After attaching the array bar to the boat on Friday afternoon, it was taken out for its first test drive that evening. This proved very useful, as it identified that extra strapping was needed to keep the bar steady while the boat was moving.
|Test driving at sunset|
The next morning the cliff observation team (Gemma, Marta, Katrin and Winnie) headed up to the lookout point to practise setting up and using the theodolite; as we arrived the heavens opened and the torential rains started, this quickly turned to hail, but luckily this didn't last too long. A dolphin foraging just off the coast made an excellent target for us to track.
|The Cliff team fully kitted up in waterproofs through the hail and rain|
Equipment was sorted and in the afternoon final adjustments were made to the array system. Hanna, Marta and Katy changed into their drysuits to run more straps under the boat to secure the bar in place on the side of the boat.
|Changing into drysuits- the tricky bit!|
|Overseeing the final adjustments of the array bar on 'Islander'|
With a busy day (and week) behind us, the team headed into New Quay for some fish and chips in the evening, as we were coming down the hill and into the centre of the town, a huge ship could be seen offshore, instantly we were very worried about all the PODs and bouys deployed off New Quay head. Hanna phoned the coastgaurd to find out what was going on, they told us that this 86 x 13m ship, named 'Patricia', was in the area carrying out checks on all the lighthouses; a RIB was launched from it, and as there was no radio on board, or any way we could communicate with them directly, we stood on edge of the pier waving frantically, trying to get their attnetion so they could come to shore and we could warn them about all the moorings in the water. However this didn't work, and after they had done a large loop, the RIB returned to the ship, which continued on it's travels. We called the coastgaurd again, who let us know that the boat was now travelling North.
|The huge ship 'Patricia' just off New Quay head!|
The next morning we set to work tracking the boats movements to see if it had travelled through our grid of bouys. From comparing the tracks it looked like it had! And with the sea being too rough to take the boat out or see the bouys from the cliff, we were not sure if 'Patricia' had caused any damage to our project- Sunday was an anxious day.
|The route taken by 'Patricia'- right off New Quay head|
|POD and mooring positions|
With a slight lul in the weather we took the boat out on Sunday evening, to test if the hydrophone array bar was secured- the extra strapping appeared to make a large difference, and held the bar very steady. Then with some desperation to see if the bouys were stilll in place we searched for the grid; however with the wind and waves rapidly picking up and the light fading, we had to turn back for harbour without completing the search.