We imaged this purple octopus with large glassy eyes during dive #8.

We imaged this purple octopus with large glassy eyes during dive #8. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, INDEX-SATAL 2010. Download larger version (jpg, 2.0 MB).

Dive 8: Purple Octopus
July 8, 2010

The crew launched the vehicle for dive 8 at 5º 04 678'N 126º 39.125'E around 0815. The target was a shallow seamount that rises to a depth of approximately 1550m. It lies along a shallow ridge at the southeast corner of the northeastern priority area. Between landing on bottom and ridge ascent, the topography varied between steep cliffs and relatively level terrain. It was dominated by older, volcanic rocks with a light dusting of pelagic sediment. Corals were abundant in the deeper part of our track but were less so as we approached the summit. Several types of sponges and crinoids became more prominent. Unlike previous dives where sponges were mostly hexactinellids, we saw several different types of sponges with interesting and unique morphologies. Some larger sponges had large, labyrinthian indentations that appeared to be oriented to align with the current. Another type of sponge looked like a furry coconut mat or animal hide. We did not identify it as a sponge until we harnessed every bit of our powerful high-definition cameras. As we got closer to the summit we came across an octopus that was purple with large glassy eyes. We did not find any hydrothermal vents on this dive but we did succeed in discovering what may turn out to be a number of new species. This dive concluded our exploration of the northeast area for this expedition leg. We now start our gradual return to Bitung with continued mapping and ROV operations along with way.