Wide Eye Productions just wrapped up a shoot in the South Pacific on board an oceanographic research vessel. The shoot documented a study of the Samoan Passage, a deep underwater canyon and “choke point” in the Pacific Ocean. University of Washington Oceanographer Matthew Alford contributed this report about the voyage. You can read more of his Samoan Passage blog, here.
After days of seafloor mapping, we are finally lowering the instrument package as I write into the deepest part of the Passage. This is an important moment in our cruise since while velocity has been measured “upstream” of the main passage, it has never been measured in the narrow parts, where the constriction should accelerate the flow like a nozzle on a hose. We expect strong, turbulent flows. We are excited!
The instrument package consists of two large underwater battery packs called Sea Batteries, connected to downward looking and upward looking ADCP’s. These measure the velocity, as described before, and are a standard technique these days. The new part of our system is that we send the data from one of the ADCP’s back up the wire to the ship – as opposed to the old way where the data had to be offloaded after each cast. Since the casts take many hours and we often do many casts without bringing the instruments on board, this is a big advantage.
Finally, the system has version 2 of Crush Cam, which features a new light system and better attachments. We’re filming another styrofoam cup going all the way to the sea floor – 5000 m this time instead of 500 m for the first cast a couple of days ago. Oh, and very important – about 8 gummy bears are on their way down as well. Will it crush?
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