Bermuda Deep Water Caves 2011: Dives of Discovery: Mission Logs

Mission Logs

Follow along as participants in the cruise provide updates and reflections on their experiences, the science, the technology, and other elements of the expedition.

  • Mission Summary

    By Tom Iliffe

    During the three week NOAA Ocean Exploration project, Bermuda Deep Water Caves 2011: Dives of Discovery, our four member deep team, aided by numerous assistants, conducted eight deep offshore dives to a maximum depth of 448 ft., in addition to eight photo, instrument deployment, and exploration dives in inland caves systems.

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  • Samples Collected

    June 27, 2011  |  By Robbie Smith

    The Iliffe dive team has returned a remarkable and unique collection of animals from Bermuda’s deep reefs that will significantly expand the collection at the Bermuda Natural History Museum.

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  • One Last Dive

    June 26, 2011  |  By Jill Heinerth

    Today was the last ocean dive of our project. I always get the “last day worries” towards the end of a project. I realize that this is the point when people either get tired and complacent or comfortable and complacent, in either case, complacency kills.

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  • Being a Safety Diver

    June 22, 2011  |  By Brett Gonzalez and Nic Alvarado

    Successful scientific diving projects require specialized equipment and thorough planning. A key component is the expert safety divers. The roles and responsibility of the Safety Divers were vital to the safe success of the Bermuda Deep Water Caves Project.

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  • Calling the Dive

    June 21, 2011  |  By Brett Gonzalez, Nic Alvarado, and Tom Iliffe

    Following the discovery of an ancient fossil reef off the South Shore of Bermuda, a return trip to the site was planned to recover coral samples in an effort to date the age of this reef and to identify what coral species were living there.

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  • Challenger Deep

    June 19, 2011  |  By Jill Heinerth

    On June 18, 2011, Brian Kakuk and I conducted the deepest manned SCUBA dive ever completed in Bermuda. Using equipment that looks more like a space suit than scuba gear, we plunged to 444 feet on the Challenger seamount and brought back biological samples and geologic treasures for scientists to examine.

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  • John Smith Bay 310 Foot Dive

    June 18, 2011  |  By Jill Heinerth

    Our team is really working like a well-oiled machine now. We selected a site on the south side of the island to avoid the choppy seas.

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  • John Smith’s Bay

    June 17, 2011  |  By Brian Kakuk

    A strong, northwesterly wind forced our team to move to the southern end of the Bermuda today in the hope that we might find sea conditions suitable to conduct a 300+ foot dive on the edge of the Bermuda platform.

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  • Diving to the Natural Bridge Cave

    June 16, 2011  |  By Paul Heinerth

    As my dive team (Jill Heinerth and Brian Kakuk) and I were drifting down to the target area, I could not help but wonder, how did I get here?

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  • Survey of the Natural Bridge Site

    June 15, 2011  |  By Brian Kakuk

    On today’s mission, Paul Heinerth, Jill Heinerth and myself were tasked with an all-out scientific assault on a 220 foot deep site known as the Natural Bridge, a 100+ plus long tunnel that has openings at two ends, one higher up the slope of the Bermuda bank than the other.

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  • Photo Dive

    June 14, 2011  |  By Jill Heinerth

    Our second dive was conducted in Deep Blue Cave in Walsingham Forest.

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  • The First Two Days

    June 13, 2011  |  By Jill Heinerth

    Every expedition begins with a lot of gear preparation. I brought over 500 pounds of personal equipment and thankfully the airlines cooperated in helping it arrive safely.

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  • Arrival in Bermuda

    June 11, 2011  |  By Tom Iliffe

    Our team arrived safely in Bermuda, each with numerous bags and boxes of diving equipment and other luggage. Fortunately, Graham Maddocks of Triangle Diving met us at the airport with his flatbed truck which was soon filled to the brim.

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