Today's plan included Mark and me SCUBA diving to video tape Fetch on a dive, in order to calculate underwater swimming speed. Suspiciously, however, Fetch booted herself up (yes, it's a her, obviously) unbeknownst to the team and wasted away precious battery time before we even headed out. When we finally arrived at our destination, after a quick return to Land Base to pick up the all-important, but forgotten, computer that controls Fetch, we found that we were only left with about 45 minutes of robot running time. So because of low battery life, we forged ahead with Plan B.
Plan B: Low-ranking grad student, you know who I'm talking about, jumps into the 3-4 foot seas equipped with full snorkel gear and offloads Fetch from her cradle then climbs back aboard the boat, puts on weight belt equipped with four pounds, obtains underwater camera and jumps back in to film Fetch diving.
Low visibility, less than 3 meters, made it difficult to see Fetch swimming and even though she dove right by me, I couldn't see her! I managed to get some underwater video, filming from fairly close to the surface and facing downward as Fetch went on a three meter deep dive. We'll see how the video turns out because the underwater housing ended up flooding (which Mark is currently working to salvage the camera as I type).
So as not to waste valuable time out on the water, after loading Fetch back onto the boat Chris did a test run of our project's Ustream website where we'll be broadcasting two live webinars this Thursday, August 20th (14:00 and 19:00 EDT). Be sure to tune in! All seemed to go well as the Bridge and VA Sea Grant staff members successfully tuned in back at the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point, VA.