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September 2, 2010

Thursday, September 02, 2010

BY: wrace


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


Oceana Latitude – Early morning sunrise and calm seas today! The morning commenced as we dropped the CTD machine in the water at 6:00am. The entire deployment took two hours and then it was off to the next mooring site for strip retrieval.

While in route we heard news of the oil platform explosion off the coast of Louisiana. The “not again” look swept across the entire crew’s faces. As more news came in throughout the day, tensions eased and we felt as if we dodged a bullet.

Retrieving the moorings is a complete Oceana and Latitude team effort. It begins by spotting the buoy. When the moorings were set, a GPS position was taken, which gives us an area in which to look. Once found, a crew member from the Latitude casts out a grappling hook in similar fashion as seen on the Deadliest Catch.

Once the buoy is hooked, it is attached to a rope. The rope runs through a suspended pulley and then through a winch.  Winching commences and starts pulling up the mooring line. The average amount of line let out is around 1600 meters or about a mile of line. As the winch takes in line, teams on deck guide, pull, and coil the rope.

During this process two members of the Oceana crew are harnessed and waiting for test strips on the side of the boat. Once a test strip is spotted, one crew grabs and bags the strip while the other removes the holding clips from the line so it can then go through the winch. The information is recorded and noted as samples go into a cooler.

This entire process goes on for about two and a half hours.  It is hard, grueling work, but everyone has maintained a positive attitude and stepped up to improve the system or fill gaps when needed. Tomorrow the Oceana team will continue this quest. Stay tuned!