Archive for October, 2011

Hydro International – 

Surveyors from the Russian survey company PeterGaz using the Oceanscience UnderwaySV profiler, operated by a RapidSV free fall sound velocity probe.

The maximum profile depth achieved was 1,730m, and the cast was completed in about 35 minutes from start to finish !

This result broke the Oceanscience profiling depth record, previously standing at 1,563m, held by NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center. Normally, a Hugin AUV deployed from the offshore support vessel GSP Prince surveyed the 500 nautical mile route, with about 50% of the pipeline to be laid in water as deep as 2,000m.

By deploying the RapidSV profiler from a stationary vessel, deep sound speed profiles can be collected faster than using conventional methods based around a hydrographic winch CTD or sound velocity instrument.

The Valeport RapidSV probe free falls at over 5m/s reaching 1,000m depth in 3 to 4 minutes.

Full story…

Marianne White – 

Scuba divers who refused to leave a Quebec dock during a labour dispute had their air compressors shut off while they were underwater, a hearing was told Thursday.

The hearings into a controversial bill to overhaul job placement in the Quebec construction industry wrapped up Thursday the way they started — with allegations of intimidation on work sites.

A small union rival of the province’s largest union, the Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL), reported the lives of some of its members were put in danger this week when people showed up at the Trois-Rivieres, Que., dock Monday to close the work site as part of a wave of wildcat strikes to protest against the government bill.

The men argued with the scuba divers who refused to leave and retaliated by shutting down the air compressors of other divers who were underwater, the hearing was told.

“This is totally disgusting,” Patrick Daigneault, president of the CSD-Construction told members of the legislature studying Bill 33.

The bill would see unions lose power over who may work on construction sites in the province. The two major construction unions — QFL and the Conseil provincial du Quebec des metiers de la construction, known as l’International — are adamantly opposed to the changes.

Full story…

Denise Chow – 

A team of astronauts and scientists who are living and working on the ocean floor as part of a simulated trip to an asteroid are nearing the halfway mark of their 13-day mission.

Six “aquanauts” are experimenting with different ways to anchor to an asteroid, explore its surface, and perform science on the space rock.

The mission is the 15th expedition of NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, and the first to simulate aspects of a manned mission to an asteroid. The crewmembers splashed down on Oct. 20 and are now living at the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory, which sits 60 feet (18 meters) below the Atlantic Ocean, about 3 1/2 miles off the shore of Key Largo, Fla.

NASA uses the facility, which is owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to approximate the weightless conditions in space and on an asteroid.

“We have just brought in our first two aquanauts from their excursion testing new ways to do science on an asteroid,” NEEMO 15 commander Shannon Walker said in a video update on the crew’s second day underwater.

“They spent about three hours this morning outside in the water looking at different techniques to try and collect rock samples.”

Full story…

The Jakarta Post – 

A fishing boat off Japan netted a bag packed with 11 million yen ($145,000) in cash off the tsunami-ravaged northeastern coast, an official said Saturday. The cash-laden catch was probably swept away from its still-unknown owner in the tsunami seven months ago.

A trawler pulled the bag with more than 1,000 notes worth 10,000-yen ($130) from the bottom of the sea on Oct. 8 off the coast of the Ofunato city in Iwate Prefecture (state), city official Kou Ueno said .

“We think it is related to the disaster as no one is going to throw this kind of thing away on purpose,” Ueno said in a telephone interview.

He added that other safes and envelopes filled with cash have been turning up in droves since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake devastated this nation’s coastal area, setting off a giant tsunami that left about 20,000 people dead or missing.

The nation has won praise for goodwill and honesty for reporting the found cash.

In the latest case, if no one claims the cash over the next six months, the money will go to the finders, although a legal ruling may be necessary to determine whether the captain of the ship, the crew or the ship’s owner is the true finder, Ueno said.

There was no clear way to identify the original owner, and so some information about the bag and its contents are being kept secret to allow the city to determine whether anyone who comes forward is the rightful owner, he added

BBC News –

Scuba divers on an archaeological survey off the Isles of Scilly have recovered cash believed to have been stolen from a church collection box.

The theft happened on Bryher in August, when money was also stolen from the island’s charity collection boxes.

PC Matt Collier, who works for Devon and Cornwall Police on the islands, said the thefts had “sent shockwaves” through the local community.

Soaked bank notes and coins were in a tennis bag in just 3m (9ft) of water.

About £1,000 was stolen from Bryher, but only about £200 has been recovered.

PC Collier said police were contacted by Dave McBride, one of a team carrying out an archaeological dive in the Tresco Channel from the dive boat Tiburon. 

The money was found in a “distinctive” Slazenger tennis bag – along with several dead crabs and bottles of alcohol.

Anyone who recognises the tennis bag or has information which could help with the investigation is asked to contact police.

Jeff Burnside and Brian Hamacher – 

Two legendary sea explorers are in South Florida this week to help promote a project that gives people a glimpse at an ocean they’ve likely never seen.

Seakeepers, a group of global yacht owners based in Miami, recruits owners of yachts to install sensors or bring aboard scientists to deploy devices along their routes across the globe.

Sylvia Earle, the world’s leading female ocean explorer, and Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, are supporting the project at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, which runs through Monday.

The inexpensive devices capture data and video from some of the deepest places ever seen, as much as seven miles below the ocean surface.

“It is pretty amazing. The idea of the technology allows us to come on the epicenter, if you will, right over the top of the ship,” said deepsea engineer Kevin Hardy. “And right below is areas of the ocean that we’ve never been to before.”

The project is bringing back exciting video, but there’s still so much left to explore, Earle said.

Full story…

Jamie Becker – 

There are countless stories in every drop of seawater. But with a cast of millions and more plotlines than a daytime soap opera, the stories can be a bit difficult to follow.

The stories, of course, depend on which particular drop you’re watching and what time you tune in, but in the sunlit waters of our ocean’s surface, about a million microscopic organisms are living their lives in every single drop.

They take in what they need to live, spit out what they don’t, reproduce, and die. They may get eaten, starve to death, or become infected by viruses and explode all over the place. Some battle each other for resources, while others work together and depend on each other.

Drops of seawater may be lacking in romance and gunfights, but they house a wealth of ongoing dramatic tales of microscopic life and survival.

A drop is quite small, and microorganisms are even smaller. Their invisible complex micro-stories might seem inconsequential. So why would anyone bother watching them ?

Three-quarters of our planet is covered with a layer of seawater that is more than two miles deep on average. That volume adds up to somewhere around a trillion trillion drops (or a septillion, if you prefer) and about 100,000 times as many microbes.

This hard-to-fathom abundance means that the lives of these small organisms have large-scale consequences for our planet. They play vital roles that help determine the productivity of marine fisheries and the amount of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Full story…