Heading South Again and for the First Time

After a 4 year break the Cold Dark Benthos Team is headed south again.  On October 21st we depart for New Zealand en route to McMurdo to start a new project which we hope will inform us all about methane cycling in the Antarctic.  Over the past few months we have been gearing up and training up for the expedition.  Our team will again be a small one including myself and Sarah, a graduate student in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences here at Oregon State University.  Rory (our previous partner in science) has moved on having completed his PhD.

So a quick catch up – it has been a summer of challenging diving. The visibility on the Oregon and Washington coasts have been at an all time low and so for getting in our requisite training dives we have had to endure not really seeing much of each other.

Sarah diving in the Hood Canal, WA getting used to diving dry.

Sarah diving in the Hood Canal, WA getting used to diving dry.

This was in the better visibility that we had.  We also experienced a Mysid storm (equivalent of a Sharknado but much smaller) diving off Port Orford:

And then finally we got to do some good dives in the Newport aquarium, including getting the chance to ‘put it all together’ meaning that Sarah dove in drygloves, drysuit, three hoods, and Antarctic level of insulation. She was careful not to move too much since she was overheating even though the water was a (balmy) 50 degrees F.  All in all a success and we are now just waiting on tickets and departures… a little over three weeks to go.

Sarah all set for some slightly colder water down south.

Sarah all set for some slightly colder water down south.

 

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