The Okeanos in the Gulf

For some unexplainable reason, I've always been drawn to the ocean. I say unexplainable because, unlike some people, I'm not even remotely close to the ocean and have only seen it once, or rather a small part of it. Maybe it's the remarkable colors of the coral reefs, or the amazing creatures similar but still incredibly different to what we encounter on land. Or maybe it's the fact that it is such a large part of our world that still remains greatly unexplored! Let's just say all of the above and more.

Last year, I discovered NOAA's live footage of their exploration in the North Atlantic Ocean from their research vessel Okeanos and my family and I were hooked. Everyday that followed our TV/computer was on and the sound was up so that we didn't miss a thing. When they were finished for the season we found the Nautilus, another vessel exploring another part of the ocean, and followed them until they were finished for their season. It was a sad day for us when all was finished, and the thought of waiting until the next season was depressing.

But time flies quickly and once again the Okeanos is back exploring the ocean! This time they are in the Gulf of Mexico. Already well into the expedition, Legs 1 and 2 were spent mapping specific areas of the Gulf during February, March and the beginning of April. This last leg of their voyage will begin what I consider the most interesting, if only because I, from my home, can visibly experience it. With the help of their still new ROV (remotely operate vehicle) Deep Discoverer, or D2, and it's camera sled Seirios, the team plans to observe cold seeps, deep coral communities, undersea canyons, shipwrecks, and hopefully, mud volcanos and brine pools.

Due to my schedule I missed dives 1 and 2 but was present to watch dive 3. I did see though that they had found a brine pool on the very first dive. I hope to read more on it and share my thoughts later on. Just like last year, I plan to keep up with them and the exciting findings here on my blog. (To see posts from last years expedition, click this link.) I hope you will return to read my posts. And in case you'd like to watch the Okeanos live, here's the link. I definitely recommend it!

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