16 March 1999
Kaikoura, New Zealand

Clyde awoke before the alarm at 4:45AM and thoughtfully turned it off. He tiptoed around the apartment. It wasn't until I heard the rumbling electric kettle boiling the water for our early morning cup of tea that I was aware our day had begun.

Through the Natural Partners Program at the Smithsonian, Clyde was scheduled to talk about the expedition by videophone to students at the BOCES Sunken Meadow State Park learning laboratory in New York. Because of the 18 hour time difference, the 12 noon visit with the students translated to 6AM Kaikoura time.

Don Tracia was already setting up the equipment in our makeshift living room studio at 5:15AM. The telephone rang. It jolted us abruptly from our early morning preparations. We received news that a blizzard in New York had shut down the schools and our morning connection with the students would need to be rescheduled. What a disappointment for us and surely for the students.

As we digested this disappointment along with our breakfast, the phone rang again. This time we learned that the main camera on the sub was still malfunctioning and because of repairs, the dive scheduled for early morning was postponed until noon. The almost hourly phone calls updated us on the progress. The faulty camera had to be replaced with a second, lower quality camera, but that shouldn't take too long. Then the word came that the installation would require more time than expected…do you see a pattern here? Finally around 1:30PM it became clear that no dive would be made today. This was again a bitter disappointment for all of us, as the weather won't get any more perfect than it was today…and the clock is ticking on our lease deadlines on the ship and sub. We wonder if the giant squid is as patient as we have to be?

The good news of the day was that Don's long lost shipment of photo and video gear was delivered right to our door! Now we will be fully equipped for the next series of videophone connections with schools in New Hampshire, Mississippi and Virginia. We will let you know how those events go, as we are very excited about being able to share images of the expedition and to discuss the project with the students half way 'round the world'.

We all need a boost in spirits, so the film crew and the scientific crew are having a "commiseration" pasta party tonight. A call from the ship just this minute confirms that we are to be at the dock at 0700 tomorrow in order to get an early start to the deep dive site. Hooray!

Cheers,
Ingrid and Clyde

 


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