Passing Rockall and sending two OSNAP gliders off to work our line

by Penny Holliday

Over the weekend we reached two major milestones; the first was finishing the Rockall Trough part of our section, culminating in a drive-by view of Rockall. Getting that part of the work done always brings some satisfaction because it marks the halfway point (one week into a two-week survey). It’s nice to see this strange little rock as we pass by on our way to the next set of stations to the west. I’ve been here many times since I first saw it in January 1996, but I couldn’t resist taking yet more photos…

The second was sending off two OSNAP gliders to do their work for long after we leave the area. Gliders are ocean-going robots that fly though the upper few hundred metres of the ocean collecting information about temperature, salinity and currents as they go. They transmit their data back to us by satellite and build a very detailed picture of the conditions along our OSNAP line. We waved goodbye to one UK glider (which we call Bellatrix), and one US glider that we have launched for our partners at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Today we found another WHOI glider that has been working out here for a few months and brought it on board; from here it will go back to base for servicing and a battery change, before being sent off again later in the year.

Photos by Penny Holliday and Angelina Smilenova

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