September 4, 2014 saw beautiful blue skies and equally beautiful seas. Photo Credit. Mitch Elend, University of Washington, V14.
The past few days have seen long days of work as we adjust and respond to ever-changing events associated with Mother Nature, two-ship operations, and installing some of the most complicated, technologically advanced systems ever put into the oceans.
For ~ 3 days, following installation of the Shallow Profiling Mooring at the Oregon Offshore site, the RSN Team has been intensely troubleshooting power-surge events that occurred during testing of the two-legged mooring. The APL engineers methodically tested every seafloor and mooring component that they could and went through various scenarios that could cause this event. Yesterday, the engineers conducted another test and found the problem. It turns out to be an easy issue to solve, which will be done as soon as possible on an upcoming dive. This news was met with huge smiles, high fives, and much relief by all onboard.
It was impressive to watch and listen to the APL engineers both onboard and onshore calmly work through the various scenarios for what might cause the power surges. The team provided important learning opportunities for the students onboard. The engineering group is an impressive, thoughtful, and tenacious team that does not give up, and they are always optimistic that they can meet and overcome the challenges of working at sea on tough problems - a fine, fine team to work with.
Overlapping with the troubleshooting, we pushed forward with continued installation of seafloor instruments at Southern Hydrate Ridge. We monitored our schedule and progress closely because, with the arrival of the TE SubCom cable ship (CS) Dependable, our two schedules are now intertwined as we support its cable-laying operations. Common to working in the Northeast Pacific, Mother Nature has now made her presence known and last night both ships were on a weather hold. Large weather disturbances around us brought in large swells, and today we are at the edge of sea tolerances for ROV diving. It is a complicated dance, and we continue to adjust our work to optimize getting infrastructure into the water.
Tonight and into tomorrow, it appears that weather will continue to worsen, which will prevent dive operations. Because of this we will "run" into Newport, Oregon, to pick up additional infrastructure that we can install when we come back out and weather improves. We are working very hard on getting all of our gear onto the seafloor as soon as possible, and, with luck, because of our run into Newport we will be able to install equipment ahead of schedule.