Monday, March 10, 2008

Two Weeks to Go

Two weeks out, and most of the administrative requirements are out of the way--health services questionnaire, TB test, contact lists, conduct form, and so on. I learned a little more from Russell about what I'll be doing.

The cruise will be doing oceanography (CTD casts, which measure the physical characteristics of seawater, Conductivity (=salinity), Temperature, and Depth) 24 hours a day on the way up to the Subtropical Convergence Zone. During daylight hours, we'll be doing visual surveys using the Big Eyes binoculars, which are used to spot and get distance to marine debris and cetaceans. We'll be entering the data, presumably connected to GPS, when we spot something.

Once we get to the STCZ, the unmanned aerial system (Malolo I) will be tested in autonomous flights (with coordinates entered in to tell it what route to fly), launched manually from the ship's deck and retrieved from the water in a small boat (to land, it cuts its engine and deploys a little parachute). The UAS will be sending back video feed and capturing still photos when it detects an anomaly or when the ship sends it an instruction to do so. When it spots particularly juicy hunks of debris, we may steer the ship to the debris and either attempt to collect it or attach a tracking buoy to it. The guys from the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division of NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center will be in the water and small boats.

In addition, Russell from the Monument has been asked by Discovery Channel Canada to shoot B-roll for a story they hope to do about ghost nets. (B-roll is extra footage without narration that's intercut with the main story to give background, but the "B" doesn't actually stand for background, I discovered.)


bub said...

Hey Kris, where can I get me some of them Big Eyes? I guess you're on board chasing after debris. Let us know what you find. xoxo Bub

lat said...

Thank you for writing this blog. My girlfriend, Robyn Takamine, is on this cruise and it helps me feel a little more connected : ).

Kris McElwee said...

Hi lat, Robyn's great! She even got me some Vitamin Water on Monday evening. A worthy Big Eyes crewmember! I'll post a photo of her in action soon.

And Hi to Bub, I 'd wager them Big Eyes are pretty pricey, so you need to decide what scientific or stealth work you want to do. Or you can volunteer for an observing cruise and decide how much you love them first-hand!