VISIONS 14 Leg 2 Begins

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We left Newport on August 1st, loaded down with deep profilers and associated equipment to deploy at the Slope Base and Axial Seamount. We also took a new set of UW students along, who have started working on their projects and have been assisting with our deployments. Strong winds and a heavy swell delayed our first ROPOS dive, but eventually we were able to launch ROPOS with a low-voltage node (LV01A) attached beneath the ROV. The low voltage node is like a junction box that instruments will be plugged into, to provide power and real time data transfer and communication capabilities. The node installed at the seafloor, and then we surveyed the cable route between the LV node and the Primary Node. Lots of interesting pelagic animals were also observed in the water column during the descent and ascent of the ROV.

On August 2nd we prepared for ROPOS Dive R1734, which would have used ROCLS to lay the cable (RS01W6) between the primary node and the LV node. Unfortunately, there was a problem with one of the connectors on the starboard manipulator (the claw that ROPOS uses to grip objects), so repairs were needed. In the meantime, several CTD casts were made to 2800 meters depth, both to characterize the water column salinity, temperature, and oxygen content, and also to collect some water samples so that the students could practice oxygen analyses (used to validate the sensors on the OOI infrastructure). We also observed a large bloom of By-the-Wind Sailors (Velella Velella), and a small mola mola that surfaced near the ship.

We're currently waiting for the repairs to be completed, and the second Dive of Leg 2 should begin at 20:00 Pacific Time. It will be good to get to the bottom again.