Thursday, June 9, 2011

Come Down From the Jungle Gym, It's Time to Deploy

 I will take the opportunity, now that I am not clogging the bandwidth of the ship’s Internet with my many kilobytes of photographs, to catch you up visually on the happenings of the KM from TAAM deployment, Act 1, to the final connection, the curtain’s closing.

A stew of scientists and sailors boiling on the quarterdeck ponder the deployment of the TAAM mooring as they wait for the weather to improve. 

The weather does not improve. The huddle disperses, leaving the anchor to take a shower in solitude.

 The next morning, as the sky is still waking up, we jump at the opportunity the mild weather provides and plop the anchor in the ocean.

The anchor is lowered on the black jacketed wire rope from the winch. Bruce unspools the neon green communications cable parallel to the black wire but under no tension.

At 10 to 50 m intervals, the winch is stopped so that Jefrey and Dave can attach instruments and cable spacers to the wire rope.

On either side of the attached thermistor are cable spacers to keep the green and black from becoming tangled. 

After the ten thermistors and lone flourometer comes the acoustic modem, into which the end of the neon green cable was plugged. 

A length of chain separates the acoustic modem from five strings of glass balls that must be kept on a short leash or they roll around rowdily. 

A ball and chain on deck transforms to a graceful string of waving yellow party balloons in the air. 

The last string of balloons holds a different configuration to accommodate the strobe light and beacon that will be used to locate the mooring when it is recovered in the future. 

Lastly, the acoustic releases grab the top of the string of balloons only to drop the whole mooring within 100 m of the seafloor a few hours later. Don’t worry, we told them to do so. 

The observatory soaks in the sun’s rays after waiting in the staging bay for 2 weeks. Better soak it up now, for in an hour you’ll be down below the reach of the sun.  

The ship’s muscle plays tug of war with the winch to put sufficient tension on the wire now that the mooring is no longer attached.

Matt and Bruce take their last opportunities to climb on the jungle gym.

The observatory takes a leap.

Medea prepares to follow. Matt now tries to climb under the jungle gym. While he’s there he attaches the observatory’s bridle to Medea. 

At the bottom of the ocean, Jason and the observatory meet and make connections. We spy on them in the control van.

The next day, the J-box comes up for a visit.

The J-box receives a brief spa treatment and some attention from Inspector Gadget.

Fun with the Inspector’s gadgets.

With the sun set and the moon risen over the A-frame, the J-box decides he’s overstayed his welcome and departs for the last time.

Matt, again, tries to climb under the jungle gym but Vic finds him and makes him come out. It’s time to deploy, Matt.

In the cockpit, we wait and see if all the equipment will play nice.

Makaha calls the cockpit. 

When the phone is hung up, the cockpit sees the first smile break in weeks.

Jason hops back on deck from his last swim at Station Aloha in the foreseeable future.

We take a group photo framed under the A-frame. 

But the captain is tardy, so we take another. 

The KM heads home – its job complete – but the observatory, the AMM, the camera, the J-box and the TAAM remain – their job just beginning. 

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