University of Texas at Austin

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thunder Bay update: More than a three hour tour

The research boat pulls away from its port, Alpena, Mich. Image courtesy of Thunder Bay 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER

The research boat pulls away from its port, Alpena, Mich. Image courtesy of Thunder Bay 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER

In the latest update from the joint project of the Applied Research Laboratories and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we get a sense of what it’s like for the researchers out on the boat.

ARL and NOAA researchers are running a sonar device along the bottom of Thunder Bay (a part of Lake Huron) in search of shipwrecks.

Here’s an excerpt from a post written by Keeley Belva, a public affairs specialist in NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research:

“Every 45 minutes or so, the ATLAS comes to the surface to check in and download some data. In anticipation of the check ins, we make sure the computers are ready to go and we start trying to figure out where exactly it will come up in relation to where we are. I try to grab some photos and video to share here, the researchers are making sure the data transfers correctly, the ship captain is trying to get us close, but not too close, and then the ATLAS dives back down after a minute or two.

The ATLAS atonomous underwater vehicle surfaces at night. Image courtesy of Thunder Bay 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER

The ATLAS atonomous underwater vehicle surfaces at night. Image courtesy of Thunder Bay 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER

“This continues on through out the day—and lately we’ve been out for 14-15 hours. This means that we have some downtime while the ATLAS is underway. During this time, we try to get some other work done, but it was challenging. It’s not that we don’t have things to do, but cell phone and Internet service is spotty. I have also reconfirmed that looking at a computer screen for too long while in 4-5 foot waves, makes me queasy.”

Read and see more at Ocean Explorations.

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