Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Spool of an Anchor is a Lovely Place to Recline

As predicted, 0400 came early than I’d hoped and I stumbled my way to the Jason van for another healthy dose of the water column.  Warm tea and a blanket were working against me so I fought to stay awake with doodling and periodic strolls to watch the development of the sunrise – from darkness with a few stars visible through the bright-as-day deck lights, to nautical twilight seeping up from the horizon, to civil twilight bright enough to see the waves, to the inching of the orange sun away from the sea, in no mood to rush the day.  At 0800 there was no use in fighting the drowsiness any longer and after breakfast I returned to bed.

When I awoke I learned that the reconfiguration of the J-box was not successful in getting a stronger optical signal to Makaha. As with before, the power was coming through just fine.  From here, the thought is that the problem may lie in the configuration of the repeaters on the seafloor between Makaha and Station Aloha.  There are over 200 possible configurations for that series of repeaters so the folks at the cable station are working their way through as many as they can.

In the afternoon, it was the anchor’s turn for a little affection. At the end of each of the neon green cables wrapped around the anchor are the same fragile connectors found throughout the equipment. They had been resting in holsters, but to protect them long term at the bottom of the ocean we installed the female end of the connector for a better seal. Lashing the fiberglass grid, on which the connector was mounted, to the anchor frame was my and John’s task. Similar to the macramé of my first day on the ship but with an improved knot-tying repertoire, I wrapped red twine this way and that until my hands were tired and stained with red dye.  That fiberglass grid has no chance of escape.

While wrapped up in lashings on the quarterdeck, I hadn’t noticed the sudden absence of normal commotion.   It wasn’t until someone said to me, “So the meeting’s already over?” that I realized there had been a meeting. I made it to the conference room in time for the last 5 minutes of it but I was assured that the first 25 minutes were too boring to merit relaying.

After dinner, it was the AMM node’s time to plunge. I watched the operation while reclining inside the spool of the anchor.  With some last minute adjustments – adding holsters for the USBL and Homer beacons that will be used to find the runaway node on the seafloor – the orange hulk was lowered into the water and released.  Within ten minutes, the beacons told us it was plowing at over 100m/min towards the seafloor.

With the bird perch out of the way, it was time to move the anchor to ready position for the Thermistor Array/Acoustic Modem (TAAM) mooring deployment scheduled for the next morning.  I tried to convince the crane operator that it would be just fine if I stayed in the spool while he swung the anchor under the A-frame but he was not so sure. The rest of the back deck was decorated in preparation for the deployment including laying out the strings of glass balls and rearranging the furniture to leave more room for dancing, I mean deploying. 


  1. Why does no one respond to such WONDERFUL writing? That's what I want to know........

  2. I'm enjoying your posts. Please post some pictures of the Jason Expedition Leader. His son would like to see pictures of the birthday boy in action!