HALE-ALOHA 7B: Chief Scientist Report

Chief Scientist: T. HOULIHAN

HALE ALOHA recovery cruise
R/V Thomas Thompson
26-27 January 2000

Personnel List

WOCE group:
Mark Valenciano		Electronic Technician		UH
Don Wright		Research Associate		UH

JGOFS group:
Dale Hebel		Chief Scientist 		UH
Terrence Houlihan	Research Associate		UH
Lance Fujieki		Research Associate		UH

Dave Gravett		Deck Technician			UH-STAG

Due to the uncertainty of the availability of the K-O-K we were able to
charter the R/V Thomas Thompson which had recently ended a science
cruise from San Diego to Honolulu.  The charter was on very short
notice, the Thompson was four hours into her return to Seattle when we
were made aware of her location and the appropriate phone calls and
arrangements were made so that the ship could return to Hawaii and help
us in our buoy rescue.  Thanks to the UH Marine Center, the UW Marine
Center, the NSF and the captain and crew of the Thompson for the quick
response to our request.  The approval  was granted in a matter of a
few hours, pretty amazing for us here in Hawaii.

The Thompson left Pier 2 at approximately 2000 on 26 January with 6
scientists from Hawaii on board.  Equipment was also trucked from the
Marine Center to the pier to aid in the recovery.  We transited
overnight and arrived at an intercept point south of the projected
drift track at 0600.  The flashing navigation light was not visible so
we decided to stand off until daybreak to ensure that we did not foul
any of the buoy line that might have been on the surface.   There was
about 1500 m of neutrally buoyant 3/4" nylon line and the same length
of positively buoyant 3/4' polypropylene.  Captain Gray plotted out a
dead reckoning projected location of the buoy from the Argos drift
track and at about 0800 the buoy was sighted right where predicted, 22(
44.4'N, 158( 3.24'W. The winds were trades at 20-30 kts, seas rough,
swell 8-10 ft, under mostly cloudy skies.  Coincidentally the buoy was
recovered in Station Aloha after an interesting trip, the track is
plotted on the HALE ALOHA homepage: http://hahana.soest.h

During the recovery the PVC ring was damaged and at least one
anemometer was lost along with possible other instrument damage.  Once
the buoy was hooked and  secured the buoy was towed upwind to limit the
possibility of entangling the mooring line in the props.  Once in
position the buoy was recovered with considerable effort since the
bottom metal stand had separated from the float and when the buoy was
lifted it slid off the donut-shaped float although the chain, which
secured the down-line array, was still attached passing through the
float's center hole.  The float, which had fallen back into the water,
was finally hooked and lifted onto the deck, followed by instrument
array.  About 1500 m of 5/16" plastic jacketed cable and about 500 m of
3/4" nylon line were recovered.

Some of the instruments faired very well, many were lost.  One UW
Seacat/GTD was totally lost, one was recovered in somewhat damaged
condition.  One MBARI Nitrate sensor was totally lost, one sustained
considerable damage.  Although the OSU optical instrument hard had was
recovered, the sensor was missing and the glass sphere was shattered.
Both MIT trace metal samplers looked in good condition although a few
of the individual samplers were damaged.  The UH/Karl Seacats were
recovered with the external sensors gone.  All the UH/Karl thermistors
and UH/Lucas Seacats were recovered and looked like they may have
sustained some superficial external damage, more will be know as the
instruments are inspected closely.  The meteorological sensors were a
near total loss as was the surface buoy and tower.  We are fairly
confident that the flotation hardhats and dual releases are in
recoverable condition and will be retrieved at an appropriate time. We
returned to Pier 2 at 2330 on 27 January where the buoy, gear and

The line parted at the termination between the top two 500m nylon
sections.  The thimble was missing from the upper section and it looked
like it was not due to splicing but to some abrasion.  It appeared that
the damage to the instruments was due to the failure of the stainless
bolts that held the base on to the buoy.  The buoy had a metal frame
made from angle iron that was used to stand the buoy upright while it
was on land.  This frame was missing upon recovery and it is guessed
that as this frame fell through the water column it damaged the
instruments and possibly caused the abrasion at the point where the
line parted.