Today wasn’t a bad day by any stretch of the imagination. We got in the water to do our first science dive, got trained on our vehicle and issued it, and obtained our first samples. However even though we got all that done, few things went as planned.
Our vehicle is a Piston Bully. Normally found on ski slopes grooming the steep hills, this tracked vehicle can cross ice, snow, rock, and just about anything else that one throws at it. However it is also delicate and doesn’t like the cold (?) so must be babied. The lesson on how to baby it took 2.5 hours this morning. I’m not bitter about this long lesson as it is a very different vehicle than most and I learned a lot. For instance, I learned that the heater in this particular one was broken. A broken heater in the Antarctic? Not going to work. Thankfully there is a great group of mechanics here that got to fixing it and fixed it right away.
We had planned on a post lunch dive at the Jetty (the only dive sight that is open.) 1:30 seemed pretty civilized however at 1 the wind kicked up to 50 knots, the visibility went to <10ft, and walking became difficult. Although the weather underwater would have been nice it meant we had to postpone our dive. While that would normally be a bad thing it meant that we discovered a large leak in the aquarium and helped another science team catch the water overflowing from their aquarium onto the floor (someone else accidentally turned up their water pressure and knocked a hose spraying seawater onto the floor without noticing – flooding entailed from both).
This was the wind – the building in video is ~25 ft away.
Then the weather cleared and off we went. This dive went OK. I forgot a key piece of equipment in the vehicle and had to stop mid dive to get it and continue the dive. Both Rory and Rob stayed down and then I went looking for the community that we planned on studying with little luck. All in all we got three samples. They are the first three samples of the season but a few less than the 9 planned. So tomorrow we go back in search of more.
An Anemone and Soft Coral on the sea bed. You can also see the siphons of clams right next to the base of the anemone and little tubes. In those little tubes are the worms that we are after, but this community is no where near as dense as the community that we are down here to study.