Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Brewer Expedition
August 10 - August 17, 2006

Brewer Expedition
Rough Seas at Barkley Canyon

While uncooperative weather has prevented the past two scheduled AUV dives at night, today was first day in which the rough seas also prevented the Brewer group from conducting an ROV dive. Although these conditions were disappointing, considering the tremendous success witnessed yesterday, the extra time today provided a good opportunity for the team to regroup and recuperate from the long days of experimentation preceding it. Over the next few days, should the sea conditions improve, we hope to use a time-lapse camera deployed on an underwater elevator frame in order to monitor the dissolution rates of cored hydrate samples. In addition, we would like to attempt to immerse the hydrate in a liquid CO 2 bath and use the Raman laser to determine if the CO 2 gas will replace the methane in the hydrate cages, as has been noted in prior laboratory experiments.

Meanwhile, our ship has become an attraction to a variety of oceanic fauna, ranging from a flock of albatrosses to a large sperm whale. The latter first appeared this morning, and has been returning to the surface regularly every half-hour for air. It is speculated that the vibrations and shadow created by the vessel has attracted the whale’s food source, possibly the Humboldt squid we have observed on ROV dives to the canyon.

Some of the albatrosses that have taken a liking to the Western Flyer.

The sperm whale’s back.


The sperm whale’s tail.


Let’s hope for better weather tomorrow so we can continue our experiments.


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