Exploring the Realms of Madre de Dios Archipelago
The oceanographic sampling leads us to reaches of the Madre de Dios Archipelago that we have never seen before. Winding channels and fjords reveal a beautiful scenery and allow us to make a few exploratory dives of the area along with two other divers on board who are focusing on underwater videography.
After swapping out the two current meters in two different sites we began the process of photographing the long term monitoring experiments. To our surprise some of the recruitment plates we put out in March 2016 already had some life on them! Some anemones (closed up in this picture) are happy to colonize the free space.
In a Timely Manner
We establish three sites in the canal and work feverishly to drill enough holes to install our equipment with the limited number of days we have left. The time it takes to drill is the bottleneck of the operation. With the force one must exert to operate the drill and remain in place against the current we are consuming air much more rapidly than normal. We install two current meters (seen in above photo). This device measures the speed and direction of the current in the canal, which seems to be wind driven by the neighboring larger bodies of water at either end of the canal. We assume that the current is wind driven because within a one hour period it can easily change directions entirely up to three times.
Soaked But Smiling
We begin day after day of diving and underwater drilling to install our equipment. The rain beats down and the currents are some of the strongest we have ever experienced but we remain in high spirits, making the best of our time in this breathtaking place.