You will tour the Baseline Explorer, a specialized marine research vessel and learn about life afloat, science at sea and all the different roles and people that go into making this kind of expedition a success.
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Welcome aboard the Baseline Explorer! We are at sea off the coast of Bermuda, exploring the deep ocean with submersibles, deep dive teams and other scientific instruments. You have arrived during the morning briefing, where Mission Director, Oliver Steeds, shares the day’s priorities. Learn more about the different roles needed to make an expedition like this happen.
Nekton, Triton and Project Baseline
‘Steaming’ is the nautical term for traveling between two places. Every day the Baseline Explorer and team would travel to a new research site to continue the exploration of the underwater world. You can see the back deck here, where much of the technical operations took place.
During the ‘steam’ there is time for planning the exact science for the day. The research was often focused on a series of seamounts around Bermuda. These submerged mountains support an array of life, but finding the best place for sampling is not a process of trial and error. Local knowledge is key.
The dive team on the expedition was made up of volunteers from the global dive community through Project Baseline. The dive team were deep dive specialists, ‘technical divers’ operating to depths down to 300 feet and staying underwater for 6 to 7 hours. Their work was vital in studying the shallower regions of the seamounts and surrounding areas.
With both submersibles diving twice a day, there was pressure on to get them into and out of the water as swiftly as possible, but also as safely as possible. The back deck is a hive of activity getting the submersibles ready to launch, followed by relative quiet. The submersibles explore the underwater world for up to five hours at a time taking samples as well as video recordings of the seafloor.
The science container is where the samples are brought after they have been collected by the submersible. There are two main types of samples. Water samples collected with the Niskin bottles and physical samples collected using a hydraulic arm. Initial analysis is conducted on board and then samples are then stored in a refrigerated container for further analysis back in the researchers’ universities.
The Nekton Mission relied heavily on digital cameras and video as part of the mission. Using digital media allows the science findings and adventure to be shared more widely. One of the aims of the expedition was to engage the wider public and students in the wonder of the underwater world and this is where the team made that happen.