Today we hauled and wrestled everything to the deck after a night at 4100m. Although neither trap produced a fish, we got a fantastic haul of amphipods, very large Eurythenes gryllus amongst others. The Abyssal-Lander played another good game and brought back over 1000 images. I had a moment. When we brought in the Hadal-lander I saw the lights were still on. “Eh?” I said. It should have stopped by now. I assumed than that I had really screwed this lander up and rather half heartedly took the controller back to ‘lab’ (more like a cupboard) to have a look. To my astonishment, the reason it was still on wasn’t because it was broken, it was actually because it will still going. It had a last exceeded all expectations and brought back 20 hours worth of rather spectacular video footage. A cosmic stardust moment if there was one. The footage is amazing – lots of close ups of up to 3 species of ophidiids scavenging, unbelievable numbers of natant decapods, in fact in one sequence there were 7 individuals which I have never seen before. Truly amazing. I think perhaps for the first time in a bout 3 weeks, I nearly smiled.
With these new data slotted firmly in our scientific quiver we were done with the SouthFijiBasin. This was only a reference station to connect our previous work in the Kermadec Trench to the high capacity rounds of sampling we’ll perform in the New Hebrides Trench next week. So with all the gear nicely tucked up in bed it was time to kick back. Steve kicked back a little too much by donning a sarong, or a ‘lava-lava’, or whatever they’re called – essentially a skirt. I shamelessly whopped out by Samoan shirt and spent the evening up on the bow relaxing as the sunset looking like a bunch of hobos. In two days time we will call in a New Caledonia.
Alan – 11th November