A big disapointment....
Friday May 9th seemed like another day with the UAV team doing the honors of waking up and leaving the farm house early to get onto the R/V Diplodus to get their shot at claiming readiness on the vessel. But there was a lot of dissapointment in store.....
On arrival at the dock at Olhao, Artur Zolich's task was to coordinate the removal of the WaveGlider from the deck of the Diplodus, both to get the UAV team valuable deck space to land with a net (a better one from the one on shore) and also to install the much anticipated electronics box from Liquid Robotics from California, which had gotten stuck in customs. With that out of the way, the UAV team eagerly set up getting ready to fly as the vessel was readied to head out. Barely 50 meters from the dock, the captain noticed a problem and (the smart guy he was) turned the vessel around and returned to the dock on reduced power. A determination was made that this was a serious condition and therefore the cruise had to be cancelled! Worse, the captain determined that this needed further analysis and could not give a return time to sea. Needless to say, this was a major blow to all.
Joao and the crew returned to the farm and we caucused. We quickly decided that we need to keep the momentum and keep flying. A few calls and friends in the local Maritime Police with jusdiction of the beach areas was arranged. We really needed to get on the water and see how the cameras behaved, not something we could have done with tests from near the farm house.
Off the UAV crew went to a (literally) remote corner of Portugal, in the border lands between Portugal and Spain at its tip near the town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio; the map above shows the black line as the border mid-river. We were right next to it, but careful in operating in Portuguese air space.
The team quickly set up gear and lo-and-behold flights commenced. In rapid fire till late in the evening at 7.45pm, the team flew a number of missions and chalked up sucess in using T-REX, the IR camera and the Pan/Tilt unit, all crucial tests that needed to be done! While not exactly what we had in mind, this was indeed very good for morale. With thanks to the Maritime Police.
Meanwhile, back in Porto, Renato who had left the previous night continued to slog thru building more ARGOS tags at the lab in FEUP. Helping him were Marina (who is also doing outreach activities), Jorge Nieva, Tiago Rodrigues and Bruno Loureiro. By working late into the day, they've managed to recover from the delayed deliveries of the tags and also incorporating design feedback from the test tags deployed on Mola's which haven't really worked well.
Joao and Kanna stayed over for a late night dinner (we were close to the Spanish border after all) with the captain of the Maritime Police, Pedro Borges, who gave a great insight into his daily challenges (and satisfaction) of being a public servant in this very touristic corner of Portugal. And then to bed well past midnight!