Thursday 21st February

I can now reveal the identity of the visitors who came aboard at our rendezvous earlier this week: David Shukman, Science Editor of BBC News, and his colleagues Kate and Matt. Since coming aboard on Tuesday, David's team have been recording material for TV and radio news being broadcast today, some of which is available online here and here. Their work culminated in live links from the RRS James Cook to the BBC Six O'Clock and Ten O'Clock News.

It has been fascinating to watch David's team at work, and it has honestly been a pleasure helping them to get the material that they need for their reports. The response that their reporting has generated, via emails and our #deepestvents hashtag on Twitter, has been superb. At one point, traffic to an article about our work crashed the website of our funding agency. I am hugely encouraged by the enthusiasm that people have expressed for deep-sea research, and I hope that we can share our journeys to the ocean floor even more widely in the future.

Marine life around the Beebe vents, now 'as seen on TV'

Many thanks are owed to all those who enabled this link to take place, ranging from colleagues back in the UK who set up the original contact and waded through the inevitable risk assessments and insurance issues, to the patience of the Master of the RRS James Cook in dealing with a very fluid situation to get the BBC team aboard. Mark, our resident IT wizard, did an outstanding job with the communication links required. I am also grateful to our colleagues Kate, Veit and Peter who agreed to transfer ashore during the visit of the BBC team, to make space for them aboard.

On a personal note, it was a particular pleasure to broadcast live images of deep-sea vents named after William Beebe in the link to the BBC Ten O'Clock News. Beebe himself broadcast live on the radio from one of his pioneering bathysphere dives in 1932, describing the deep-sea world that he was the first person ever to see. His words were heard by listeners on NBC in the US, and also across the Atlantic on the BBC. We are, as ever, following in his wake, eight decades later.

During all the media excitement, our latest dive mapping the geology of the deepest known vents continued, watch by watch in the ROV control centre.

February 2013