Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Leading Off

This type of buoy will be attached to the mooring
The first event or "op" of the survey was deploying a mooring! Moorings are devices that are usually hooked up to stationary wire that is secured to the sea floor. This mooring will serve as an anchor for the University of the Virgin Island’s real-time oceanographic data buoy. This buoy is part of the larger CariCOOS System (Caribbean Coastal Ocean Observing System), which conducts operational oceanography and ocean observing.

This buoy will be positioned on the northwest shelf of St. Thomas, and will collect real time measurements of:
  • air temperature
  • wind speed & direction
  • wave height & direction
  • sea temperature 
  • salinity
  • density
  • velocity of ocean currents
  • turbidity
  • chlorophyll
  • dissolved oxygen 

Officers, crew, and scientists work together to deploy the mooring, chain, and floats.
The chain was snaked back and forth on deck to allow safe deployment. 

The floats will help divers attach the buoy to the chains.
With the crew of the Nancy Foster, we were able to deploy the 2,500-pound (1,134 kg) concrete anchor and 300-foot chain, which will be paired with the oceanographic buoy by local divers later this month. Deployments like these can be very dangerous, so the scientists, crew, and officers had several safety meetings to devise the safest technique for deployment. The anchor was deployed by one of the ship's cranes, and the chain was carefully arranged on deck so that it smoothly and safely fed into the water once the anchor was dropped. Each person involved had a specific role and position on deck. Check out a video of the deployment below!

You can find historic data collected by the buoy available at CariCOOS.org.

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