May 15–June 3, 2005
Please visit the Ridge 2000 website for additional information.
On a calm, gray, humid Fiji afternoon, the RV Melville quietly pulled away from Suva harbor without well-wishers or fanfare. Aboard is a scientific team of 24, a cadre of 10 Jason pilots and a ship's crew of 22. Equipped with the most advanced deep sea sampling equipment available, this nineteen-day expedition will collect, describe and genetically analyze animals and microbes endemic to deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
The first order of business was a safety meeting conducted by the
Melville's captain, Wes Hill. Captain Hill's intelligent, friendly, yet
commanding presence assured everyone that we were in competent hands
while aboard. He covered everything from emergencies, to water
management to trash sorting. The Melville strictly adheres to the
international treaties regarding at-sea waste disposal. After the
extensive orientation, we were given a tour of the equipment that will
link us to the deep-sea communities, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV)
Owned and operated by the world famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) of Massachusetts, Jason II has the capability to
explore the deepest depths of the world's seas. This engineering marvel
with its series of 7 cameras, 7 lights and 2 collecting arms can grab,
slurp, scoop and core animal and mineral samples to depths of 6500
meters. In addition, the ROV can sense temperature, depth and
conductivity of sea water. The Jason II is not a permanent resident of
the Melville. Able to be moved from ship to ship in seven 20-foot cargo
containers, Jason II and its control room have been aboard the RV
Atlantis, RV Revelle and other research vessels. Jason I,
predecessor, was used to explore the wreck of the Titanic.
For some information about who's aboard and what they are hoping to find please visit Objectives.
This expedition has been made possible by National Science Foundation grants to Dr. Robert Vrijenhoek (NSF OCE-0241613) and Dr. Cindy Van Dover (NSF OCE-0350554)