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October 12th, 2009

Nighttime Seaglider Recovery

SG141 was pumping too slowly, so we had to go pick her up again. My adviser had her stay on the surface while we steamed up to her -- it took nearly 2 hours to get there, and by then it was 23:08 and quite dark, with winds blowing near 35 knots. SG141 has a stubby antenna with reflective tape on the end which lights up like a brilliant candle on the water when we hit it with the ship's spotlights, which the crew did at 23:15. She was right off the starboard bow, and the captain lined her up beautifully -- but by then the sea state was awful, and whenever the glider got near the bosun with the pole to nab her, the sea dragged her down and we had to spend another nail-biting eternity looking for her. In all, we ended up making 4 attempts, and bully for the bosun for nabbing her that last time!

One hour and fifteen minutes after spotting her, the deck team finally had her aboard, and then we had to dog all the doors for what is proving to be a rough ride north to the next line of CTD stations. Wind's up at 40 knots now, and it will probably take us 14 hours to get where we're going. In the meantime, I've got to swab the floor of the main lab down again -- the main lab doors just can't hold the sea out when the waves come splashing around the CTD hangar, and even dogged and caulked with rags, we still have to pull the mops out periodically.

Sparks on the foremast

02:00 12 October: Most of the science team was asleep after that heroic/insane glider recovery, Kunuk and I were up on the bridge with the second mate when a series of sparks lit up the bottom of the mast and the ice lights went out. Lovely. So off goes the general alarm, and now we're all up in the main lab, waiting to the excitement while the crew tracks this annoyance down and searches the boat for problems.

On the whole, it's better than being woken up at 2 AM by drunks yelling in the 7-11 parking lot...