National Seafloor Mapping and Benthic Habitat Studies
1999 Sustainable Seas Submersible Diving and Sidescan
Channel Island dives in 1999 were conducted from May 25 to June 5. Nineteen dives were completed including 5 ocean checkout dives, one for each of the diver trainees. The remainder were either science dives for the Channel Islands Sanctuary Research Projects (including this USGS Project) or dives for the Sustainable Seas Expedition divers (including Sylvia Earle).
- A typical dive was preceded by a rigourous inspection and checklist organized preparation of the submersible (See photo).
- Once the sub was prepped there was often an interlude to spend discussing the dive plan, or the weather, or what was on the menu... (See photo) before deployment.
- On several days a contingent of VIP's were brought aboard, increasing the number of spectators significantly (See photo).
- A large A-frame on the stern of the NOAA R/V MacArthur was used to swing the sub off the fantail and lower it into the water (See photo).
- Once in the water a diver removed the variety of ropes used to lift and stabilize the sub. The final attachment was a tow rope, used also to pull the sub into recovery position at the end of the dive (See photo).
- Dives were approximately 2 hours in length and there were typically 2 dives a day. USGS dives concentrated on visual inspection of areas previously surveyed with sidescan. At night, Mike Boyle collected additional sidescan data further revealing the beautifully complex benthic habitat that exists around the Channel Islands (See photo). In all it was an extremely successful event.