This is Robin Houthoofdt, and I am not going to bore you with my lifestory again. You can read my post from last year if you want to know more. The only change is that it’s one year of experience later.
The start of this campaign did not go as easy as it should for me. As the ROV technician I had to install and get the ROV operational. The problem was that I could not get connection to the ROV while all my voltage and fiber measurements were fine. This meant opening the whole system to have a look inside if maybe something broke in the transit to Galway. Have a guess, I could not find a single issue anywhere. She was being stubborn to say the least. After a long search, I did get it to work but could never lay my finger on where exactly we had a problem in the system, which is frustrating to say the least. But this was only the start of my work. There were still a lot of things to be done. It took a lot of effort to finally the stage of the first test dive, but it was finally there. I could finally put some effort in the ballast of the system. This was because I removed the heavy manipulator and changed the camera mounting system with plastic. A lot of weight had to be added. This was actually the fun stuff for me!
The first dive went flawless, I had a feel of the new ROV setup and knew where the next changes had to be made. The second dive went good at first but then after coming back to the TMS (garage system) the ROV went black again. Luckily, this fault was an easy fix. The third dive I was ready but the ROV (she) was being stubborn again (as you could read in the previous post from Aisling Robinson). Again, this issue could be resolved in a heartbeat and we could set out for the next really successful last dive.
I was happy and relieved at the same time, she was stubborn but we had the results we were hoping for. All new systems added and upgraded in the previous months did their jobs and even our new experimental multibeam worked excellent.
Next up for me is getting the drone up in the air for some nice footage of the Belgica in action! Obviously I’m always hoping for some more ROV action but as the weather is now, it doesn’t look like it unfortunately.
The crew and the other people on board are lovely, great fun. I hope I did not bore you with the more technical side of this trip, but I’ll leave the science stuff to my colleagues! Stay tuned!
As a closure I have some pictures!