July 10, 2008
Today once again I set moorings with the mooring team. We had to set two moorings. One mooring was a spider configuration and the other was more complicated. The spider mooring is the easier of the two to set. We basically dropped the whole piece to the bottom of the Bering Sea. It has CTD on it and is able to measure currents. It is more complicated than that but I have not yet sat down with Tom Weingartner, Dave Leech, Jimmy Johnson, and Kevin Taylor yet to really learn how these moorings collect their data. The other, more complicated mooring, had an anchor, which are a set of old railroad train wheels. The wheels were connected to an acoustic release, which will be used for retrieval in a year. Attached to the acoustic discharge is another instrument of which I do not know its function, and then there are temperature sensors every five feet for 45 feet. On the top of the mooring is a steel buoy. The whole mooring is below the surface of the Bering.
About 15 minutes after we set the more complicated mooring, Jimmy looked at me and said we messed up. I thought he was kidding me because there is a lot of breaking of chops on this boat especially with me being a "greenhorn." It turns out Jimmy was serious. We dropped an instrument in the sea that costs thousands of dollars and we left a $2 plastic cap on the most important part, rendering it useless.
After deliberating with Tom Weingartner and Roy Sombretto (Chief Scientist) it was agreed that tomorrow we had to go back to the mooring and fix the $2 problem. The irony of the story is that we all saw the cap 20 minutes before we dropped it overboard. I asked if anybody had ever forgotten to take it off before. The answer used to be "no."