Cabo Verde, Bottom Lander: Days 27 – 28

We arrived in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cabo Verde on September 15th late morning. We had to go through customs and immigration in the port, which took us a couple of hours longer than expected. The plan is to finish up here and travel toward the Senghor Seamount, arriving tomorrow, September 16th mid day. Here are a few shots from the Yersin in Mindelo as we waited on the customs process.

Retrieving the Bottom Lander

While in Cabo Verde we are working together with GEOMAR Helmholtz – one of the world’s leading institutes in marine science. We have Björn Fiedler onboard the Yersin. He is leading the mission today at the Senghor Sea Mount, which is located northeast of the islands of Boa Vista and Sal. GEOMAR deployed a bottom lander at the seamount nearly 8 months ago. It has been collecting data there and today we hope to retrieve it by sending a GPS ping that releases the anchor and allows the lander to surface.

Björn and his colleagues tell us that sending the ping does not always work, as the device has been on the seafloor for so long, sometimes it takes a couple of days to retrieve it due to any number of unforeseen circumstances. However, we only have a few hours, so this is a bit stressful because this is our one chance, and we will be disappointed to come all the way here and not be able to bring the bottom lander onboard.

Not only do we need the lander’s anchor to release and allow it to surface, we need to gently tow it through rough water to the side of the Yersin, then to be able to use our crane to bring it on the Yersin. This is very tricky because it is a large and heavy piece of equipment and today is windy, so it is quite dangerous.

We had great success, and I think the pictures tell the story well. More about GEOMAR and the specifics of the bottom lander, and their wave glider , in a future post.