After completing the high priority plankton stations for our cruise, the ship shifted to buoy rescue mode. The drifting Northeastern Regional Association of Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (NERACOOS) buoy was north of us in Jordan Basin. The ship arrived at the buoy just after midnight December 5, and the crew was able to secure it onboard after a few hours work.
They have deployed and retrieved these buoys in the past, but had to devise a new strategy for this one since we had an extra winch on the back deck to conduct Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl (IKMT) tows. The back deck of the Delaware II seems spacious until you drop a fourteen-foot buoy with an instrument cage attached in the middle of your gear! During a buoy maintenance cruise they are able to store three of these on the deck. However, we planned to continue plankton work and needed the space for the IKMT. On the transit back towards shore, the buoy was power washed and secured out of the way of plankton operations.
We arrived off the coast of Portsmouth and resumed plankton operations just over 24 hours after the last bongo net came onboard.
DE11-10 Ecosystem Processes Research Cruise