Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alvin's last dives during our stay aboard Atlantis after 56 years of service !

The next generation Alvin RHOV
  OK so the word is there will be 6 dives in the Deep Sea Vehicle (DSV) ALVIN on our trip which begins Dec. 5th. We will board in Gulfport, MS and spend the next 8 days in and around the area of the sunken Deepwater Horizon. What we hope to find and what we actually do find will unfold right here on this blog. This is a history making event for two reasons. Number one it is the first series of manned dives into this area that begin this week. Number two it will be the last voyage of the "OLD" Alvin after 50 years of service. It will be re-built with a new sphere that has more windows and will hopefully achieve even greater depths than it's current record dive of over 14,764 feet (4,500 meters). Read here to discover more about ALVIN

  Mike and I will spend each evening going through the 6 hours worth of film that will be shot during each DSV dive. As new discoveries are made you will be right here with us as we log our findings and display some images as well. We will participate in 2-3 of the dives along with noted Penn State University scientist Chuck Fischer.

 Right now we really expect to find oil on the bottom. Things we do not want to find are majestic cetaceans such as Sperm whales or Whale Sharks who may have fallen victim to the oil on the surface. It's also possible that they may also have been the victims of contaminated prey that live in the Deep Scattering Layer (DSL) see diagram below

 Mother Jones article excerpt: "Some early observations of the effects of the Gulf catastrophe suggest the daily vertical migrations of the animals of the deep scattering layer may be blocked when they encounter plumes of oil and contaminants. If so, then trapped below a plume, the DSL fish and invertebrates would be unable to access their prey. Trapped above, they would be unable to escape their predators. Trapped within, they would probably die—and in their deaths, poison those who eat them. For the ocean, any loss of productivity in the deep scattering layer would be the biggest cataclysm of all—impoverishing the surface waters, depleting the coasts, cascading across the boundaries between ocean and land to denude both natural and human economies." ...

So we shall see very shortly...

For more info on Deep Sea Machines click here

Mike deGruy heads out first to speak at Bays & Bayous Symposium

The Alabama-Mississippi Bays & Bayous Symposium is a bi-annual event held alternately in Mississippi and Alabama to provide an opportunity for the community to learn about the state of our coastal environment. This symposium brings together a broad array of scientists, resource managers, local industry representatives and policy makers from throughout the southeast to promote information exchange and networking related to coastal issues that impact long-term sustainability.

The focus for the 2010 Symposium is Science, Industry, Community: Building Bridges to Coastal Health. Our goal is to make a concerted effort to bring scientists together with local industry and community groups to better educate about the status of our understanding about the Northern Gulf coastal ecosystem and processes that alter it; what local industry is implementing to sustain our coastal resources; and how citizens groups are participating in sustaining our coastal resources.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pre Production meeting in Monterey

Well went to Monterey Bay Aquarium and had a visit with a long time friend that I haven't seen in over 30 years, noted cinematographer Chuck Davis! Had a good hang over at his place on the point and got re-acquainted after nearly 3 decades. Last time I saw Chuck we were working on an underwater film segment for Alan Koslowski along with Cousteau cameraman Louis Prezellin in the Cayman Islands.

So why was I up in Monterey? Well I was gathering information regarding camera equipment as well as researching local habitats for a good comparison to what we will be seeing in the Gulf.  Also enlisting more sponsors for our expedition. Checkout the video above that I shot while we were guests at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Checkout that BAITBALL circling the kelp, beautiful!