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Some of the major project milestones are given below:


  • Mooring and buoy design completed by the end of 1999.
  • Experiments on a reduced-scale model (1/10) are carried out and are conclusive (December 1999).
  • Construction of the first version of the buoy (aluminium) finished by mid of June 2000.
  • The design of the centralised data acquisition system finalised by spring of 2000.
  • Deployment of the first mooring on site, July 21st of 2000. The buoy is not equipped with the instrumentation (this is a qualification deployment for the buoy).
  • Recovery of the buoy 3 months later (October 19, 2000). This 3-month deployment is conclusive; it brings to some modifications in the drawing of the buoy, in order to still improve its performances.


  • Development and acquisition (February 2001) of the full instrument suite plus the centralised data acquisition system. Development is performed by Satlantic Inc., Halifax, NS Canada.
  • Feasibility study for the construction of the upper superstructure in carbon composite.
  • Construction of the upper superstructure in carbon composite (July 2001).
  • From July 2001 to December 2001: 6 3-day campaigns on site were carried out (R/V Téthys-II). These operations include: diving for checking the mooring line, CTD profiles, water sampling for determination of the phytoplankton pigments (HPLC), optical profiles (inherent and apparent properties).
  • December 2001: the 2 parts of the buoy are finished (carbon and aluminium).
  • February 2002: The installation of the instruments on the buoy is finished.
  • February 2002: loss of the mooring line (it was waiting on site since the recovery of the first buoy in October of 2000). A new line is built.
  • May 2002: operational deployment, with the buoy equipped with the full instrument suite.
  • June 2002: loss of the full mooring line + buoy, because of a manufacturing flaw of the main buoyancy.
  • September 2002: full reimbursement by the insurance.
  • September to December 2002: complete rebuilding of the instrumentation of the buoy.
  • October to December 2002: complementary engineering studies, ordered by ESA and CNES, and carried out by Marintek (Norway) and IFREMER. Conclusion: the concept of the BOUSSOLE buoy is confirmed and some advices are given for construction.
  • Cruises in 2002: 12 3-day campaigns on site were carried out (R/VTéthys-II; same activities as in 2001).


  • October 2002 to March 2003: invitation to tender for the selection of a manufacturer for the new buoy (the lower structure being now built in steel).
  • April 2003 to June 2003: construction.
  • September 6, 2003: deployment of the new version of the buoy (deployment #2). This deployment lasts until December 6, 2003 (thus exactly 3 months). The buoy was just recovered for a first revision.
  • Cruises in 2003: 12 3-day to 4-day campaigns on site were carried out (R/V Téthys-II; same activities as in 2001-2002, plus the operations needed for: recovery of the buoy data, radiometers rotations, and mooring maintenance).
  • October 2003 to February 2004: construction of a second buoy, and acquisition of the instrumentation needed to equip this second buoy.
  • March 4, 2004: deployment of the buoy, for a 4-month period (deployment # 3).
  • July 2004: first rotation on site, i.e., recovery of the buoy installed on March 4, 2004 and installation of the second buoy.
  • August 2004: 17-day AOPEX cruise ("Advanced Optical properties Experiment") on the R/V Le Suroît.
  • Cruises in 2004: 12 campaigns were carried out (R/V Téthys-II; same activities as in 2003).


  • July 2004 to May 2005: deployment # 4.
  • May-June 2005: The full mooring line and buoy were exchanged by a new mooring line and a new buoy. The buoy remained on site until the end of 2005; the deployment still continues today.
  • Cruises in 2005: 12 3-day to 4-day campaigns were carried out (R/V Téthys-II; same activities as in 2004).
  • The story continues....

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