The Lady Amber's first real cruise, chartered for Australian Argo via JCOMMOPS, was originally planned to deploy about 20 floats from Cape Town to Mauritius, then from Mauritius to Seychelles, then back to South of Mauritius to transect to Perth around 35°S. The transect to Seychelles was restricted for security reasons; the high risk piracy area starts at 10°N.
Several float positions had to be changed to accommodate to these restrictions.
In addition, the whole cruise being delayed for various reasons, the captain suggested to go slightly more north for the transect to Perth due to the winter season approaching.
Deploying instruments from a sailing vessel can be sporty when the weather is on. One crew member broke her leg during the journey...
At the end of July, the Lady Amber just arrived in Perth after a successful journey.
A few units were not deployed as they failed pre-deployment tests on board.
40 more units are being loaded for a new cruise to Bali, with deployments over the northwest of the Australian North West Shelf.
The Argo TC will meet with the crew soon to think on how to sustain this activity on the long run.
There are still some practical and legal aspects to strengthen. This adventure is an experiment to see how can we can sustain global arrays more efficiently in the future. Many similar opportunities can be available via individual sailors, NGOs, sailing races, etc.
The captain of the Lady Amber, Pete Flanagan, sent this quotation: ..."on reflection the trip was a good one, it was so gratifying to see the CSIRO floats disappearing in our wake like a string of pearls across the Indian Ocean but I think what made it special was the enthusiasm and dedication of the crew when the deployments came, at all hours of the night and day and in every sea and wind condition imaginable. The pride they displayed when the deployment was perfectly on target, (within three meters) and the morale still high even when the sails were torn and our little ship suffered damage. The trip was long, mainly because of contrary winds and big seas but our little vessel battled through successfully as always...."
Below is the cruise track in red.