DAY 18 – Volcanoes, tornados and butterflies

Been a funny old day again today, much like every other day I suppose.

 

The remains of a blue mackerel bait after a night on the deep abyssal plain.

The remains of a blue mackerel bait after a night on the deep abyssal plain.

There is something strange going on around here.  There are loads of bits of pumice floating around in the water following the eruption of an underwater volcano a while back.  We see that a lot round the South Pacific so it is not that strange.  We sample it for various reasons and it appears I have a natural ability to fish out pumice with a small sieve on the end of a 5 metre gaff.  Not sure I’ll put that on the CV but I am pretty darned good at it.

 

The strange thing is that there are huge yellow plumes of what look like dust swirling around in the water.  As we pass through them they often reek of sulphur.  The nearest erupting underwater volcano is 100 miles to our east yet these plumes don’t appear to be diffused in anyway and a lot of the look like they are originating from below us, so perhaps there are volcanoes or even vents beneath us.  The other strange thing occurred in the evening.  While watching the sun go down a tornado cloud formed.  Quite spectacular really.  It looks like a normal large cloud on the horizon which a unicorn-style spike emanating from it.  Apparently that it a very rare phenomenon to see.  The final strange thing to mention is the number of butterflies that have appeared on the boat.

 

If you imaging the above, coupled with a day of the calmest seas I have probably ever seen, and the hottest air temperature a Scotsman has ever been exposed to, it is all getting rather surreal.

 

So, anyway, work stuff.  We deployed all our gear to 4700m and then collapsed on deck to spend the rest of the evening basking like seals in lava lavas.

 

A wee amphipod after devouring the bait at the edge of the trench.

A wee amphipod after devouring the bait at the edge of the trench.

Alan – 22nd November

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