Tags: Carol Cotterill

Dr Carol Cotterill reviews the charts and prepares a marine geophysical survey line plan

Frustration reigns amongst the scientific staff at the moment. Initial problems with the triggering of the source were sorted yesterday afternoon. However we then discovered that the ship is a very noisy one acoustically speaking! Whilst the equipment was behaving perfectly, any return signal was being masked by the ship’s engines. Various options were discussed and tried, in liaison with the ship’s captain and crew, but at 11pm local time we decided to call it a night and start again in the morning.

Fast forward to the next morning (today – 28th) and we have Plan B in place. The length of the hydrophone deck cable being deployed was increased, to try and increase the distance from the boat to the active hydrophones, in an effort to minimise the acoustic artefacts in the data. The Sparker tips were trimmed to try and ensure as clean a pulse as possible, and a Plan C was developed in case Plan B didn’t work! However, yet again events conspired against us, and as the shore party returned on the zodiacs from a morning in a Greenlandic town, a Force 7 blew up……which spelt the end for any possible survey lines today. I keep hopefully going out onto the aft deck and looking at the waves coming in after us, and although the weather has calmed slightly, it is now getting dark and we’re entering berg territory.

On the Oceanographic side there are also problems. A software glitch has rendered the CTD system inoperable. Technicians back in the UK are working on the problem, and Simon and Emily hope to have it up and running tomorrow……but until then they join me in pacing round the deck watching the 1 – 2m swell and breaking white horses!

It’s incredibly frustrating to have finally got the equipment and expertise up here, to then be defeated by something over which we have no control. But that sums up working at sea… just never know what will happen next!