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sunny weather
90°F (32.2°C)
Latitude: 20 deg 09’S
Longitude: 57 deg 30’E
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

Daily Update: Arrival in Mauritius
May 1, 2001
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 ship’s 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 with joy.

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 person’s penchant for pedaling the exercise bike or for an extra helping of Mirth’s 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 ship’s 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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