Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Back to Maui: instrument recovery, take one

After spending just over four months in the water, the time has come for our acoustic recorders to be brought to the surface, refurbished, and redeployed to record more of Maui's reef sounds. At least, that is what should be happening this week. Unfortunately, February weather does not seem to agree - the forecast is for rain and high winds. After productive work on the water yesterday and this morning, by noon today the wind and waves had picked up so much that we had no choice but to abandon our remaining objectives and return to port. The outlook for the rest of the week is bad, so further instrument recovery is seeming increasingly unlikely.

Marc Lammers and me refurbishing an EAR (ecological acoustic recorder). This photo was taken by Darla White who generously volunteered on Sunday to help us take advantage of our narrow weather window.
However, despite that disappointing prognosis, there are at least two reasons to be optimistic about the future. First, no recorders have been lost, at least from the three reefs we've visited so far. Second, two of the three recorders from those reefs appear to have functioned perfectly, which is a very pleasant surprise. The third one - unclear what the issue is but it seems unwilling to indicate whether it recorded and if it did, how many files were produced. The good news is that every reef was outfitted with two recorders so even if this one failed, there is a backup.

Fouled instrument after four months on the reef (Photo: M. Kaplan)
While boating seems almost certainly out of the question for the rest of the week, if the winds let up on Thursday it will be possible to retrieve and redeploy one more recorder by heading out from shore in scuba equipment with the assistance of a stand up paddle board. Fingers crossed.

Max Kaplan

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