Sunday 10th February

After 24 hours in the water, the Isis ROV returned to the deck laden with samples, which we have spent most of the day processing and archiving. The chemistry team got to grips with samples of the hot fluids from vents; the geologists pored over rocks to try to understand the formation of the Von Damm Vent Field; and the biologists sorted and preserved specimens of the deep-sea creatures that thrive around the vents.

Meanwhile out on deck in the 30 degree heat, the Isis ROV team performed a "pit stop" on the vehicle. As the last dive was the first time that we have used the manipulator arms and other hydraulic systems in earnest on this expedition, inevitably there were a few minor kinks to iron out. Nevertheless, within a few hours, during the frenzy of scientists processing samples, the ROV was ready for launch again.

Isis heads off for another dive (Photo: Adrian Glover)

Isis dive 199 went into the water at sunset, with its payload space reconfigured for collecting rocks and samples of sediment known as push-cores. On this dive, the ROV will explore the wider environs around the Von Damm Vent Field, to collect samples and data to understand its formation and history, and also provide an insight into what lives away from vent areas on the top of Mount Dent.

February 2013