The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of ROV dive and deck activity at the Endurance Oregon Offshore site (600 meters depth). As of this evening, we have deployed the Benthic Experiment Package (BEP), Digital Still Camera, and Deep Profiler mooring, and hooked them all into the junction box connected to the primary node. The only remaining deployment at this site is the 2-legged shallow profiler mooring – a complicated deployment that has taken days to prepare for, and will likely require multiple days to complete.
The still camera was taken to the seafloor in a basket underneath the ROPOS ROV, and placed near the low-voltage node, looking at undisturbed sediment. Unlike the cameras placed at Axial Volcano, the camera at Endurance Offshore is designed to look at the seafloor in general, observing animal activity, sediment transport, detritus falls, and bioturbation. The Deep Profiler is a modified McLane profiler designed to crawl up and down the mooring wire, taking measurements of thin layers in the water column. After a profile it travels down to a dock at the base of the mooring where it recharges and sends data via inductive modem.
As the weather looks like it may start deteriorating, we’re conducting some CTD casts (lowering a sensor and water bottles down through the water column on a wire connected to the ship) to get measurements near the profiler. In the morning, the mooring crew will see how the weather looks and we will either decide to go forward with the 2-legged mooring deployment or do one of the less weather-dependent tasks until the calm returns. And maybe in between we'll get a few hours of sleep…
Deploying Endurance definitely requires some endurance of our own.