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

October 24, 2001: Day #18
Open Water

Jim Bellingham coordinates Dorado's mission from the bridge of Healy.

Mike Pinto writes: Late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning – e-mail! The Healy was far enough south that the communication link with the Immarsat satellite was up for the first time since we left Tromso. Each Coast Guard vessel gets a specific number of hours/day for unlimited message and internet connectivity via Immarsat. All was glued to computers reading and sending e-mails back home and surfing the net checking news and sports. We were planning to move north in the morning so the luxury would be short lived.

Today’s mission consisted of the mid-length vehicle running one-hour missions traveling in a yo-yo pattern (depth varying from 7 to 500 meters) collecting CTD, oxygen, and nutrient readings. The yo-yo pattern provides a new approach to collecting oceanographic data via the AUV.

Three one-hour missions were accomplished successfully resulting in a great deal of science data being collected. After each mission began, the Healy would slowly move to the calculated position where the AUV was expected to surface. On each mission, the Healy was within approximately 1500 meters of the AUV when it surfaced. The data link was established, RDF (radio directional finder) contact was made, and within a few minutes, the vehicle was spotted. Hans Thomas’ earlier adjustment to the strobe light flashing rate helped tremendously with visual contact. The operation was becoming somewhat routine!

Meanwhile, work was continued into the evening troubleshooting the buoy launch system communication problem. While mission data was being reviewed, several promising leads where being pursued by Armen and Doug of Scientific Solutions Inc.

Recovery of the vehicle to Healy's deck in darkness.

Bill Pat Morkis supervises the launch of the hydrophone.

DJ and Hans return from a frigid recovery in the RHIB.


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