Kaikoura, New Zealand
Once again our plan was to get an early start to continue our search for Architeuthis. We set our clocks for an early rise for we had to be dockside promptly at 6:00AM. Our goal is to manage a complete dive before the submersible camera operator has to leave the expedition. We hurry to the dock and are ferried to the KAHAROA by 7:00AM. Fortunately, a large breakfast is awaiting us all in the mess. Most people head right for the coffee to try to get a kickstart to the day.
It's another spectacular sunrise in Kaikoura and a perfect day for a dive. The captain immediately navigates to the location on the dive chart, which has been determined to be safe for the submersible and potentially interesting for the scientists. The launch is scheduled for 2 hours in duration which should give us enough time for a successful exploration. The pre-dive checklist countdown has begun, and by 10:30AM DEEP ROVER is ready. A safety meeting is held preceding each dive in order to review each person's role in this procedure. All on board attend the mandatory meeting, even those who play no role in handling the tethered lines.
The subersible latch is closed and everyone takes their place on deck. The waters are much more cooperative this morning than they were yesterday allowing us to have a perfect deployment. The scientists quickly dart off to the monitors to identify and observe the behavior of the animals they see swimming in front of the cameras mounted on DEEP ROVER.
Unfortunately, we are disappointed in the small number of fishes and invertebrates we are seeing on this dive. We decide to move to a different site, hoping for better results. We tow the submersible for a short while and quickly learn that the situation has not improved. Meanwhile we are fighting the clock because the DEEP ROVER operator has to be at the airport and time is running out on this day's quest.
By 2:30 DEEP ROVER is back on deck, and Mike deGruy has left for shore on the RUKAWAI to catch his flight. We decide to return to South Bay ourselves making it an early finish. Although we had a successful launch and had a relatively long dive, it has been a disappointing day. A meeting is held on the bridge to discuss other sites to deploy the submersible tomorrow.
We'll be at the dock promptly at 7:20 with our fingers crossed.