Diving "Cinder Cones" 27AUG:
Our first dive site is located at an area called
'Cinder Cones' because of 3 large lava tubes that form a small point (also
called Knob Point). The bottom here is loose lava scree the size of walnuts,
and has a steep slope of about 30 deg. Here are some photo's taken by Donal
Manahan during one of the dives.
|A hole was drilled through the ice with a 52" hydraulic auger. A small hut was positioned over the hole to protect us from the wind and cold while diving. Here we have just arrived at the hut to dive and I am wearing a full-body 'bunny' suit. At least it is warm...|
|I am diving with the Diving Safety Officer, Rob Robbins, and here we take a quick run outside to check the safety hole. The track vehicle is a 'Spryte' that we leave running all the time to ensure that we won't be stuck out there.|
|Rob and I are suited up and discuss the dive plan before jumping into the hole.|
|Yes, it is cold; particularly on your face which is exposed to the water. The first few minutes of the dive are uncomfortable because it feels like a 5-mega-ton nuclear ice-cream-cone headache is pulling your face off. But once your lips go numb it's just fine... sort of...|
|Going down the ice hole is a bit disorienting. The
'tube' through the ice is 6 feet long, the sides are smooth and featureless,
and the bubbles from the reg completely obscure your vision. So you are
slowly descending through this tube until all of a sudden you pass through
the bottom into the water column and you can see for >800 ft in any direction.
Soon I will have underwater photographs available.
|Here's one of 3 large starfish we collected from the cinder cones area. This individual is most likely Macroptychaster accrescens which can be quite large. Although our primary interest is working with the starfish Odontaster validus , we hope to gather information about all the starfish we can.|