Don’t Sensor Us

We have left King Salmon and all made it back safely with copies of all the August 2018-May 2019 data by now, but! there are still lots of photos to share of the last few days of the King Salmon spring servicing excursion. If all goes swimmingly, perhaps there will even be a few time-lapse videos (stay tuned)!

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Above: The charging station in our apartment in King Salmon, where Sony Cliés are lined up in preparation for the next outing. The Cliés are handheld consoles which we use to “talk” to the Quanterra instruments. Photo credit: Mel Zhang

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0994.JPGAbove: Anne plugs in waypoints to the GPS. For stations that are a bit harder to find, i.e. hidden in the bushes, using GPS to navigate ourselves to the right place has proved invaluable. Photo credit: Mel Zhang

Our third-to-last station was at Naknek Lake, the most remote of the 8 stations we visited. It was also our first visit for which we used a float plane to access the station. Some flight companies will use the same planes on wheels, floats, and skis depending on demand and season.

Because we were in bear country, and because this particular lake is part of a bear migration corridor around this time of year as the bears follow the salmon upstream, we stored bear spray inside of the floats while we flew so that the cans would not be inside the cabin with us. Due to pressure changes, bear spray cans (which are pressurized) can sometimes explode in-flight, and the last thing any passenger would want to do is blind their pilot.

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Above: Pnina and Anne in the process of loading the float plane. Photo credit: Mel Zhang

Upon arriving at Naknek Lake, we faced a ~1-mile hike across a rocky beach and up into the bushes, carrying our equipment with us.

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Above: Pnina and Mel prepare to set off after unloading the plane. Note the aesthetically appealing wading trousers. Photo credit: Anne Sheehan

And upon arriving at the station, we found this scene…

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Above: Bear damage at the station, with a dug-up instrument box, torn tarp, and exposed sensor. Photo credit: Anne Sheehan

So, it was time to set about fixing the station. The GPS cable had been completely chewed through, the GPS antenna itself chewed upon, and there was possible damage to the sensor cable so some spares were required to be fetched from the plane.

NaknekLake-AnneDigsAbove: Anne re-buries the sensor after performing a check to make sure the station was functioning. Photo credit: Pnina Miller

All in all, it was one of our longer trips, taking ~4 hours compared with the usual 1-2 hours spent at a station.

Next edition: Our final two stations and arguably the most epic location visited, aside from our flight around the inside of the volcanic crater, of course.

Until next time,
Mel, Anne and Pnina

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