back in the water
by John Hocevar
August 1, 2007
Today was a big day for the team aboard the Esperanza. After the bad weather yesterday, it was nice to get back out under the water! Michelle and I went down in the subs to start things off, and got some really nice footage. I got up close and personal with an octopus, a shrimp, and another snailfish, and Michelle spent some quality time with king crabs and juvenile rockfish. We also were very happy to see quite a few large barrel sponges, and some really interesting little caverns occupied by everything from prowfish to hermit crabs. There were enormous numbers of basket stars and brittle stars – suspension feeders taking advantage of all the plankton and detritus near the bottom.
Then we took the ROV into even deeper water, where we came across a large eel like fish that none of us could readily identify. It could be a type of eel pout, but we’ll have to look into that a bit further. There were also quite a lot of long slender fish called grenadiers, as well as the ship’s favorite, the short-spined thornyhead – aka "idiot."
Finally, as I type, Timo and Kenneth are in the subs again, exploring some of the shallower parts of the upper canyon wall. We haven’t explored these depths yet, so everyone’s excited to see what these guys will find. There are records of soft corals being pulled up in trawl nets in this area, so we’re hoping to find some things we haven’t come across before.
Even though we are on deck by seven in the morning and still out in the subs well past a lot of people’s bedtimes, everyone’s still going strong. The crew has been amazing, going way above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a good team.