Friday 22nd February
Overnight the geochemistry team completed a further survey of the smoke-like fluids dispersing from the deep vents, and during an ROV maintenance period this morning we made another rendezvous to transfer the BBC team ashore via a small boat, and bring our team members Kate, Veit and Peter back aboard.
Our part of the world, as seen from space just after dusk this evening
Isis then returned to the deep, with a new configuration of equipment intended to enable different science teams to complete their remaining objectives here. During launch the ROV attracted the attention of an oceanic whitetip shark, which followed the vehicle down to a depth of 400 metres. Beautiful to see one of the top predators of the open ocean, these days much rarer because of overfishing, and an animal so magnificently adapted to its environment.
Isis's 'tool tray', kitted out for sample collection
Working at a depth of 5 km takes the Isis ROV near her limits, and consequently she requires some additional maintenance between dives. We can adapt our science plan to collect alternative data and samples using other equipment in the meantime, and yet again the flexibility of technical and deck staff has been essential and appreciated to ensure smooth and efficient switching between activities with the ship.