Islands in the Stream Expedition
South Atlantic Bight Mission
Savannah Scarp Leg
Sept. 6-9, 2001
Aboard the R/V Seward Johnson II and Submersible Clelia

Dr. Leslie Sautter
Dept. of Geology and Environmental Geosciences
College of Charleston

Friday, 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 guy.

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


Fig. 12

Fig. 13

Fig. 14

Fig. 15


Fig. 17

Fig. 18

Fig. 19