May 20, 2020: Rebroadcast

Windows to the Deep 2019: Exploration of the Deep-sea Habitats of the Southeastern United States

Dive 07: “Shark Rock”

Date: June 28, 2019

Location: Lat: 31.59517078°, Lon: -79.10225958°

Maximum Dive Depth: 454 meters (1,490 feet)

On June 28, 2019, the Windows to the Deep 2019 expedition team set out to explore a site that held promise as being the final resting place of the Bloody Marsh shipwreck. Upon reaching the target location and surveying the surrounding area, it was determined that the location was, unfortunately, not a shipwreck site. Instead, the team found a series of rock outcrops, densely covered in sponges and corals, with many Alfonsino, barrelfish, and commercially important wreckfish. Operations quickly switched gears to focus on seafloor exploration and in a matter of minutes, the participating science team shifted from mainly archaeologists to benthic biologists and geologists who were eager to explore this dense and diverse coral and sponge community.

Throughout the dive, several small dogfish sharks were observed swimming around the site, which the team thought was notable, but not necessarily all that unusual. As the remotely operated vehicle moved to the top of the ridge, however, viewers were met with an incredible scene -- an aggregation of sharks devouring a recently dead swordfish. As the scene unfolded, more sharks gathered and continued to feed upon the swordfish fall. The fall also attracted crabs, eels, and other fish. Also, while cameras were rolling, a large wreckfish caught and swallowed one of the sharks whole!

Unfortunately, about halfway through the shark feeding event, internet connectivity problems on shore resulted in the video feed being cut, meaning it is likely that you didn’t get to see this whole event unfold on cameras.