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Retrieving Sitka - An Ocean Observing Mooring

I am aboard the Research Vessel Wecoma heading west on the Newport Hydrographic Line to document the retrieval of the mooring called Sitka.

Sitka has spent the last six months in the Pacific Ocean collecting and sending data readings to land. Strong waves over the winter have moved it about four miles from it's original position. During one especially severe storm, the buoy moved a couple of miles in one day while dragging a 2500 pound anchor along the sea floor.

Recovering a scientific mooring is no simple task. On the ocean, everything is moving. The sea and ship are constantly moving. The buoy sways when attached to a crane. The physical mass of a mooring in that kind of environment is dangerous. It takes careful coordination between the Captain, crew, and science team to get it aboard safely.

Today we were lucky enough to have calm weather for the recovery operation.