Livin' for the Weekend

1 September 2012 by Anonymous (not verified)

It's Friday night at 48 N 16 W and the OSMOSIS crew is celebrating the start of science on this cruise. After a long steam we've arrived on site to find perfect conditions with the ocean becalmed and the weather sunny.

Arriving on site in the late afternoon allowed us to make a first test of the gliders' bouyancy, to make sure that we don't deploy these expensive pieces of kit only to see them glug their way to the bottom. The team gathered on deck to watch the procedure with a gleaming orange sun setting on one side and a strikingly full moon rising on the other.

The gliders were hoisted from the deck by one of the aft cranes by a cable looped around their nose. Once in the water the deck crew tugged on a rope attached to the cable to get the glider upright and floating independently of the cable. This caused the glider to jump around in the waves slightly and gave an impression of them lassooing a broncing buck.
Glider lassoo

We also performed the first CTD cast (the CTD is the instrument used to measure salinity, temperature, depth and a host of other properties). The instrument was lowered the full depth of the water column (we're almost 5 km above an abyssal plain, a muddy oceanic Kansas). This allowed the biochem team of Stuart Painter (NOC Southampton), Danielle Waters and Ben Barton (MSci Oceanography in Southampton) to get to work with the samples thus recovered.
CTD on the RRS Discovery
At first light tomorrow the main objective of this leg of the cruise can finally begin - the deployment of 9 moorings. This is somewhat more involved than rigging up some instruments to a bit of rope and chucking it over the edge with an anchor to follow. I'll discuss the Art of Mooring Deployment more once I see it myself. In any case, it should be a real treat for people who like to watch cable wind off a coil and down into some dark water for hour after hour and day after day.