On January 15, 2018, we successfully deployed our Wave Glider (WG), Europa, to embark on our most ambitious mission to date, HUMPACS (Humpback Pacific Survey). It was a beautiful day when we launched Europa; the wind was relatively light, and the sea state was calm. Conditions such as these enable a smooth process of loading and unloading WGs from our 32 ft boat, the May Maru.
Our team worked for a year to prepare Europa's payloads and ensure her success during the three-month mission at sea. Thus, we celebrated the triumph by pouring a bottle of champagne over Europa before letting her swim away (see video below). Please note that we drank what was left of the bottle after working hours! Once deployed, a school of dolphins joined Europa; bow riding and spinning while escorting her out to sea (see video below). We perceived this as a good omen to our cetacean mission!!!
We deployed Europa off Puako, the northwest coast of Hawai'i Island. As she made her way around South Point, the southernmost tip of the Island (and the USA), strong currents from a big winter swell kept pushing her off course. This was a little discouraging because Europa was only a few days into her mission and we didn't want her to go astray. Nevertheless, Europa pulled through and she’s making impressive progress, averaging ~1.5 knots. Europa is scheduled to reach her first seamount anywhere between February 18th-21st. Track Europa's journey here.
Europa is transmitting multiple data types to us via satellites, in real-time. Some of the data are available to view in our Data Portal. We just assembled a graph of daily sea surface temperature (SST) means that will be updated periodically to display recent data. An additional SST logger called a HOBO, which is more precise, is attached to Europa but its data can't be accessed until the mission is complete. Stay tuned for more updates!
For questions, please email HUMPACS@jupiterfoundation.org