph what was going on. In this photo the ResTech was manning the winch for the deployment of the anchor.<br /><br />
<br />The anchor itself consisted of stacked railcar wheels. I don't remember its final mass but over 1000kg for sure.<br /><br />
<br />The release of the anchor was arguably the most dangerous procedure we did. When the anchor was released all the built up tension in the line and a-frame was released violently.<br /><br />
<br />With all the equipment in the water we went back to the buoy to see how it was doing. Sight was lost right as the anchor deployed indicating that the buoy may have been dragged underwater as the anchor was traveling to the bottom.<br /><br />
<br />A closer look revealed the shutter for the radiometer opened on schedule, at least one of the systems was working properly. After another calibration CTD cast we made our way home, a 26 hour journey.<br /><br />
<br />The next morning we were passing Santa Catalina island, I took the opportunity to photograph some points of personal interest. This photo shows the Boy Scout camp Emerald Bay where I once spent a week.<br /><br />
<br />This location is a place we canoed to from Emerald Bay, perhaps 8km from Emerald Bay. The rock is one that I just didn't have enough courage to jump off of.<br /><br />
<br />This is a view of the town of Avalon. This is also the first time I've seen it despite having been to Catalna before.<br /><br />
<br />The ship was close enough to shore to get broadcast television. Numerous football games were played that Sunday, including the San Diego Chargers. Given the moral of some of the crew members after the game, it was obvious that the Chargers didn't win.<br /><br />
<br />Finally a view way off the coast of La Jolla, my home town. I can almost see my house from here!<br /><br /> We got into port about 3 hours later. My time aboard was just awesome and I hope that this is just the first of many oceanographic cruises.<br /><br />I return to Oahu in just under 6 days time. Much packing is needing to be done, I will put it off until later.<br /><br />-Andrew