If you have been checking this blog you might wonder why we have been so quiet…it is because we have been working hard on our first sampling site with 24 hour a day operations and constant sampling. For me it has been so exciting to start to see the samples arriving after three years of planning. Our first dive saw us ironing out a few technical issues with the navigation system for the ROV. These sorts of things are only to be expected with such a complex underwater robot. The next three dives were spectacular. Our first site was at about 1200m below the seafloor, and as soon as we landed we saw corals –live and fossil all around us. I had a feeling of great relief that we had picked out the right sampling spot. Our first activity was to balance the colours in the high definition cameras to remove the greenish sea hue. Then we started to sample… First we collected some seawater, then we started to collect fossil corals. We spent some time testing the various ‘tools’ that we had taken down: a slurp gun that can suck up samples, a scoop like a large shovel, and a series of nets made by Peter. The dive lasted well over 12 hours during which time we gained about 500m in height up a series of ridges and across plateaus. Since then our subsequent dives have taken us to the summit of the seamounts (200m) and down as deep as 2700m. I am now heading for bed leaving the night watch on duty… Look out for more posts soon as we get in to a routine and can share more of our findings and pictures with you.
Blog Written By: Laura Robinson