First Day of Deployment, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Here's our first day of deployments in 2010, as told in pictures:

Compass Error Calculation

Friday, April 16, 2010

The results are in, and the compass did not do well. If the compass was reading correctly, then even with some level of error in each measurement we should see no trends.

These do not appear to be random errors. We will have to try this again with another INS and see if we get a similar result.

Compass Error Measurement

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today we started investigating a possible error in our compass measurements by recording the INS heading and GPS coordinates. Basically, we mounted the INS and GPS on a piece of plywood, hooked up a laptop and car battery, and threw the whole setup into a non-ferrous plastic radio flyer wagon.

This is the path recorded by the GPS as we went around and across the football field. The goal was to get data in as many directions as possible, but long enough runs in each direction so that we'd get good averages.

Interactive AUV Mission Planning with Google Earth

Monday, April 5, 2010

In winter, we develop.

For best results, watch the HD (720p) version in full screen.

The Search for Didemnum: Day 5 (Now THAT'S More Like It)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We got off to a great start!

Clear water, proper bottom type, and great lighting. Today is a day to find didemnum!

With the vehicle fully functional after the previous day's repairs, Seth and Mike began fishing in earnest.

We're no experts on identifying tunicates, but we had no problem finding spectacular examples of sea life amongst the volumes of images that Odyssey brought back.

This is a sunflower sea star.

A skate...

A flounder, doing a good job of blending in...

A tiny solaster (literally, a sun star)...

After taking a few thousand pictures, we decided to seek out more rocky bottomed waters by moving further east.

Our recovery was complicated by the rocking of the boat, but as a team we are getting used to handling the swinging vehicle.

(There were also some good pictures of the water column!)

Our second deployment went very smoothly.

Unfortunately, the water was far more turbid in our second area of operation. Sponges, anemones, and redfish dominated the images.

The sponges look like potatoes in these images.

Although beautiful to look at, anemones are not what we are after.

As the light faded, we made our last recovery for the week and prepared to head back.

We had pictures of too many starfish to count, in all shapes and sizes.

This one was hanging out inside a mussel shell. I can't tell if it's eating or just resting.

There were also quite a few crabs, hermit crabs, and sunflower sea stars.

Divide and Conquer

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

While Mike performed a miraculous teardown and rebuild of the vehicle on the deck of the Isabella & Ava,

Seth, Kyle, and I travelled back to Cambridge to put new oil into the thruster that had spent some time at the bottom of Gloucester harbor.

We met back up late that night.

The Search for Didemnum: Day 4 (One Good Mission, and Downhill From There)

Today we were accompanied by Rachel from the Northeast Consortium (NEC), the organization responsible for funding this trip.

We decided to survey near the outflow pipe from Boston because we figured that it would be warmer and more likely to sustain didemnum.

Deployment was rough. We immediately lost the vehicle behind the stern and had it pop up near the starboard bow. That can't be good.

However, everything seemed to have survived intact, so we started our day of testing. After a few false starts, we ran a survey mission to see if the warmer water from the outflow pipe would make a difference in our images.

It did...

Whether from the pipe or from the gale force winds during the previous night,

...the turbidity in the water made for terrible image quality.

This lobster trap was one of the few recognizable objects in all our photos.

Seth had no luck finding any fish, and the sea state didn't help.

Jellyfish, on the other hand were found in abundance








We decided to haul up the vehicle to try another location. It was especially difficult with the waves being higher than they were yesterday.

Odyssey swung quite a bit while we guided it to its cradle.

That's when things got worse.

"We're all done, guys" said Seth.


Besides the fact that the titanium thruster guard had been hit hard enough to crack one of its welds,

and the fact that the fiberglass CTD shroud had taken a beating,

it was the broken-off oil filling port in the thruster that got our attention.

We had been oeprating with slowly-leaking oil all day! Worse, we had no way to refill and re-close the hole; the show was over.

You can see the red paint that scraped off the bottom of the boat and onto our thruster.

There was no choice but to end the day early and attempt to do some emergency repairs.

Back to the lab!

On the way back to shore, John caught a bird that had found its way into the wheelhouse (miles from shore) and turned it loose outside.