NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer docked at Ford Island. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2017 Laulima O Ka Moana. Download larger version (jpg, 4.2 MB).
NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer pulled into Pearl Harbor this morning, successfully completing and bringing the "Laulima O Ka Moana: Exploring Deep Monument Waters Around Johnston Atoll" expedition to a close. The 27-day expedition was the longest of the year and had many successes. Fifteen remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives were conducted from 250 to ~2,600 meters (820 to ~8530 feet), including 14 in the Johnston Atoll Unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Mapping operations were conducted anytime the ROV was not in the water, mapping a total area approximately the size of the state of New Hampshire. Major scientific findings included documenting precious corals in the Johnston Atoll Unit for the first time and the discovery of high-density deep-sea coral and sponge communities. Over the coming weeks, the expedition team will continue processing, analyzing, and summarizing the data collected. Thanks for following along. Our next expedition, from August 8 - August 31, will focus on mapping operations within the waters of Hawaii and in international waters in the vicinity of the Musicians Seamounts chain north of Hawaii. In September, we'll be back with live dives during our final CAPSTONE expedition, as we explore the Musicians Seamounts!