Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Back to sidescan whilst the camera takes a well-earned ‘rest’

Well, unfortunately our camera was in a slightly worse condition than everyone thought, leaving two options: a) a DIY repair, or b) heading into Scrabster to pick up and replace the damaged parts – a 20 hour round trip...

Whilst we wait to see what the very capable engineers on board can do, we hooked up the sidescan to continue surveying the lumps and bumps of the Faroe-Shetland Channel seabed. Sidescanning around the clock certainly took it out of the scientists on board, but reaped some reward.

By processing the sidescan before continuing with video camera work we have been able to target key areas of interest. These include particularly rough grounds dominated by boulders and cobbles, sediment wave fields that appear as large expanses of ripples on the seabed, and areas where trawl marks may be present. This presents the opportunity to sample communities of the Faroe-Shetland Channel in a range of environmental conditions. 

Sidescan interpretation

With sidescanning and interpretation complete, it was time to take the plunge with the DIY repair on the camera. A tube of araldite later and we were ready to go. Everyone stood nervously on deck and bridge waiting for a fuse out. Luckily hovering at 100m depth seemed to cause no problems and so we cautiously lowered the camera to the depths we would be using it at – between 450-500m. So far so good, the DIY repair job seemed to have done the trick!

Testing the repair job on the towed camera

Vivid blue sponge encrusted rock with lamellate sponges, branching sponges,
squat lobsters and pencil urchin

With camera work back on track it was back to 12 hour rotas and a continuation of mapping the extent and distribution of deep sea sponge grounds in the Faroe-Shetland Channel.

Sunrise on a day of survey work