Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Out in the field - the perils of lightning!

Last week one of our Senior Technicians - Dan, went down to Wednesday Peak and Welcome Bay in Fiordland (here) to replace and upgrade some radio gear that had recently been damaged by lightning. These sites have the important task of transmitting data from the tsunami monitoring site PUYT (Puysegur) back to  HQ.
Wednesday Peak
Helicopter leaving the site


Dan then traveled to the other end of NZ, to North Cape (here) (along with a technician from Maritime NZ), to investigate an outage of the tsunami monitoring site NCPT (North Cape). When they arrived it was clear that the lighthouse next to the site had sustained a direct lightning strike and was effectively destroyed, the lightning had also destroyed all of the equipment for our tsunami gauge. Although lightning protection was installed, it was ineffective against such a large strike. Everything at the site was replaced, with divers traveling within the next week to replace the actual tsunami sensors in the water - as the lightening traveled all the way down (over 250m) to the sensors in the water!.  

North Cape

Lighthouse and GNS Site(right)

Lightning damage inside the cabinet

Although traveling to these remote locations involves long hours and hard work, the technicians do get to see some amazing views of our beautiful country, and occasionally some wildlife... 

This whale was spotted in Te Waewae Bay.

Thanks to Daniel for taking the pics and telling me what he got up to (and for putting up with my pestering)

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