January 17, 2012

The last research dive on the research vessel Point Lobos

On December 1, 2011, MBARI’s workhorse research vessel, the Point Lobos, carried out its last scheduled ROV dive. The midwater dive took place despite challenging sea conditions. As usual, the crew of the Point Lobos and the ROV pilots carried it off flawlessly. Here are some photos from that historic day.

With First Mate Greg Maudlin at the helm, the Point Lobos headed out to sea at dawn, something the boat has done on an almost daily basis since 1988. This photo, taken later that morning, shows how the boat was rolling with the swells. Photo: Amy West © 2011 MBARI

While the crew and pilots tried to decide if the weather was good enough for an ROV dive, the scientists onboard watched a huge pod of dolphins that gathered right next to the ship. Photo: Amy West © 2011 MBARI

Mark Aiello, chief engineer on the Point Lobos, discusses launch techniques with Chris Grech, deputy director of marine operations, who went along to help with the last dive. Photo: Amy West © 2011 MBARI

Marine biologist Bruce Robison studies video from ROV Ventana in the ROV control room of the Point Lobos during the boat’s last research cruise. Photo: Amy West © 2011 MBARI.

Mark Aiello operates the launch-and-recovery crane as the ROV Ventana comes back on the deck of the Point Lobos for the last time. Photo: Amy West © 2011 MBARI

The rough weather didn’t stop the crew of the Point Lobos from completing a full day’s ROV dive. But by the time it was over, they were ready to head home. Photo: Todd Walsh © 2011 MBARI

After yet another long day at sea, the Point Lobos returned to Moss Landing Harbor at sunset. Photo: Kim Fulton-Bennett © 2011 MBARI

As the Point Lobos approached its dock, the crew stood by the rail, ready to hand lines. Photo: Todd Walsh © 2011 MBARI

MBARI employees crowded onto the dock to welcome the crew and the boat and to celebrate their achievements. Photo: Kim Fulton-Bennett © 2011 MBARI

The crew of the Point Lobos, the ROV pilots, and the science crew for the last dive posed for a group photo before disembarking. From left to right, the people in the photo are Perry Shoemake, Amy West, Chris Grech, Mike Burczynski, Greg Maudlin, Kim Reisenbichler, DJ Osborne, Mark Aiello, Rob Sherlock, Bruce Robison, Shawn Swing, and Henk-Jan Hoving. Photo: © 2011 MBARI

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
831-775-1835, kfb@mbari.org