Friday, April 6, 2012

Seismic shoot 110% complete. Success!

After completing the scheduled lines a day early we were able to extend shooting on the last line for an additional day in the direction of Hawaii. The weather has been very foggy the last 48 hours, and while the winds are relatively calm, the fog is very creepy. One wonders what could be just 50 yards from the ship, where water and sky disappear into an eerily shifting cloud of grey. It almost seems to breathe. Standing outside in the fog, one becomes completely soaked in a matter of minutes. There is reported to be a great deal of both small and large debris adrift in this area from the tsunami in Japan, so fantasies of ghosts and sea monsters aside, the low visibility dose pose a real hazard. We do have a forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera on the ship, but it won't reveal objects at the same temperature as the surroundings, only ships with their engines on. Last night, my shift had the job of pulling in the streamer in driving rain. Thankfully the temperature was above 70. Despite getting wet, it was fun donning the lifevests and hard hats and "getting our hands dirty". Also got to practice my bellowing. "BIRD ON THE SURFACE!!!", "BIRD IN THE AIR!!", "10 METERS!!", "5 METERS!!!". These are calls made to the tech controlling the winch as the streamer is pulled in. The birds are devices that have wings or more technically, motorized fins, on a sonar range-finding device that can be used to dive or surface the streamer to an optimal depth. The birds must be wrestled over the stern rail to prevent the delicate fins from striking the ship (they are quite heavy ~40 lbs), then removed from the streamer, disassembled and packed away. This task was completed in just three hours for 6 km of streamer, and as soon as we had lifted the tail buoy out of the water, the crew was pushing the throttle wide open to begin the long transit to Hawaii. Paradise, here we come!

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