Port Call and Leg 3 Begins

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The arrival of the R/V Revelle at the NOAA dock in Newport shortly after noon, local time, on July 11th, signaled the beginning of the intricate dance of offloading equipment recovered during Leg 2 and loading new equipment and supplies for the upcoming Leg 3 of the Cabled Array (CA) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) cruise. The CA’s shore-based logistics team supplied heavy-duty wire baskets to aid and quicken this process, and the science party (UW scientists and engineers) quickly filled those up and prepared them for the exchange. The process of swapping equipment and supplies using the ship’s crane continued through most of the following day.

On the 2nd full day of port call, July 13th, the larger shore-based Forslund crane arrived early in the morning and at 0800 PDT, the team began offloading the larger instrumented platforms (e.g. Shallow Profiler science pod and winch controller) and J-Box frames, the latter of which supply the power and communications for the instruments and platforms. The bulk of the day, though, was used to load and secure the Heavy Lift (HLW) and Medium Lift (MLW) Winches to the deck of the ship’s fantail and loading new Shallow Profiler (SP) mooring components. These winches will be used for deploying a new SP two-legged mooring at the Oregon Offshore (600 m) site to replace the platform and cables which were inadvertently snagged by a fishing trawler last fall. In the early afternoon, new science party members, including 6 new Visions18 student/volunteers, arrived at the dock and were introduced to the ship and remaining science party members and crew. Into the evening, the UW engineers continued preparing for the upcoming mooring deployments by loading the Electrical Optical Mechanical (EOM) cable onto the MLW and the temporary mooring cable onto the HLW.

On Saturday morning, July 14th, the new members of the science party attended a mandatory safety meeting where they were briefed by the R/V Revelle’s Marine Technician on both shipboard safety and etiquette as well as emergency procedures. Although the upcoming leg will be only four (4) days in duration and operations limited to ~ 50 miles from shore and in < 1000 ft of water, safety of all shipboard members is always the highest priority. After the meeting, the team continued final preparations for our departure.

At 1520 PDT, the ship departed the NOAA dock in Newport, and Leg 3 of the CA O&M cruise began with a rough, but relatively short, 50 mile transit to the Endurance Array Oregon Offshore Site. The primary goal of this leg is the first full replacement of one of the Shallow Profiler two-legged moorings since they were first deployed by the OOI CA in 2014. Upon arrival at the location, a CTD was conducted to test the equipment as well as to train the new students on proper water sampling techniques, the combination of which will be critical to appropriate verification of the data from the profiler after successful deployment of the platform. In anticipation of an early 0500 start of the mooring deployment the following morning, the rest of the science and engineering team members tried to get a good night’s rest.