AUV Systems Check

It was a fun and interesting first day in Key Largo.

Mark working on the noseconeAssuming a full day on the water, the day began with a good, healthy breakfast and lunch packing. Noelle and I soon settled onto our computers. She worked on some mapping from her research in Bonaire, which comprises the bulk of her PhD work, while I loaded pictures and other supplementary material to the Expedition web page. Downstairs, in the lab, Mark diligently prepped Fetch1 for the Expedition, removing the old video camera infrastructure, re-balasting and resetting the internal compass. This last task proved to be the most difficult, which Mark, an avid Mac users, blamed solely on the fact that the computer used to control Fetch is a PC. Sarina worked to document a wealth of Mark's work for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

Unfortunately, due to weather concerns, based mostly on high winds, we were unable to get on the water until after lunch. This ground stop of sorts was actually not all bad, as it allowed us all more time to complete our preparation work for the Expedition.

Fetch1 ready to swimWe finally left the Aquarius Land Base dock around 3pm and motored just a few miles offshore to run some systems checks, calibrate Fetch1's compass (see Noelle's blog for more details on this!) and perform some test missions.  All was a success and we were bound for home after just about an hour and a half.

Upon returning to Land Base, we stowed our gear and rinsed the boat, Fetch1 and our snorkel equipment with fresh water and prepped a delicious spaghetti dinner, complete with leftover salad from last night and expertly-prepared garlic bread (I made that!).

We enjoyed a relaxing dinner in front of the tv, with a lightning show out the sliding glass window, though no real storms for us. We are now checking emails, working on data and continue to prepare for the Expedition, a little tired, but with full bellies!

And yes, we are keeping an eye on all these storms moving through the Atlantic and Caribbean. It appears that Tropical Storm Ana has been downgraded and may just bring us some rain and wind later in the week, while Hurricane Bill is expected to miss us totally. Not leaving anything to chance, we have developed contingency plans in case these storms change paths.

Thanks for reading! More tomorrow.