Open Heart Surgery
It has been a long couple of days for the crew down in Ascension since their arrival. After giving Challenger a thorough inspection of the kind of growth on the hulls and the corrosion that occurred over the course of the previous 288 day mission, they set to work on getting her ready to get back in the water and set sail towards Brazil.
Among a number of tasks to be done before re deploying Challenger and sending her on her way are:
- Inspect for corrosion (on end caps), damage, plugged pressure sensors, document any damage with pictures so we have them for the future. Take note of fouled locations if you can, otherwise we can use Jame's pictures from Helena.
- Inspect internally for leak, salt, corrosion. Pitch threads. Take off and clean nose cone and buoyancy pump diaphragm.
- Check compass!!!
- Check digifin operation with different ranges specified.
- Scrub glider down, perhaps lightly on the painted sections, remove old bio films.
- Open glider, backup flash cards in 2 locations, Format cards, Upgrade to software 7.13
- Re-battery, compare battery weights on labels, do best to account for that with bottles, etc. Glider was about 40 g lighter than average density, which I think was good, wouldn't want to go too much outside of 50 g too light/heavy. I think goal is to maybe leave it a tad light with 2 wing rail weights. Tape and paint will add some weight and we can use wing rail weights to add the rest... We were ballasted pretty-much perfect so if were close to where we were before that is our best bet. Our best check may be a ballast dunk at the dock.
- Replace digifin?
- Re-seal for deployment, new o-rings
- Apply new antifoul items, paint, tape...
- Re-cal compass
At the base that was used for technical support, Drew Avery, an ex-navy diver from Greenland who now works at the local US base lent his steady hand to perform the "open heart surgery" that was required to set 29 up to get back in the water.
Once Challenger was put all back together, the team put her in the back of the pick up and drove her down to the beach where they then used a tidal pool that was separated from the open ocean by low tide as a ballast tank.
In this pool they were then able to trim the ballast on the glider until they were certain she was ready to continue her trek towards Sao Paulo.
Next up is the deployment- stay tuned!
Force Wind Sea & Honor