For year five of our research on the Snake River in Grand Teton Natl. Park, the science guys asked for more room to haul more people and more infernal machines. So I got in touch with Jack (the catmeister) and ordered larger tubes, 22 in. for more draft, with blunt cones, so we wouldn't have to buy a longer trailer. The new tubes are only 6 in. longer, with grey fabric and black bottoms to lessen the reflected light (we're collecting spectral data).
There are two trolling motors, which I run locked straight downstream to hold us against the current (>2 m/s), while I steer with the oars. I tore down the frame and added 2 ft. with another panel of the grid floor, so there'd be more room for the computers (2 laptops and 3-4 handheld), cables, batteries, etc. The width is the same. I used to haul one science geek, but now have two grad students, Toby and Devin, to punch the keys and stare at the screens.
The idea is to have the floor close to the water, so we can lower sensors through it, while not splashing all the $$$ electronic gear, most of which is water-resistant (but not all). Here's the rear end, devoted to science. There are two spectrometer/data loggers, one backpack to measure the light spectra reflecting from the water with the wee black sensor on the rear spar (also mounting a GPS antenna) and one compact (grey & turquoise thing on the mast) to measure the light from the sky.
The black units are (L) an LISST which shoots a laser beam through the water to measure absorption and scattering, and an ACS (R) which pumps water into an internal chamber and subjects it to various indignities. :shock: On the yellow mast are (bottom) an echo sounder, a GoPro camera to record the water surface, and a GPS antenna. Obviously, this is not exactly rigging to flip. That would cost a bundle.
We also had a hardshell 'yak and an IK, rigged with Doppler current profilers, that measure depth, flow velocity, and flow direction with scary precision. Paddling a cross-section yields a pretty accurate measurement of discharge (total volume of the flow). The banks and bars also got surveyed using GPS/RTK rovers.
I like building cats and love rowing, so this is a fun gig. And the visuals are hard to beat:
We'll do a longer session in August, at lower water.
If anyone has questions about this stuff, send me a PM. The cat tubes are a custom job from Jack's Plastic Welding inflatable boats, self bailing rafts, catarafts, pontoons, inflatable kayaks, dry bags, paco pads, spill containments, culvert plugs by Jack's Plastic Welding Inc.
Also, check out my StreamCraft page on FaceBook, where I'll post about this in greater detail: https://www.facebook.com/streamcraft?ref=hl