Getting Underway: All Hands on Deck

NOAA Ship Pisces sits dockside at NOAA Terminal 1 in North Kingstown, RI. Cranes in the background (one ship-based, one shore-based) serve to lift equipment to and from the ship.

NOAA Ship Pisces sits dockside at NOAA Terminal 1 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Cranes in the background (one ship-based, one shore-based) serve to lift equipment to and from the ship. Image courtesy of the Exploring Carolina Canyons expedition. Download high resolution image (jpg, 4.7 Mb)

August 24, 2016

Katie Wagner
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Web Coordinator

And we’re off! We just set sail aboard NOAA Ship Pisces for a 15-day expedition to explore deep-sea coral habitats in three canyons off the coast of North Carolina.

The ship has been buzzing with activity. Over the past few days and hours leading up to departure, all hands were on deck to ensure systems and teams were ready, or in autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry’s case, “mobilized.” The science team and ship’s officers and crew have been working hard to bring equipment and supplies on board, set-up work stations and labs, conduct final system checks, and review science and cruise plans.

Once underway, many members of the science team took to the deck to get a last glimpse of the dock and to enjoy the maritime scenery of Rhode Island. After steaming for a few hours and enjoying the first dinner at sea, the AUV team and the ship’s crew practiced the launch and recovery of Sentry. The test, conducted in protected waters, ensured all Sentry-related equipment was working and gave the crew the opportunity to become familiar with the launch and recovery process.

With all systems go, many on board headed to their cabins to rest up for the coming days of 24-hour operations. Of course, everyone was careful not to disturb those just waking up for night watches.

We have completed our final testing and preparation and are underway to our first sampling location. We look forward to sharing our findings and experiences throughout the expedition. In the meantime, here are some of the views from around the ship as we continue to steam towards the Carolina canyons.

 

The AUV team and ship’s crew unload Sentry from the shipping container.

The AUV team and ship’s crew unload Sentry from the shipping container. Click image for larger view and image credit.


The AUV team and ship’s crew transport Sentry alongside the ship in preparation for loading on board.

The AUV team and ship’s crew transport Sentry alongside the ship in preparation for loading on board. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

The AUV team and crew load Sentry on to NOAA Ship Pisces.

The AUV team and crew load Sentry on to NOAA Ship Pisces. Click image for larger view and image credit.


Sediment sampling equipment set-up and secured in wet lab. Later in the expedition, the team will use a monocore to take a discrete sample of the bottom sediments. These samples will be used to characterize infaunal community structure and composition.

Sediment sampling equipment set-up and secured in wet lab. Later in the expedition, the team will use a monocore to take a discrete sample of the bottom sediments. These samples will be used to characterize infaunal community structure and composition. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

NOAA Ship Pisces pulls away from NOAA Dock 1 in North Kingstown, RI.

NOAA Ship Pisces pulls away from NOAA Dock 1 in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Click image for larger view and image credit.


The first view of open water.

The first view of open water. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

The AUV team and ship’s crew prepare to practice the launch and recovery of Sentry.

The AUV team and ship’s crew prepare to practice the launch and recovery of Sentry. Click image for larger view and image credit.


Justin Fujii, mechanical engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, prepares Sentry for the practice launch.

Justin Fujii, mechanical engineer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, prepares Sentry for the practice launch. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Sentry is lowered over the side of NOAA Ship Pisces.

Autonomous underwater vehicle Sentry is lowered over the side of NOAA Ship Pisces. Click image for larger view and image credit.


Shelby Bowden, multibeam processor, watches the Sentry practice deployment from NOAA Ship Pisces.

Shelby Bowden, multibeam processor, watches the Sentry practice deployment from NOAA Ship Pisces. Click image for larger view and image credit.


 

 

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