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Saturday, September 22, 2018

That Moment When...

I have been following the Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus for a bit now, ever since I arranged to have a ship to shore remote with the crew during the South Dakota Discovery Center's water festival.  It's been both exciting and enlightening to see exploration done real time.

The other night, I tuned in to the Nautilus live feed just because I do that sort of thing. (I also watch a lot of Explore.org) Currently, the Nautilus is mapping the Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument to learn more about the seamounts (or underwater mountains) and the biological communities that live on them. This is a relatively unimpacted area of the ocean as it not fished by trawlers. I wrote about my first hand experience with trawlers when I went to Seattle. The upshot: they are massive.

I enjoyed listening to the scientists' commentary as the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) sailed through the depths. I was impressed how scientists could identify corals at a glance. These weren't the reef corals I was familiar with but rather delicate looking things straight out of a Dr. Seuss illustration.

The area where they worked was not the deepest area of the ocean like the Marianas Trench  but it was deep enough, beyond the photic zone where sunlight penetrates. I freely admit I don't know much about this zone so everything was an oddity to me.

And even the scientists weren't familiar with everything as evidenced by this moment when the ROV came upon a strange critter.  I suggest watching that moment here on You Tube  so you get the full effect then read the story at National Geographic

And what a moment it was. The BBC and the Washington Post (and probably several others by now) picked it up and reported on it.

I was so impressed by that moment that I immediately went on Twitter and Facebook and announced to the world that they should start watching Nautilus. I think I inspired a few people to tune in, hopefully on a regular basis as there are still yet to come many more moments when...