Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 0: Prep for the field and some quick-thinking solutions (almost)

Our first day in Kona and the only one before we head out on the water, so we spent the day getting our equipment together and picking up the last few items we need.
View from our apartment

On this section of the project we are using two types of acoustic recorders - the DTAG, which we attach by suction cups to a whale for up to a day, and the DMON, a passive acoustic recorder. The DMONs will either be towed behind the boat in a "towfish" or drift passively underwater, attached to a floating buoy, depending on the behavior of the animals and our research objectives. One of our tasks to get ready for tomorrow was to seal the floating buoy to protect the electronics inside that allow us to track and retrieve the DMON once it has been deployed.

Unfortunately, only after it was sealed up did we realize that the electronics weren't working. We took it apart again only to realize that a crucial switch had been damaged during shipping. A number of potential fixes were discussed until Aran came up with the idea to use a door alarm. So after trekking around Kona for nearly four hours and trips to RadioShack, Home Depot, the drugstore and about 5 other places, we had everything we needed to put together a quick fix. Eventually we got our makeshift switch working, only to have it break as we were putting the lid on the buoy. Hopefully tomorrow we get it right the first time.
A fleeting feeling of victory

This evening we met up with some of the other members of the field team but had to leave early to finish up our prep. Forecast suggests that there won't be much wind tomorrow and we plan to meet tomorrow at 5:45am to take advantage of the favorable weather.
Equipment all ready to go for tomorrow morning

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