September 11, 2015
Last day for the Launches
We are getting down to the last days of this mission. While the official end date for the northern leg was scheduled to be September 13, the gale warning issued for tomorrow suggested that that date might be sooner than planned. Morning temperatures began at 2 degrees Celcius, with winds north-east at 20 knots. Finishing up all outstanding operations was the priority as the morning's forecasts called for reduced temperatures and higher winds throughout the day. A gale warning with winds over 40 knots was also issued for tomorrow, suggesting that this wouldn't get any easier.
The boatswain and his deck crew quickly prepared deployment of the Investigator, Gannet and Kinglett to take advantage of the morning's sea state. By mid-morning, the Hydrographer-in-charge readied a team for flight operations to Racon Island to pick up the differential GPS station and conduct additional tidal observations. They remained on the island for several hours with the helicopter before returning to the Laurier.
Investigator returned by mid-afternoon as rougher wave conditions began affecting the quality of the data being collected. In addition to surveying, the Gannet was tasked to recover the temporary tidal gauge it had deployed the prior week. Later in the afternoon, both CHS launches were recalled to the ship as conditions deteriorated.
We left the northern survey area and sailed the Laurier southward to reclaim a second tidal gauge deployed by the CHS with the assistance of CCG in 2014. While the temporary gauge had been tied to a buoy for easy retrieval, the year-long gauge required an acoustic signal from the hydrographers to release it from its bottom location. One of the ship's rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) was sent out to collect the gauge with several lookouts aboard the Laurier keeping watch for signs of surfacing. While the RHIB was recovering the gauge, a salinity cast and positional data was collected from the well deck of Laurier. From here forward, only the Laurier will be in a position to collect survey data as the gale continues to develop. The launches will remain tied down and are unlikely to be dispatched again before we transfer them to a commercial vessel for shipping south.
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