On Sunday April 6 2008 the PULSE mooring was recovered less the surface float, rubber element and some chain. It was deployed in Jan 2008 in ~3500m of water. Sadly, two weeks before the recovery cruise the mooring stopped transmitting its position. The final forensic analysis is not complete but it is thought that the surface float flooded and then some of the plastic subsurface floats imploded. The mooring parted on a threaded rod that held the plastic floats. As it was a test mooring the only instruments lost were a GPS transmitter and an accelerometer. A special thanks to the master and crew of the Southern Surveyor for all their cooperation and hard work.
It is believed most of the mooring design is sound despite the extremely challenging conditions. This winter tests will be performed on some new surface float configurations so that we can have more experience and understanding before a fully instrumented mooring is deployed this spring/summer.
The SOTS mooring activity was always going to push the boundaries of ocean observations. Deploying cutting edge instrumentation in some of the roughest conditions in the world ocean is a considerable challenge. A period of testing and development is to be expected expected. Watch this space for more details of the development process.