ALTEX Arctic Cruise
October 7 - November 7, 2001
Tromso, Norway to the Arctic Circle

October 19, 2001: Day #13
Traveling north; Light snow, -2.2 degrees C (28 degrees F), 20-knot winds

Pancake ice floating in 4-6 foot swell.

Mike Pinto writes: Traveling north; Light snow, -2.2 degrees C (28 degrees F), 20-knot winds. Today continued checkout missions for the long configuration AUV and test deployment of ice buoys. The first task of the day was to re-ballast the vehicle to improve diving performance after reaching open water. This is accomplished by floating the vehicle next to the Healy and moving lead weight locations within the AUV's body.

Conditions were good for operations although the AUV had to contend with a large quantity of pancake ice (irregular shaped thin ice up to a meter or so across) floating about. After several aborted missions due to a couple of minor problems such as a depth overrun and a navigation sensor going offline, several successful "out and backs" were accomplished. Recovery of the vehicle was a bit of a challenge as DJ reported the floating ice made attaching the vehicle to the RHIB difficult as well as making the transit back to the ship more challenging.

Later that evening at the science meeting, the data review indicated that the AUV had performed well with good dynamic positioning, good doppler velocity logging (DVL - used to accurately measure vehicle speed) and reasonable science data. Outstanding problems to resolve included the AUV dropping out of ice profiling and Octans navigation data part way into the missions. The next operations priority is to test deployment of the ice buoys. Jim requested that we head north to first year ice.

While most of the team went back to the science lab to work on the outstanding problems, a few of us remained in the conference room and watched a movie on the ship's closed circuit television system. The science conference room is nicely equipped with couches and a big screen HDTV.

DJ and Drew prepare for the recovery of the vehicle from the RHIB.

Pancake ice at night, lit be Healy's deck lights.

Mark Sibenac and Rob McEwen folow incoming information during a mission.


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