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September 13, 2010

Monday and Tuesday, September 13 and 14, 2010

BY: Dustin Cranor


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


In an unexpected turn of events, the generator used to power Oceana’s ROV was hit by a large rogue wave Monday afternoon near the edge of DeSoto Canyon. While the ROV technicians spent the rest of the day trying to repair the damaged system, the Oceana Latitude began to adjust course and head towards Mobile in hopes of getting replacement parts.

We took advantage of the unplanned opportunity to dive at a site identified for us by University of Georgia scientist Dr. Samantha Joye. Our hope was to make a visual inspection of the seafloor about 20 miles from Mobile Bay, where she had detected oil on the ocean floor. When the divers returned to the ship, they described the waters as “murky” (one of the kinder adjectives they used) and said the viability at best was only two feet.

The divers took a series of surface sediment samples from the muddy bottom, approximately 100 feet below the surface. These samples will now be sent off for testing. The divers also had an interesting encounter with what they think were slightly too curious silky sharks.