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Today has been one of the most eventful days on the cruise to date. Many complications, many victories!
Four in the morning Astrika and I headed to the Jason control van to relieve the night watch. We entered right into the middle of the excitement. A few short minutes earlier, the line attached to the TRM at site FN09A had snapped sending the TRM back to the bottom of the ocean, upside down! Madea is meant to buffer the motion of the swells from above and Jason and the TRM below her, but the swells were particularly large early this morning. Madea recorded a shift of nine meters! This was enough to snap the line and send the TRM back to its former home.
Captain John, co-chief scientist Maya Tolstoy, and Jason’s manager Matt, discussed the fate of the TRM and ultimately decided to return to the site later in the night. After a long 12 hour operation, the Jason team was able to get a bit of sleep. Luckily, the upside down TRM was dropped in a no fishing zone, so parting with it for the day in that position wouldn’t leave it vulnerable.
Our mission continued and the R/V Thompson headed to site J51A to recover the next OBS for the day. This mission ran smoothly: the OBS received the burn signal, surfaced, and then the team found it and hauled it aboard- our first victory of the day. We continued our voyage to the next site- another recovery, but this one didn’t run as smoothly.
After receiving the burn signal, the pop-up buoys activated and the TRM made its way to the surface. Once at the surface, it was identified. As the ship made its way beside it, a moment of confusion ensued, then all of the sudden the line snagged in the starburt propeller! The TRM remained submerged and the tangled line around the propeller left the boat nearly immobile. If the line remained tangled, we would lose maneuverability and we wouldn’t be able to deploy Jason and recover the remaining seismometers. Fortunately, our next two victories came one after the other. The TRM was brought aboard and the line was untangled. We are now making our way back to site of the morning’s flipped TRM to attempt another recovery. Stay tuned to learn the fate of FN09A.
On a completely unrelated note, my wave games continue! This game works best when the swells are very large. During these particularly large swells, Caitlin and I like to make our way to the stern and attempt to maintain our balance as the boat rollercoasters up, down, and side to side. Occasionally, the ship comes off of a wave only to crash into the side of the next, and we’re gently sprayed by water.