Risk and Reward

August 5, 2018

It’s no frivolous thing to put a mooring in the water and expect you can collect it a year later, or even a couple weeks later. The cost of a mooring is high, not taking into account the cost of the ship to get on station, twice. But the data is rich. A ship collects a large amount of data moment to moment, but only where the ship is, moment to moment. If you want to gather data from one particular location miles out in an ocean, moorings, despite the left-out-in-the-cold risks, are a better option. The ship gets us there and gets us back again.

The Sikuliaq arrives where CEO I was last seen. Pete dials up the mooring’s ENABLE code on the acoustic transmitter and sends the command to the release, 48 meters below and some two-hundred or so meters to port—we think. We know we are close. Ethan listens as the release pings back. It says it’s a hundred and some meters away. Pete dials in the RELEASE code to tell the mooring to surface. Now, it shouldn’t take long. But it seems to. Watching from the working deck, there’s no sign of the large syntactic float risen to the surface. And we’re still watching to port when word comes down. The mooring has come up on the starboard side of the ship. I asked Ethan yesterday, when we launched the glider, what the risks were the glider would re-surface directly under the landing craft, or the ship. He just nodded and said the chances were very small. I agreed with him. But still.


To follow the R/V Sikuliaq, find @Sikuliaq on Twitter and @R/V Sikuliaq on Instagram and Facebook. To chart the course of this August 2018 expedition, look up Arctic Winds, Fish, Fins, and Feathers on Facebook.

—Thanks to the R/V Sikuliaq, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and the National Science Foundation.

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