Hugo Marrero: Meet Submersible Pilot Hugo Marrero
My name is Hugo Marrero, my title is submersible pilot, I work for the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute here in Fort Peirce, Florida. My primary job you can split it between two percentages, I would say that 70% of the work is here at Harbor Branch and what we do is make sure that the submersible is maintained properly and is operational. What we do is prepare for a mission for example a scientist might come in and we meet together and they decide what type of scientific equipment they are bringing on board, what kind of research they are going to do and see if there are any specific requirements for the submersible, then we make sure that all of those requirements are met for the mission - we have to make sure that we carry spare parts and things like that.
I think one of the most thrilling things I've ever seen on the bottom, I've had over 50 submersible dives to the deep sea floor, maybe over thirty ROV dives, and I think.., when I first think about it, I think about the most exciting moment when I first saw the bottom for the first time. I just spent a year studying these communities at hydrothermal vents. I mapped the seafloor and knew right where they were. I was ready to see what had changed over the past year and I went down and I dove and I saw it immediately and it was like my own backyard and it was thrilling. That's not the most thrilling story to tell somebody, because it's a personal story. But there have been other things. We actually, one time, saw an octopus die on the seafloor which is very unusual. We sat there and we watched it expire which is very strange in some ways. And then we saw crabs come in immediately and start to chew on him and tear at him.
The rest of it is the diving. When we go out to sea we make sure that we are taking the scientists safely to their work location and to do what it is they are there to do - whether it is setting a piece of equipment or recovering a piece of equipment - at this point we are doing what we call the fun part of the work.
What I enjoy most about being at sea is being right in the water - to me that is the 1% of the job that makes the rest of it. You get to see things that you know probably less than a fraction of less than 1% of the people on Earth have experienced that first-hand. There are also incredibly talented people around you and you are constantly learning something. I always like to go around to the scientists, look over their shoulder and ask 'what are you doing?' 'what is your main research?' Whenever we go out I follow them to the labs and see what they are doing, this also helps me help them do their job. If I know what they are looking for I am more capable of providing them with help.
So working around great people, the food is always good, I can't complain about the food, the comradery that have among all of us working at sea are all great parts of the job.