06/14/04 - Lionfish & a spiny oyster
|Lat:||33° 24.9 min N|
|Long:||77° 04.6 min W|
Last night was a wild evening with waves crashing over the bow, slapping against the starboard side, and streaming across the stern. We decided to steam to our next location in search of calmer seas and good dives. When the morning arrived the seas had calmed down, but we were surrounded by military vessels. It appeared they were doing maneuvers in the area and we did not want to send the sub down with so much traffic around. We decided to steam to a different location, but when we got there the seas had picked up again and we could not dive. So we changed plans again.
We headed north to the proposed MPA (Marine Protected Area) site and sent Andrea Quattrini and Steve Ross down for a short dive. Luckily the ocean is not very deep here, so the descent and ascent take up less of the total dive time. They returned with several samples and great video footage of a reef section which included a lionfish. This was not unusual since we have seen this invasive, non-native species in this location for the past several years.
After charging the battery, we sent the sub down for a second short dive with Art Howard and Tara Casazza from UNCW aboard. They came up just after sunset with a huge reddish-orange sea cucumber, several small fish, and a live spiny oyster. Their video included several images of squirrelfish, which is a species that tends to feed at night.
We will head north to another targeted site for tomorrow's dives.
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