10/20/05 - Reneé's first dive
Tim Birdsong from NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration had the first dive this morning with Cheryl Morrison. They visited an area that was similar to some places we have visited already, but this new site had a greater diversity of soft corals and anemones. Some areas were carpeted in orange anemones. Cheryl saw her first wreckfish. These large dark-brown fish can get up to 7 feet long and about 100 pounds. They are frequently found near rocky outcrops or wrecks—hence their name. Cheryl also saw another large ray. We still aren't certain if it is a manta ray or a devil ray. Tim had a great dive in the stern and emerged from the hatch with a big smile on his face. We know he was also glad to stretch out his 6′ 4″ frame.
Crawling into the stern during the afternoon dive was much easier for Reneé Green with her 5′ 4″ frame. She was so excited for her dive she got up at noon, which is early for someone who works the night shift! On this dive, Styrofoam cups decorated by Reneé’s students were attached to the stern of the sub. As the sub went deeper into the ocean, the cups gradually shrank to about a third of their original size. (See before and after examples of Styrofoam cups.) From the look of things, Reneé had a great time!
We are begining to make plans for Wilma. We should work through Saturday and then head to port—ideally Charleston, South Carolina where MT Palmer and Doni Angell will switch places with Liz and Reneé on Tuesday, October 25. Other port options include Savannah, Georgia, Wilmington, North Carolina, Morehead City, North Carolina, or Jacksonville, Florida.
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