Ru29: A glider in Distress
So we had quite a hectic weekend...
Saturday afternoon I received an emergency call from Tina and Dave that 29 was in trouble. On the previous Thursday, the RUDICS server went down, preventing 29 along with gliders nation wide to be unable to call their respective doc servers. This resulted in the gliders all calling in to Teledyne's Doc Server as it was listed as a back up number. Due to the overwhelming number of calls now flooding their lines, TWR's doc server went down as well. All along, we had little to no contact with 29. Even worse was that this occurred just as we crossed the shelf, making the crossing even more stressful than normal.
She was successful in making it across the shelf untouched by fisherman, boats or the rapidly changing bathymetry, however, once she entered the shallow waters of the NJ Shelf, she was still commanded to make her top inflections 50m from the surface while diving to roughly 60m. Now the pump that 29 is equipped with is of course a deep pump meant to be most effective when diving to a full 1000m. So when 29 was then commanded to fly in 1% of the expected range for the pump, 29 chewed through the remaining battery available.
Waiting until Tuesday as planned for 29's recovery was no longer an option especially with the weather becoming more severe as the week went on. So we began preparing for an emergency recovery possibly that night. After seeing what boats were available, we decided on Sea Tow's Cape Hatteras which was the vessel used for deployment. However, the earliest doc time available was 5pm, and with there being easily a 3 hr ride out to 29, that would leave us searching for her in the dark.
The next option was a 7am doc time which we agreed upon, and at 3:45 am, Austin and I departed from IMCS in the Glider Van to meet Dave in Atlantic City and try and recover our glider. Upon arrival, we boarded the ship and left the marina at the Golden Nugget.
After about 3 hrs we made it the 60 miles off shore to where 29 patiently waited. We then ran a ctd cast to compare to the data collected by 29 while we waited for the most recent gps location.
Although sunny, there was a storm brewing and throughout the day the waves and wind gradually picked up. We then received a new gps point and started to close in on the location while 29 did one last dive to compare to our ctd cast.
When we got to the latest position, 29 sprung up right next to us, surfacing no more than 20 ft from the ship. We then prepared to pull her on board.
Dave laid down on the deck while Austin took position with the dog catcher, and I took control of the recovery cart.
After some skilled maneuvering, we were able to slide 29 on to the cart and pull her up on board the ship and secure her in the cart.
As we headed back home, our friends back on shore spread the word that the "bear is in the igloo," marking the success of the mission.
Click the link below to be redirected to the RuCool YouTube page and the recovery video for Ru 29!
Tags: Nilsen Strandskov