Dateline: Nikumaroro, 16 July 2012
It’s been a frustrating and crazy day today. During the night the AUV collided with the bottom, squashing the nose cone. They have a spare, it’s been installed, no harm done, but it still uses time and resources better spent elsewhere.
They were late getting the ROV in the water due to technical difficulties – a 10:30 a.m. (local) launch. Once it was in the water, they found that the signal from the HD camera was erratic, so they had to bring the ROV back aboard to switch out the camera. More lost time. Then, just as they were ready to launch, the boat developed a problem with the remote throttles used for control while the equipment is in the water – another two hours getting that sorted.
Meanwhile, they were processing the data from the night’s AUV run and found a quite good target, maybe a 1 and a half. It was in close to the reef and also close to Norwich City wreckage, so it’s a very difficult environment for the ROV, quite dangerous in fact. It may just be a freak piece of Norwich City, but they can’t ignore it, so the AUV team is working on refining the navigation data and the ROV team is continuing to work very cautiously in a treacherous environment.
All in all, frustrating and crazy. Tomorrow the plan is to simply “mow the lawn” with the ROV, using Mark I Eyeballs to survey the search area in a systematic way, only looking for specific targets identified by the AUV if they are very hot and very likely.