Sept. 13, 2005
We started early this morning (~0600 hrs) to finish up the final
preparations for the dive today. Pilot Tony Tarantino and scientists
Brian Glazer (our team) and Andy Fisher (a terrific hydrogeologist from
UC, Santa Cruz) made the dive today. Some last minute data (derived
from the previous two days dives) led to a change in dive plans, but
the Alvin was launched on time and started it’s decent with a very full
instrument basket (see photos) at around 0820 hrs this morning.
Once on the seafloor the Alvin team deployed the data logger that it
had carried to the seafloor. Then they found the elevator that we had
sent to the seafloor last night, picked up, retrimmed the Alvin and
began its hour transit to another borehole observatory (1026B).
Imagine the Alvin traveling along at 1-2 knots loaded with gear and
carrying this big sled attached to a 3-ft diameter float at the end of
a 6 meter (~20 ft) long bridal…like a slowly flying snail carrying a
big red lollipop. Once they reached 1026B, the real work began. It
was a tense long 3 plus hours as the pilot focused intently on
attaching the manifold to the borehole observatory, then the sled to
the manifold and finally an electronic cable from the Alvin to the
sled. All this from inside a 6 foot diameter sphere with three adult
men inside. And with limited time. But, the payoff of all this
intense effort was success! Huge kudos to our pilot, Tony. Great job
also to our shipboard team and our engineering support team back on
We will recover the instruments from the seafloor in about 4-5 days
toward the end of our cruise, though we will visit them several times
inbetween. However, we other tasks ahead and must get busy on them
while we wait to revisit 1026B.
Right now the Alvin and crew are nearing the end of their dive and are
almost at the surface.