The weather is playing games with us lately. As early as six o clock in the morning we were expected to reach the deployment site for our oceanographic measurement instruments. In the evening before deployment when we tried to get ready and prepared, the wind and the ocean swell picked up. We were getting wet, seawater sprayed all over us on the outer deck, but we also feared our and the measurement instruments safety with the waves roling over the lower deck. But the deployment of our measurement instruments into the southern ocean are what we came here for, and the preparations took us long. So we did our best to strap our measurement instruments in place on the outer deck for some final tests and adjustments.
After the straining day with much time on the outer deck, we were so happy to finally come inside and go to sleep in the evening. The last thing to do was to plug one of the wave gliders into the power supply for charging. But what was that? When we plugged it in for final recharging of the batteries, the battery was rather draining then filling up! The whole measurement mission was in danger, the gliders stay in the ocean for many month at a time and we can not release them only partially charged! So we started digging into the software and plugging/unplugging cables until finally, long after midnight with only a few hours left before deployment we got it working! The charging signal came on and we prayed that the night would be enough to get some substantial charge into the batteries.
The next day early morning after just a short sleep, we were approaching the station for deployment. The Agulhas II is a big vessel on a supply cruise for the antarctic base. As a small group of scientists, we are expected to get the deployment done quickly and not make the ship waiting to long for us. We hoped the deployment could be done in about two hours. Two gliders are configured on deck, picking up satellite communication, receiving answers from the pilots at hour home universities. Then we are watching the instruments going into the water while also coordinating a calibrating CTD cast and taking underway sampling. There is just so much that is supposed to be happening in a very short time, and it requires precise preparation.