Friday, July 3, 2015

Pelagic black water dive

   Quick video from last night's pelagic black water dive. Jack's takes just six divers and tethers them to the boat for safety, suspending us over open ocean up to 7000 feet deep. We hang at about 40 feet and are able to study all of the teeny tiny creatures that make a nightly migration towards the surface to feed, mate, and whatever else teeny tiny creatures do. It's the largest migration on earth. And it feels like you're floating in outer space, because the water is so black, you're weightless, and the creatures are so unusual--many haven't been named or studied. Many are so fragile that just touching them would cause them to break apart. Fortunately, most don't have brains or central nervous systems, so we don't think they'd feel it.
   We were fortunate to be led by Sarah, a marine biologist originally from California. She gave a thorough briefing before we entered the water (the briefing was just as interesting as the dive itself!) and told us about what we might see: mostly invertebrates such as comb jellies like the Venus girdle, a chain of salps like the one shown in the video, siphonophores, heteropods a.k.a. marine snails, pyrosomes; and larval fish like ribbon fish, lantern fish, lobsters, mantis shrimp, other shrimp, octopus, and squid. 
   And, as is my habit, I got stung in the face by something almost as soon as I got in the water. Second time a jellyfish has got me on this trip (what can I say? Those Medusozoa love me!). It hurt like a mother for a few minutes and then I completely forgot about it.๐Ÿ˜œ Sooooo worth it!!!