Day 17: Monday 28 May 2007 Position: Latitude 35º, Longitude 8º, Bearing 329º Weather:
Gill and Eduard write:
"Yesterday evening Isis came up from its longest dive so far. It was a great reception for the ROV. Almost all the scientists were on the working deck waiting for it. Everybody brought their cameras (of course, we didn’t miss this opportunity). The expectation was that the Isis was bringing a box with some coral samples from the seabed around the Carlos Ribeiro mud volcano. After many hours in the darkness of the van, the biologists were going to see first hand the samples they had caught with the robotic arms of the Isis. When the Isis was fully stationary and fixed on the deck, Paul and company opened the box like they were discovering a treasure. And it was! It was plenty of different kind of corals (especially soft corals), pieces of wood with tubes made by worms, and Brittle star. All the specimens were photographed with exclamations of enthusiasm and delight. The colours of the dark deep sea can be as vivid as the bright pink (see photo below). After the photo session, they carefully placed all the samples in cubes and plastic bags with alcohol 99% to preserve them. The biologists will have plenty of time on mainland to analyse and classify all the samples.
While all the biologists were sampling, in the main laboratory, the geochemists started the first core of the day on the working deck. There was no time to loose! Everybody knows that this is the last week of the leg. We have sent a video clip showing how Katja and Heleen sample the core.
Today the day started with another dive for Isis, and we saw a tripod fish! There is a big screen on the main laboratory, so if something interesting is happening in the van, everybody can see it in real time. When the tripod fish appeared on the screen, in less than a minute the van was full of people. This was the first time we have seen this kind of fish. It has three elongated fins. With them, the fish was standing on the seabed. It was maybe waiting for a catch. At first we thought it was dead. The Isis could approach really close, because the fish seemed not to be scared! Finally, perhaps because it was fed up with us, it swam away. We will send you a photo of it as soon as we can.
Today we have had a visiting bird. It looked so thirsty! It had a nice rest before continuing its trip!
Paul, Ana and Ann view the catch with great excitement
Paul and Ana taking samples
Phil and Ann take a closer look at some of the corals
Paul working hard on editing video footage from the ROV