Well, just got back in port. The mission went well but the seas were terrible. The first night was the worst with 16 foot seas and it usually takes a day or two to acclimate so it was not fun at all. The seas calmed down a bit to about 8-12 foot seas the rest of the cruise with a lot of cold wind that is typical of December.
The AUV‘s we were using performed very well, running their full 18 hour missions without intervention. We ran them at around 1000 meters, though they’re capable of 6000; surveying about 100 square miles of sea floor.
About the only mishap we had was one of our transponders “came loose” and drifted off. With some deft detective work, Greg was able to study the currents and winds to see where it would have drifted off to. It took us about an hour to locate it and when we pulled it aboard, the end of the line that should have had an anchor on it was just a frayed rope. Looks like something down there liked the taste of rope and chewed through about 1/2 inch thick line. The AUV had an interesting time with it because one of its transponders that was supposed to be a fixed point was suddenly drifting off. It recovered well though and completed its mission.