An array of junction boxes and cables await installation during Leg 1 of the VISIONS14 expedition. Credit: University of Washington.

The NSF-UW Regional Cabled Array VISIONS’14 Expedition initiated on July 13, 2014 and ended October 6, 2014 (Seattle-Seattle). This was an epic 83-day installation cruise aboard the R/V Thompson utilizing the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility remotely operated vehicle (ROV) ROPOS.

It culminated in the complete installation of nearly all secondary infrastructure on the cabled observatory and powering up of the entire underwater network, bringing the Internet directly into the ocean.  This expedition included seven legs, with nearly 250 berths and 45 undergraduate/graduate student participants. This incredibly intense expedition, led by John Delaney, was highly successful.

  • 11 cable installations resulting in 15,256 m of extension cable utilizing ROPOS hosting the Remotely Operated Cable Laying System (ROCLS). In total, ~ 33,000 m of extension cables are now installed on the seafloor – all have been working perfectly since 2014.
  • 18 junction boxes designed and built by the UW Applied Physics Laboratory, including two Benthic Experiment Packages were installed – all are working
  • 140 instruments of > 30 different types were installed.
  • 3 Cabled Shallow Profiling Moorings, the first of their kinds in the worlds’ oceans were installed at depths up to ~ 2900 m. As over 2019, the winched science pods on these platforms have completed >30,000 high resolution profiles ofthe ocean.
  • 3 Cabled Deep Profiler Moorings hosting instrumented Modified McLane Profilers were installed at depths up to ~ 2900 m, one was recovered and one was unplugged for future recovery.
    The remotely operated vehicle ROPOS is hoisted up onto the R/V Thompson from dives that reach >9000 ft beneath the oceans surface. This vehicle was used to successfully install all extension cables and instruments on the Regional Cabled Array. Credti: UW/NSF-OOI/CSSF..
  • The 10 km and 17 km extension cables were successfully installed by TE SubCom with monitoring support from the R/V Thompson and the ROV ROPOS.

 Completion of this underwater observatory was a phenomenal engineering and science feat: real-time data streaming from this array has forever changed the way scientists and the public interact with the oceans, providing a 24/7 presence with all data freely available.

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