Warm weather diving.

In the last post I pointed out that it was pretty warm out. I spoke to soon.

The weather stayed sunny but the wind has picked up and this late in the season there is nothing in the way of shelter as we get ready to get in the water. It may be a balmy -2C (28 F) in the water but with windchill at -20 C, it is still a bit cold to have exposed hands when getting suited up. When finally putting on my dry gloves they don’t really fit mostly because both they and I are frozen. However once in the water comfort takes over again and back to science we go.

The worm tubes are dense at all the sites. One of the challenges of coring is not getting one of the clams in it. You can see their siphons sitting just below the sediment surface here (they look like a pair of holes).

The timing of this project worked out perfectly. The visibility is rapidly improving and is already up to around 100ft. Here is a close up of the worm tubes which are still in full form. Note the brownish hue on the sediment. That is likely the benthic diatoms that are still blooming away.

In addition to worms there are tonnes of different kinds of cnidarians (anemones and hydroids). They eat the passing plankton using their tentacles.

These are some of the most abundant types of infauna, they are sand anemones called Edwarsia. I had always thought that this was how they always lived but I discovered that they actually burrow around sideways just below the sediment surface in most of the cores. While the are not as numerically as abundant as the spionid polychaetes, they may provide more biomass.

This is why it is a bit difficult to get out our site. This is one of three large cracks that we have to walk over and take all of our gear over. For reference that is about a meter (3ft) across. You can also see the ice algae covering it.

If you look closely in the crack in the bottom right hand corner you can see a Pleuragramma icefish that make caves in the ice to hide from predators, mostly seals.

Terril was my dive buddy again. Here he is lite from above by the bright sunny summer day that is awaiting him. You can also see the tether that connects us.

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