May 17th, 2010
The buoy was caught and cut (accidentally) at 400 m depth. The rescue operation was successful.
Just for two weeks the buoy remained moored at its location at the Blanes Canyon head. All the instrumentation on board was transmitting perfectly during this period. The buoy was deployed there, once its mast was repaired. However, after two weeks of successful data transmission the buoy was caught at 400 m depth and was left free to drift.
The very good weather conditions and sea calm by the days of the accident made us to doubt about any kind of accident with the buoy. Nevertheless, last 29 of April after maping the buoy trajectory, we found that the buoy was definitively freely drifting.
Then, we proceeded with an emergency plan in order to recover the buoy immediatly. The operation was performed on board the CEAB's vessel "Dolores". The skipper (Ferran), two colleagues (Gustavo and Raffaele) and the scuba diver (Didac) were ready for departure on board by 14:00 hours. We all had some delicious bocatas on board for lunch.
We found the buoy at about half an hour after departure from the Blanes harbor. It was gently drifting toward the coast. We were pleased to found the buoy structure and all the instrumentation in good shape. The recovery operation was clean. We tied the buoy to the boat, recovered the mooring line that was cut at 400 m depth (presumibly by a bottom trawler, although fishermen claim this is impossible), and finally we trawled it toward the port at the maximum safe speed of 3 knots.
We are now waiting for a new opportunity to deploy the buoy. We will need new concensus and approval from Blanes' fishermen in order to deploy it again, this time in a location nearer to the coastline at the head of the Canyon where no fishing will take place. We are installing a surveillance camera that will dissuade other users of the sea area from eventual "accidents".
Under these circumstances, it is really difficult to keep going an oceanographic observatory. Uff!