Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry blog

Friday 20 March 2015

The Eclipse and a Rescue Attempt

Louis Byrne, British Oceanographic Data Centre, NOC

The eclipse viewed from the RRS Discovery (photo by Helen Smith)

Friday started much the same as the previous two days with a 0600 shift  changeover followed by some clear blue skies (with a few white clouds) and more spatial survey. At 0800 we took a break from the spatial survey for about an hour to watch the eclipse as we moved between sampling sites, and a couple of the pictures we took have been provided in the blog. Following the eclipse we continued surveying till one, at which point there was a break to attempt to rescue the NOC-L (National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool) Lander which we had lost on recovery a few days ago.

Steve and Owain attempting to get the Lander back on deck

When deployed the Lander is dropped first, followed by approximately 50 metres of wire and then a heavy weight, which is attached to a surface buoy to mark the position of the lander and make it easier to retrieve. Unfortunately the rope to the surface buoy was detached from the Lander, meaning that to retrieve it we first had to trawl for the wire connecting the Lander to the anchor weight, and then somehow get the tangled mess back on deck.

The Lander is recovered!

The rescue attempt took a few hours, but after some fantastic work by CPO (Chief Petty Officer) Steve, Owain (National Marine Facilities) and the rest of the deck crew the Lander was rescued from the bottom of the Celtic sea and back on deck. If the rescue of the Lander wasn’t impressive enough, we were in for another surprise as somehow, the ultra-fragile oxygen sensor attached to the mooring managed to survive the rescue attempt and made it back to deck in one piece. I am told you really have to work with these things to understand just how unlikely it was that this happened. Following the Lander recovery it was back to the spatial survey, with approximately 12 stations to go before we are free of our sampling shackles and can head to CANDYFLOSS.

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