Sept. 7 - 2200 hrs
What a long, exciting, interesting, busy, and fun day it was! The
Clelia made two successful dives to The Sandwich and The Deli reefs
within the Savannah Scarp region (Fig. 11 ). George and Jack dove
in the morning (Fig. 12) and Greg McFall (Savannah State University)
and Dr. Matt GilliganGreg McFall (Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary)
were on the afternoon dive (Fig. 13). Many fish were seen, identified
and counted today. I'm trying to learn them, but it's not easy for
this geologist. On both dives the submersible plucked a great invertebrate-covered
rock for me (Fig. 14). We named the rocks "Hoagie" (Fig.
15) and "V.J.'s Grinder" (in honor of Dr. V. Jim Henry
at Skidaway who did the only geologic work here I know of). The
diversity of these rock-based microcosms is astounding.
This is such a different type of research cruise experience for
me. There's plenty of science going on, but it truly IS exploration,
because we simply don't know what we'll see or find. When the ship
reaches a proposed dive site, we first zig-zag over it, taking fathometer
readings (Fig. 16) to determine the changing water depths and identify
possible rocky outcrop/reef locations to visit in the sub. But no
one has ever been where we're going (or where we went today). These
sites are new frontiers.
I saw and experienced more marine wonders today; including a pod
of spotted dolphins that swam and played off our port side as the
sun set (Fig. 17). We found a small brown finch-like bird that appeared
to be quite seasick. Small birds often get blown offshore where
too often they tire, fall and drown. Some find ships to rest their
weary little bones. He perched on the fan tail deck's rail (Fig.
18). I slowly approached him, my hand extended. His little eyes
rolled in their sockets as the ship swayed. After 15 minutes he
stepped into my outstretched palm and clung to my finger. He instantly
felt better and washed himself and ruffled his feathers. He stepped
down after a while, and soon hopped away and we did not see him
again. Sadly, most birds can't survive the seasickness. Poor little
The crew has been fishing and the bosun, Dave, caught a king mackerel
and wahoo, which we ate for dinner. Tonight he caught a 60 lbs.
yellow fin tuna, which he immediately cut up for tomorrow's dinner,
except for the select pieces he chose for incredible sashimi to
satisfy our palates (Fig. 19)! He prepared it with the talent of
a Japanese sushi chef and the presentation suitable for a 5-star
restaurant. Amazing. This crew is so nice and accommodating of us
- quite unusual for a ship's crew that has to deal with a bunch
of scientists all the time. I can't believe how well we eat. We're
being spoiled rotten!
on to Saturday