Hello, I’m Michael, I’ll be the Deep Sea News “field correspondent” for the Finding Coral Expedition with Living Ocean Society. We launch on World’s Ocean Day, June 8th. I’ll be sending occasional reports from the ship RV Cape Flattery.
The “Finding Coral” expedition will be an exciting cruise to reveal abundance and distribution of corals off the coast of British Columbia. The corals there are constantly exposed to threats of harmful fishing gear like bottom trawling. Thus, the Living Ocean Society conceived of this expedition in order to gather information about the ecological importance of these corals and the human impact on these reefs. In order to involve local fisheries to help develop sustainable fisheries, the Canadian Department for Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is represented as well.
For the underwater observations we will use two little one man submersibles called “Deep Worker 2000”. The submersibles are equipped with high definition cameras to record our observations, a manipulator arm and a basket to collect samples. Myself and the five other pilots went to the Nuytco Research facility in early May in order to make the submersible “driving license”.
Driving the submersible makes you feel like Luke Skywalker in a “Tie-Fighter”. The sub is navigated by the pilot’s feet: the left one is for descending and ascending, the right one for going forwards and backwards. Both pedals can also rotate to the left and right for sideways movement. We will need our hands to operate the camera, the manipulator arm, the sonar and the board computer. During the cruise we will go down to about 400 meters. Each dive will last about four hours- enough time to collect lots of footage of each diving spot.
You can follow the cruise on the expedition’s website that will be updated every day: www.findingcoral.com.