We had two primary goals for today’s ROV dive. First, to deploy the benthic respiration system (BRS), then set it up to measure the oxygen consumption of some deep-sea crabs. Second, we planned to inspect a bale of “corn-stover” (like a large hay bale, except made of corn stalks) that we sank to the seafloor five years ago, to evaluate its rate of decay and effects on seafloor animals.
We started today before the crack of dawn, deploying a “benthic elevator” over the side of the Western Flyer, and allowing it to sink down 3,200 meters to the seafloor. A benthic elevator is basically a big platform used to carry gear from the surface down to the seafloor, or back from the seafloor up to the surface – sort of like an underwater pickup truck.
As expected, the wind rose last night and by 6:00 a.m., the start of our day, it was blowing between 25 and 30 knots – too windy and rough to launch ROV. The forecast was for the winds to drop through the day, so we decided to wait it out and hope for the best. It turned out that it didn’t take long.