Yesterday, we completed the first phase of the WET-NZ mooring system installation, deploying the two seaward mooring legs. The NRC Quest arrived at the NOAA dock in Newport at 0345, and the Northwest Energy Innovations, Sound & Sea Technologies, and the Bluewater Technologies team boarded the vessel at 0500.
We arrived at the project site in about an hour, and by 0725 the ship’s anchors were dropped and installation was underway. Using the massive deck winches, the crew lowered the first mooring buoy into the water over the stern of the boat. By 0815 the first 12,000 lbs. drag anchor was deployed, and the 6,000 lbs. clump weight anchor was on the bottom just twenty minutes later. The final component of the mooring leg, the subsurface float, was deployed at 0920.
As the fog began to lift, the ship moved into position for the second mooring leg installation and dropped her anchors again. By 1145 the second mooring buoy was in the water, but a snag in one of the mooring lines delayed deployment of the second set of anchors. The tangle was cleared though, and both the 12,000 lbs. drag anchor and 6,000 lbs. clump anchor were on the bottom by 1330. The timing was perfect, as the sea breeze kicked in at 10 – 12 knots just a few minutes later. With the deployment of the second subsurface float at 1400, installation of the second mooring leg was complete.
The OSU RHIB team, with Ken Serven at the helm, checked the distance between subsurface floats with Bluewater’s suitcase GPS. Once we confirmed the anchors were correctly oriented on the bottom and the lines properly tensioned, the Quest raised her anchors and headed back to Newport to rest up for tomorrows deployment.