By Katie Wagner, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Web Coordinator
August 24, 2016
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.