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July 22, 2017

An unpredictable winch

BY: Carlos Minguell


Underwater robot being repaired
Maniobra cambio de winche


The day rose with a calm sea and blue sky. I thought that was a sign of good omen for today’s dives in the deepest part of the areas we’re exploring in Denmark. But it wasn’t.

The winch that operates the ballast on the underwater robot (ROV) got out of bed on the wrong side this morning: it didn’t want to move, despite all the efforts of our mechanics on board. So we changed the winch and then it was the pulley on the main cable that got stroppy with us.

With the pulley swapped, the original winch started working again by itself without any of us touching it. It’s a bit of a funny one this winch. But it’s an essential piece of equipment for our work, except for the scuba dives as we don’t take any cables with us for that. Alas, we’ll have to put up with this winch for another month.

At this point in the day (evening), the ocean current has increased in intensity and it was too strong to deploy the ROV, so we’re used the time to change the winch and try it out with the grab machine, which is not as delicate as the robot (and less expensive).

After that, we did ROV dives and grab sampling without any major hiccups – all under the careful supervision of hundreds of seagulls and northern fulmars, who are watching over us and wondering how, after so many hours trying, we’re not able to pull out a single fish from the water.