Daily Update: Arrival in Mauritius
20 deg 09S
Longitude: 57 deg 30E
Wind Direction: E
Wind Speed: 6 Knots
Sea State 0
Swell(s) Height: 0 Foot
Sea Temperature: 81 °F (27.2°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1016.8 MB
Visibility: 18+ Nautical Miles
By Amy Nevala
Five years ago, a group of scientists decided to do what few others
have done before - travel to the Indian Ocean, peer far beneath
the waves to the seafloor and see what they could see. And
so they gathered, with ships crew, technicians, graduate
students, journalists, cooks and a medic, and steamed to
the middle of a tropical sea.
And we worked. Hard. Every day
for a month, we rose with the sun and collapsed with the
moon. Most days we worked under the stars.
This morning we got up, like we have for the last
31 days, but something is different. More than 2,000 nautical miles
later, we are back where we began, in Mauritius. We can see
it in the distance, the lights and green trees foreign to
our eyes, so accustomed to blue seas. After we clear customs
in a few hours, our feet will touch land and we will yodel
We will walk around with silly smiles on our faces
as we adjust our strong sea legs to solid ground.
We look in the mirror today and see that we are different
because of this experience. Our hair is longer. Our skin tanned.
Our bodies thinner - or maybe not, depending on each persons penchant for pedaling the exercise bike or for an extra
helping of Mirths pie.
We look closer and see that we are different in other
ways too. Though our brains beg for a break, our bodies ache for
a vacation and our minds long for our families, we look around
and call 57 acquaintances our new friends. Tonight we will gather
as a group for the last time at a beach hotel in Mauritius for
a celebration party. We will discuss the future with eager anticipation,
because questions remain. What more can we learn about this undersea
world? What else is out there? How can we find it?
This week, the scientists will return to their labs.
They will unpack vials, rocks and tissue samples, continue to analyze
them, and in the next year they will publish their results in papers,
present them at conferences, talk about them in lectures all over
the world. In doing this they will add another brick to the foundation
of knowledge about deep-sea hydrothermal vents.
The DSOG Team will finish packing the deep submergence
vehicles in Mauritius, have a month-long break then regroup in
Seattle for an expedition on the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the coast
of Washington State. ROV Jason will meet them there.
The ships crew will stay just a day in Mauritius
before they travel to the Seychelles, then on to an expedition
in the Black Sea, followed by a research cruise in the Caribbean.
A new school year will be starting in New England when Knorr returns
to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in early September.
Other expeditions will come to the Indian Ocean.
Already British scientists have arrived on the Central Indian Ridge
for seafloor mapping and hydrothermal plume exploration. We bid
them calm seas, laughter and learning. We hope they have amazing
discoveries, like the ones we enjoyed. We wish them the best.
This expedition has been exceptionally successful
and productive thanks to all the hard work by every crew member, DSOG team
member and scientist on board RV Knorr, and the shore based support
staff at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who helped make this expedition
possible. We thank them for their dedication, effort and good spirit during
this field program.
From the Dive and Discover Team
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