Platform dive 1 to service LUMCON hypoxia SONDEs

Yesterday I did my checkout dive with LUMCON’s dive safety officer Lora Pride. I’m working on getting certified for scientific diving, according to the AAUS standards, in support of some of our lab research goals. As part of the check out, we serviced a set of SONDEs that are mounted on the leg of an oil platform at the station we refer to as C6C. There are SONDEs at three depths (2.4 m, 10.7 m, 19 m) collecting real-time dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, turbidity and fluorescence measurements (for a diagram click HERE). These SONDEs need to be changed out on a monthly basis (roughly), allowing for weather considerations. Yesterday we exchanged all three SONDEs on the platform for new ones, requiring us to dive in with calibrated units, remove the old ones, clear off the biofouling on the mounts, and install the new ones in the freshly cleaned mounts. I brought my camera along and documented some of this. The boat ride out is about an hour (at between 20-40!! kts- a much more exciting ride than the Pelican), on a 26′ Boston Whaler, one of LUMCONs small boats. I also collected water for inoculating a new HTC experiment.

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A beautiful day for diving. Our whaler ready to go.
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Closeup of our whaler with dive tanks visible.
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Busy day at C6C with supply boats and helicopters buzzing around.
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The section of the platform where our gear is mounted. The closest pylon has the moored SONDEs
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Station C6C, with supply boat visible.
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Getting a secondary calibration measurement of water temp/DO with a handheld YSI probe. The bottom water was certainly hypoxic, with DO < 0.5 mg/L.
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DSO Lora Pride
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A thoroughly encrusted SONDE
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Lora cleaning a SONDE mount
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Blurry photo of a new SONDE going in
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A little gobi poking out of a barnacle shell. I missed the focus on this guy, but it gives a good idea of the life on the platform leg.
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More of the sea life on the platform leg
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Coming home
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Part of our decaying coastline. What was perfectly green marsh a year ago is now dying. LA coastline is disappearing at a rate of one football field per hour. 

UPDATE (7/3/14): I’ve had some questions about the coastline decay mentioned in the final caption. There is a lot of information out there, but here’s a link to the Department of the Interior’s page on Louisiana’s coastline, and a link to a recent LA Times article detailing the various legal maneuvers between the State of Louisiana, the oil companies, and other interested parties.

-jct

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