We had a very successful five weeks aboard the US Coastguard cutter Healy this autumn, with all five WIMBOs deployed on schedule and reporting as planned. We also deployed the planned three under-ice upward-looking multibeam sonars with their novel break-away temperature chains, and are looking forward to getting that data back in a year's time. Meanwhile, there's plenty of great WIMBO data to be working with.
All five WIMBOs assembled and being tested on the Healy's helideck. Great weather!
WIMBO deployment in full swing - the long cable hangs down 200m into the ocean, measuring temperature, salinity and pressure
The happy team, after the final successful buoy deployment - mission accomplished!
All the lessons we had learnt from the loch tests were incorporated into the other five WIMBOs, being built down in Sussex, so it was finally time to finish and crate them for loading onto the icebreaker in Seattle, courtesy of our colleagues at the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington. I loaded up the van and drove down to Heathfield with all the parts that had been Scottish-made, and gave everything a final check-over before we filled a cargo plane with 15 cubic metres of science stuff, yikes.
So after three months in the water, several in-water software upgrades (as in the photo below) and a few sensor swaps, we were confident that the WIMBO was working well and it was time to bring it in. The marine life had been busy and the hull sported an excellent crop of barnacles - no match for the pressure washer, fortunately.
The prototype SODA drifter arrived in our workshops & we've been busy ironing out the wrinkles and getting it ready for local testing. Deployment day (26 March) finally arrived and the drysuit came in handy for the still 8 degrees C water.
We picked a beautiful day for the deployment and everything went very smoothly on the 'Coastal Connections' 11m RIB. My happy co-conspiritors here are Lovro (of Bruncin), Cameron the boatman and Jeremy (of BAS).
Even the buoy was happy, anchored securely in 35m of water with a lovely view of the snowy mountains