by John Hocevar
July 28, 2007
After months of preparation, we are finally here. The Esperanza has just arrived at the SW edge of Pribilof Canyon, and the seas are calm. After a lot of hard work from the crew, we have loaded on two submarines, an ROV, a decompression chamber the size of a small whale, and more piles, boxes, and bags of dive gear and scientific equipment than would fit in a small warehouse. Everyone managed to get here, which in itself is quite a feat given how far some people had to come and how notoriously prone to cancellations and delays flights into Alaska’s outlying airports can be.
Everything seems to be in good working order, so if all goes well today we will get the two submarines in the water this morning, followed by an ROV dive as soon as they come up. Then if the weather’s still good, we’ll get in another sub dive after that – taking advantage of these long Alaska summer days. And with the unpredictable Bering Sea weather, we want to do as much as we can when the wind and waves allow it.
Yesterday we watched footage of the ROV dives that NOAA did in the Bering Sea back in the 90s, and Bob Stone (the NOAA coral specialist on board with us) showed us video from his groundbreaking work in the Aleutian Islands. No one has ever been down in this canyon before, but these videos will give us some idea of what we might find. Really, though, no one knows what is down there, and we can’t wait to find out.
It’s time to get in the water! Wish us luck –