Author: Rob Harbour
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that in one of the pictures in the gallery showing the lander being lifted out of the water after its first deployment, the bait plate is hanging by only two of its cables. While the lander was being thrown around in the waves on the surface for 30 mins before bringing it back on board, one of the cables was ripped from its adjustment clasp, which had become corroded.
We spent some hours reattaching the broken part with a metal crimp and adjusting the bait plate and camera field of view, ready for a second go. Unfortunately, when the lander returned after 36hrs it was yet again hanging by only two cables, and worse, the tuna was suspiciously intact. We suspected the cable had come loose on the way down and flipped the bait plate fish-side-down on the sediment; sadly the video confirmed our fears. It seems the force of the initial drop into the water broke our repaired cable in another place, further down on a different corroded clasp.
We are obviously very disappointed with this result, especially after such a successful first deployment. That the cable came lose seconds after deployment is especially galling, if only we could have known!
We should of course look at the positives here, the lander release system worked perfectly, as did the radio beacon, which turned out to be essential for its recovery this time in poor visibility due to torrential rain. We have the expensive bits back and can have another try, that’s the main thing! Today we will remove and replace all of the bait plate cables, simplifying the configuration to avoid any more disappointingly inaccessible dinners for fish.
The lander will be deployed again for 36hrs from 8pm this evening, we hope to return with better news soon.