The last day of operations in the REP exercise was dedicated once again to the SNoW objective. In this scenario, high-resolution observations of water parameters needed to be performed in order to study the vertical and surface structures of the ocean. For this, we used two LAUVs: LAUV Xplore-2 and LAUV Seacon-3.
Even though it was initially planned to include a hexacopter UAV in this exercise, it was not possible to bring it onboard NRP Cassiopeia due to the problems detected during the previous test. On the other hand, we were able to deploy 3 surface drifting buoys (Wavy) and receive their tracks in real time throughout the day. The drifters were deployed in the beginning of the day inside the Sado Estuary, in a shallower area and were retrieved in the end of the day near the Comporta beach.
LAUV Xplore-2 had an easy day as it ran continuously without any problems between 2pm and 8pm. The same cannot be said for the LAUV SeaCon-3 (equipped with an echosounder sensor and supposed to always travel at the water surface). After several failed attempts, where the echosounder was not starting properly, we opted to abort its mission and concentrate only on LAUV Xplore-2 and the Wavy drifters.
After the Xplore-2 mission ended, we knew that the very last task would be the most daunting: we had to search and recover the Wavy drifters from a small vessel! Retrieving the first wavy was fast and easy but the remaining two took almost 1 hour to recover! In the end, everything went well and we arrived at Tróia safe and sound.