Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Getting in the water

We've gotten pretty lucky this cruise, with pretty calm seas most of
the time. That means not many dives lost to weather, more research
accomplished, and of course the important furthering of humankind's
understanding of the deep mysteries of inner space.

There have been a few big days, though. That's not such an issue for
the ship, which is 274 feet long, or for the sub, which is typically
about 2700 meters below the waves. People, of course, don't matter.

No, the waves are mostly an issue in terms of getting the ROV Jason II
into and out of the ocean. As you can see, the Jason crew use a little
crane that's literally bolted in place to hoist the robot up, over the
side, and onto the deck. When the waves are rolling, that crane is
moving up and down a few meters over the course of seconds. Assuming
you manage to actually pluck the sub out of the water, you'd better be
careful not to let the next big wave smack into all the precious
scientific apparatus and samples stashed on various bits of the bot.

But of course they're good at what they do, and the half-a-dozen of us
scientists gathered to watch millions of dollars worth of ROV smash
into the waves / boat / whale were disapp -- er, delighted that the
cruise could continue. Dara, who's operating the crane in the picture,
snagged the sub up and out of the trough neat as can be.

No comments: