The Fijian and U.S. flags fly high atop the mast of the R/V Roger Revelle while in port in Suva, Fiji.

The Fijian and U.S. flags fly high atop the mast of the R/V Roger Revelle while in port in Suva, Fiji. Click image for larger view and image credit.


ROV technicians from the University of Bremen in Germany prepare the Quest 4000 for work in the NE Lau Basin shortly after arrival on the R/V Roger Revelle.

ROV technicians from the University of Bremen in Germany prepare the Quest 4000 for work in the NE Lau Basin shortly after arrival on the R/V Roger Revelle. Click image for larger view and image credit.


On Departing Suva, Fiji

September 9, 2012
0202 GMT
Wind – E @ 5 kts
Air Temperature - 25.7°C (78.2°F)
Sea State – 1.3 m

Paula Keener
Marine Biologist
Director, Education Programs, NOAA Ocean Exploration & Research

A total of 35 scientists and 21 crew from 15 organizations representing the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Germany departed Suva, Fiji today and are making the R/V Roger Revelle their home for approximately the next three weeks as they launch the first broad scale exploration for hydrothermal vents at seamounts and spreading centers in the NE Lau Basin in the Western Pacific. Using the Quest 4000 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from the University of Bremen in Germany, scientists will take a closer look at exploration targets identified during the last mission to the area in 2010. It was during this mission two years ago that exploration activities were conducted over seven submarine volcanoes known as the North Mata volcanoes and other hydrothermally active sites in the NE Lau Basin.  Hydrothermal activity was detected over six of the North Matas, and now scientists are returning with more sophisticated equipment and more diverse expertise to continue explorations in the most volcanically-active area of the planet.

Scientists on the NE Lau Basin Exploration Team unpack and set up equipment as they prepare their at-sea work spaces in the ship’s main lab.

Scientists on the NE Lau Basin Exploration Team unpack and set up equipment as they prepare their at-sea work spaces in the ship’s main lab. Click image for larger view and image credit.


The science party and ship crew don their life vests during an abandon ship drill.

The U.S. Ambassador, Ms. Frankie Reed (fourth from left), joins Chief Scientists, Drs. Joe Resing (second from right) and Robert Embley (right), the ship’s Captain, Wes Hill (left) and students from the University of the South Pacific as they board the R/V Roger Revelle. Click image for larger view and image credit.


During the past two days, scientists carrying their supplies and equipment have boarded the 273-foot ship, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and owned by the U.S. Navy. Using screw drivers, wrenches, duct tape, rope and twine; the main lab, computer lab, ROV, ROV van, CTD, telepresence system, biology lab, and wet lab have been set up and secured for departure. It will take approximately 30 hours steaming at about 12 knots before reaching our first exploration target, Vai Lili in the southernmost portion of the study area.

Approximately 50 university students, journalists, television media, staff of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Ambassador Frankie Reed were given tours of the ship as they learned about the unique deepwater geology and associated ecosystems in the Lau Basin and the unique technologies used by the science team to explore them. All had the opportunity to see the Quest 4000 ROV, sit inside the small ROV control van and view very impressive high definition underwater video from previous dives in other parts of the world ocean.

 

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