Situation Report - 22 Aug 2012
Last night, the engineering team encountered several problems with Hercules during the pre-dive check, most notably an issue with the thruster controls. They worked through the night, found that there was a problem with the joystick, and replaced it. Dive H1245 commenced at 0800 local time.
Upon arrival on the seafloor, we observed a pair of mating squid. It is possible that this is the first observance of mating for this species. We then collected stereo imagery of an area with a very high density of seafloor gouges, which are hypothesized to be caused by foraging beaked whales. The presence of the mating squid in the vicinity of the gouges may give us a clue as to why the whales are feeding here, as they are known to eat cephalopods (squid, octopodia, etc.).
After mapping the gouges, we continued south to an Ottoman shipwreck that was discovered by Nautilus in 2010 to collect stereo imagery for a high-resolution map. We then proceeded to continue our north-south visual survey of the eastern side of Eratosthenes Seamount, which is currently underway.
During the visual survey, Brennan Phillips trained navigator and astronaut Cady Coleman on Argus, while Rachel Gaines took the Hercules seat. This left a void in navigation, so Katy Croff Bell filled in - completing the first all-female pilot/navigation team on Nautilus!
We will continue the visual transect until tomorrow morning, when we expect to end in the southeast corner of Eratosthenes Seamount. We plan to collect biological samples on the cold seeps, and then recover. After some vehicle maintenance, we will be back in the water tomorrow afternoon or evening.