The weather intrudes...a rough day out
Monday was a day where we knew that the weather was changing and changing rapidly. But seeing is believing and wanting to really see it, off went the AUV team in the small fishing vessel (the Vitamin Sea; really!) to the 'Mola corridor', the chunk of water we had seen previously tagged Mola transit out into the Gulf of Cadiz. The plan was that if none popped up at the surface, then at the very least the WaveGlider was a potential survey target.
And thats really where things headed. Approaching the area, the shore-base with Artur and Kanna suggested a transit to where the WaveGlider was operating, even as Lara and Ana had managed to take our few remaining 'backup' Mola's in the holding tank on shore, back to sea for tagging and releasing. The AUV team bobbed towards Hermes and launched the Xplorer AUV for a 500m X 500m. In the midst of the survey, Artur and Kanna called in to alert the team that SPOT-10 (now called Ralph by the 8th graders in Porto) had popped up to the surface less than 3 km away from them. AUV mission was aborted and the vehicle was moved to the new target area. Unfortunately, after doing the first side of the survey pattern with a 50m yo-yo around the last known position of Ralph, the AUV seemed to have a control problem and kept diving to 60 m. The mission had to be aborted especially since the weather was rapidly deteriorating. Within a few minutes, it was decided that things were getting too rough for the small vessel and its occupants and head back to shore they did.
The UAV team was in a similar quandary. Now joined by Frederik Leira of NTNU, they had gone to the Fuseta area to fly from the coast. The hope was that should a Mola pop up nearer to shore, with the help of the Pan/Tilt unit, the team would be able to fly out over the ocean and spot a tagged fish. No such luck. Since 8am they waited as the wind continued to build; by 11am they too had to abandon to return to the farm house after grabbing lunch.
The more enterprising amongst us, took the weather as a blessing to build a simple drifter. Joao Pereira and Fortuna with occasional recruitment of passing team members spent the afternoon stitching together a drogue at 2 m for a drifter, one that would cost less than $150. The objective was to augment model predictions from Javier and Francisco with a few extra data points for ground-truthing.
With a slow afternoon with a lot not under our control, the occasional youtube video or silly videos on American television, became an outlet, especially for the younger amongst us. The day wrapped up with a visit to a restaurant (thankfully new) in Tavira and a walk to see the lovely part of the town.