Thursday, August 22, 2013

One day survey in Valdez

I'm not sure there such a thing as a one day survey in marine geophysics but we tried to pull it off in Valdez this week.  The reality was three very long days.  It's over 250 miles from Palmer to Valdez so a good portion of that time was spent driving there and back.

Driving to Valdez is one of the most scenic drives in Alaska but towing 10,000 lbs of boat and trailer doesn't always allow you to take in the views.  Fortunately two of us were able to trade off driving.  Surveying in Valdez would have been equally scenic if we had been able to see past the fog.  Most of our time in the water was spent driving around with virtual no visibility.  We relied heavily on the GPS and electronic charts for navigation.  The up side to the fog was the flat calm water.  We certainly appreciated the lack of wind while towing the side scan sonar.

The sonar was towed nearly 400 ft below us, fairly impressive when working from a 28 foot boat.  We had our fair share of normal equipment problems but in the end we were able to find what we were looking for on the sea floor and position it within about 10 feet.

Now it's onto the next job which will be in St. George in the remote Pribilof Islands!

Truck and boat (Latent Sea) at a rest area west of Glennallen.

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