Field of Stars
August 6, 2007
I made a dive today to about 1950 feet. That’s more or less 600 meters.
On my way down, at around 200 feet, I looked up to see porpoises swimming down between the surface and my position. I’m assuming they were Dall’s porpoises because we have been seeing many of them from the deck of the Esperanza. In fact the life we see out here from the deck never ceases to amaze me. I just came down from the bridge where we were observing a pod of about ten or so fin whales off the bow, and last week we saw a pod of Orca whales overtake us near the Pribilof Islands. They were in the distance, but their dorsal fins were huge, even that far away.
The camera on the sub was working, because I was watching the feed on the monitor inside the cabin, but unfortunately a technical glitch meant that it was not recording the data, so I’m just going to have to describe the scene I saw when I first got down to the sea floor on this dive.
Swimming around the seabed were thousands upon thousands of tiny fish. We must have landed smack bang in the middle of a huge shoal of them, because they were everywhere. Although tiny, they reflected what little light there was from our lighting system and so I could see them quite clearly.
I pushed off the bottom and hovered 50 feet above the Kenneth in the second submarine and switched off all my lights to better see the fish without the glare from the reflection of my beams in the water and found it difficult to comprehend the sight before me.
I could clearly see Kenneth’s sub below me surrounded by thousands of little points of light. It was like a huge field of moving stars. All around us. I have never seen anything like this and it was a profound moment for me.
I’m gutted the camera was unable to record this image so that I could share it with everyone back on the surface. You will just have to take my word for it, although I have a hard time believing it myself.