Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Easter Microplate Expedition March 12-April 6, 2005

 

Please visit the ChEss website for additional information and translations in Español, Português, and Français.

The ocean has been sailed upon for many years and numerous traditions have survived to present day. These 'traditions' often have a basis in some type of behavior or custom which might have made sense historically, but as these traditions are passed down, they change slightly. Some of these traditions are considered to be 'rite of passage' traditions-events to mark an occasion or achievement. These might include crossing the international dateline, the equator, or one of the polar circles.

Out here, somewhere over the Easter Microplate, we are experiencing another tradition that marks the first dive in the Alvin. As we ponder the origins of this tradition (hoping somehow to use logic to escape the icy bath), we put it out of our minds during the dive as we are too excited about what is unfolding before our eyes to worry about what is happening on the deck 1000's of meters above our heads. But as we start the slow ascent up and while we are bobbing on the surface waiting for the recovery team, we start putting our valuable notes and equipment somewhere where they won't get wet. 

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Ana and Shannon bracing for their first-timer reward....and the ice water deluge!

As you can see from the photos, the Alvin tradition is to douse each new deep diver with buckets of icy water! BRRRRRR! Perhaps this all had a start with some scientist who forgot to take a shower, or maybe it happened somewhere in the tropics when some scientist complained about the stifling heat and humidity inside the Alvin while at the surface (no problem at depth though - it's cold down there). Whatever the original reason, the tradition remains and everyone enjoys being a part of it. Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons for the tradition is that in order to keep it going, there must always be new divers experiencing the thrill of an Alvin dive-so where ever you are reading this, start thinking about how you can become part of this special group of people - divers, explorers, and wet Alvin veterans!

JoeSplash_640.JPG (63333 bytes)Joe getting ice-water thrown on him. 

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Gathering the pails for Caren's first-timer's initiation. What she didn't know was that many of them were empty (Happy April Fools Day!)....but some were still full!


NeridaSplash_640.JPG (55418 bytes)Greg was the last of us to pour water over Nerida, but he was sweet and rather than dumping ice water, he dumped warm water over her. (Sigh!)
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Victor receiving his traditional first-timer's initiation of an ice water bath.