Sunday, September 10, 2017

Marine Mustang begins her mission!

Marine Mustang makes it safely into the ocean.
We deployed our first float on Saturday! Its nicknamed Marine Mustang after being adopted by J.C. Parks Elementary School in Indian Head, Maryland. Deployment went smoothly. Though I usually describe my role in all this as “I chuck floats off the ship and then run analyses to calibrate the sensors,” there is absolutely no ‘chucking’ allowed! Lovingly, gently, carefully it is lowered into the ocean. The sensors and housing may be engineered to withstand freezing temperatures and crushing depths, but a fall could prove fatal. The ship's bosun and his mates did a great job.

It's a little less photogenic this time around since each float is packed up in a cardboard box. This prevents any banging of sensors against the ship during deployment. Tape that holds the box together dissolves after a few minutes, releasing the float. I've heard that this one has checked in, and even gone on its first dive to 2000 meters and reported back with data.

The float before it went in the box. I'm quite pleased with my drawing of a horse actually.

CTD deployment, as seen from two decks up.

The CTD cast came before the float deployment. On the Agulhas II, a giant door along the starboard side opens up and an A-frame lowers the CTD into the water. Once it's back on deck, we deploy the float and then sample the water brought back up from various depths between the surface and 2000 meters.

We have had to delay the second deployment due to bad weather. Since yesterday's blue skies and calm seas, both wind and waves have picked up. We'll deploy the float at that location on our way back, in about four weeks. That's the advantage of a cruise that's going out and back.

Below are a few more pictures. More to come in future posts, thanks for following along!

Bon voyage, Marine Mustang!
J.C. Parks Elementary students learn how to reduce their use of plastic,
which is a huge threat to the health of the world's oceans.

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