Well, it has been a very interesting couple of days on the boat. To start off with, the small compressor experienced some technical issues starting two days ago. One of the circuit boards in the control unit had a loose connection that would cause the safety on the compressor to trip and turn itself off. This was quite an unfortunate issue, because then we would quickly begin using the air in our reserve tanks and the pressure that we were firing at would drop rapidly from 2000psi to as low as 1800psi before we caught it. This is a bad thing because 1800psi releases a lower magnitude and lower frequency range of sound, which can mess with our data quality.
After diagnosing the problem as being the result of a connectivity problem within the compressor electronics, we took apart the computer and started playing around with the boards inside. We found that by pressing on the front of one of them, we were able to keep the compressor running. So, although we had ordered and received a new computer, we decided to find a way to keep the old one running as long as possible. To accomplish this, we used an intricate assortment of zipties and a small bundle of wire to push the board at the right point so that the necessary connection was made. Although it was a mildly rag-tag solution to the problem, it did the trick, shown by the fact that the compressor has run the past two days without any further issues. It will eventually die on us, but at that point we have a spare computer to replace it with, therefore we have little concern that the little compressor will be the limiting factor in us reaching our goal.
I was also really excited a couple of days ago, because I got assigned to change the oil in the small compressor. Now, this task requires removing the plug on the drain tube, funneling the waste oil into a bucket, replacing the plug, pouring oil into a tube at the top of the engine while checking an indicator at the bottom of the engine to see the oil level. Sufficed to say, this job would be best done with five hands and three eyes. Fortunately, one of the crewmates offered to help me without me having to ask, or else this would have been a total fiasco. That being said, I started off the oil change by wanging my hand against a bolt, while removing the drain plug, and tearing some skin off of a knuckle on my right hand (Hurray for war wounds!).
Shaking that off, we had squeezed the smallest funnel we had in between some of the pipes that were in front of the drain tube. To the funnel we had attached a hose to lead to bucket, but it was not quite long enough to trust that it would stay in the bucket at all times, which took up another hand. So we remove the plug and oil starts pouring into the funnel and into the bucket, as planned. Well, I take my eyes off the system for a second and when I look back I find that the hose is not in the bucket and the funnel is overflowing onto the pallet and deck! I grab rags to try and catch as much of the oil dripping onto the deck as possible, while David plugs the hole with his thumb to control how quickly the oil comes out. I make sure that the hose is still in the bucket and then pull back a second to look at the damage.
The rest of the job was pretty easy, not too many complications, and there was some clean up during and after, but all in all I would call the project a success with room for improvement next time around. It is really amazing to me how much you can learn about something just by trying it and making your own mistakes. Next time, I will tape the hose to the grating/lip of the bucket to keep it from moving, plug the drain hole to control to flow, and be more careful when opening the drain plug.
Otherwise, things have been going pretty smoothly, though (to explain the title of this blog post) the forecast for our area has been fairly bleak as of late; predicting that we will be over cast for the entire last week of our cruise. It was rainy again on Tuesday, yesterday was just cloudy and today is turning out beautifully! So, as a result, I say, “Weatherman, be damned!”, because we are going to have god weather simply because I will it to be so!
As I have been processing data and learning how to pick velocities, I have been more time looking at the preliminary data with the researchers and have been seeing some pretty cool structures on the preliminary CHIRP and seismic data from our array. Hopefully, we will have enough evidence to classify them as faults! More on that later, I must get back to sitting on the barge and watching the buoy!
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