Andy Billings, an engineering assistant at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, makes final checks on ABE (the autonomous benthic explorer) leading up to its first dive at Brothers Volcano this evening. Click image for larger view and image credit.
Departing Auckland, New Zealand
July 30, 2007
A few minutes before midnight on July 28, we steamed out of Auckland, New Zealand, and right into the teeth of a gale. It was slow-going at first, but the seas moderated during the last few hours of our transit, before arriving at Brothers Volcano this morning. Marginal weather conditions pose several difficulties to oceanographic expeditions. First, it tends to slow the vessel down. Second, the vigorous motion of the vessel makes it more difficult to launch and recover instrumentation, thereby increasing the risk of damaging the scientific instruments.
In any case, our primary science packages are ready and waiting on deck for their first descents into the abyss. After deploying and surveying in the underwater acoustic beacons, ABE (the autonomous benthic explorer) will make its first dive into the caldera (depression) of Brothers Volcano this evening. We’re really looking forward to seeing the first high-resolution map of Brothers caldera!
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