Guest Blogger: Dave Rivera (NOAA/PMEL)
On Friday, September 27th and Saturday September 28th, The SPURS team recovered two experimental mooring systems developed by the NOAA Engineering Development Division based out of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, WA. The purpose of the PICO (Platform and Instrumentation for Continuous Observations) mooring concept was to develop a low cost easy to deploy system that would compliment other ocean observing stations, so when the SPURS project came into fruition, these experimental PICO moorings were put to the test.
Sadly one of these two moorings, the PICO East Mooring, failed several weeks before our scheduled recovery, and the buoy was left to drift in the Atlantic while the rest of the mooring sank to a depth of nearly 5000 meters. Fortunately the science party and crew of the Endeavor were able to track and recover the broken line that had settled to the bottom along with the attached “Prawler” (Profiling Crawler), which was attached to the wire rope. The “Prawler” itself is an experimental instrument using wave action and metallic “teeth” to work its way up and down the wire rope while collecting its data.
Although one of these moorings did fail after spending nearly one year in the Atlantic, the data collected from both should prove to be useful. Furthermore, the evidence from the broken mooring will be instrumental in the continued design for this experimental mooring platform. We look forward to deploying more of these for future projects.