The tide gauge sits out in Horse Shoe Harbour in about eight meters of water. The idea is to first find the location, then drill a twenty five centimetre wide hole, two meters down through the sea ice using a Jiffy drill, then lowering an eight meter pole containing a camera, light and a transducer that fits over the tide gauge transducer. Simple, I mean, how hard could that be?
Well after four hours out in minus twenty and snowing we had drilled four holes and seen lots of star fish, but no tide gauge. The photo sights were not lined up exactly and one of the photos was taken over the water so we weren’t confident that photo was accurate so we ditched that photo and just went on the other three marking a spot eight meters away.
We drilled through the ice and lowered the camera and immediately saw the tide gauge. We drilled one more hole thirty centimetres away directly over the tide gauge and lowered the transducer over the tide gauge transducer and then fired up the computer. Unfortunately after all this work the tide gauge didn’t want to talk to the computer and we suspect it may have flat batteries.
By now it was well and truly dark and our boots and pants were frozen solid by sea water and everything was covered in snow so all we could do was pack up for the day and go try and get warm. Later I contacted the responsible engineers in Kingston to see if there was a way to test our equipment or it they wanted us to try and raise the tide gauge.