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August 28, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

BY: wrace


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


This morning started off with a bang, literately. The hull of the Oceana Latitude was smashing hard through the waves and acted as an early morning alarm clock for the Oceana crew. Awaking to an ocean landscape of a mixture of offshore oilrigs, whitecaps and an unforgiving sky, I thought to myself, this must be the beginning of an exciting day.

With five to ten foot swells crashing into the boat, the Oceana team took to the deck with much enthusiasm. Despite the bad weather hopes were high and eyes were bright. The teams newly found sea legs came in handy as the boat jostled, back, forth and side to side.

The first task of the day was to prep the 5/16in leaded line and the 150lb anchor for deployment. Lines were cauterized, spliced and connected, while the anchor was shackled and chained. Dr. Short directed and orchestrated the team as is came time to hoist the anchor.

Rough seas made no possibilities of putting the small pilot boat in the water an option. Failure was not an option. Dr. Short decided to attach the PEMD test strips from the side of the Oceana Latitude instead of from the side of the small boat. Instead, Dr. Short was harnessed and strapped securely to ship for optimal safety during the attachment exercise.

Anchor was hoisted and dropped. Looking around I could tell everyone was a bit nervous. As waves continued their assault on the ship, leaded line was let out and depths were marked. Test strips went on and more line went out, the rain and wind seemed to increase as the team neared the end. Finally, with one last scramble the buoy was thrown overboard and the entire team exhaled. Cheers erupted as the buoy bobbed and showed no sign of sinking. Soaking wet and exhausted the team was forced inside due to increasingly bad weather conditions.

Hours passed as we waited to arrive at the next drop zone. Weather forced us to take the trip slow and allowed for only one more drop the rest of the day. However, tomorrow is a new day and goals are high, six to eight moorings is the goal, but we will keep our fingers crossed because ultimately it will be up to the weather. Stay tuned!