Monday, October 24, 2011

SEJ Dive Trip Extraordinaire

Me and my friend Cheryl Reifsnyder on the dive boat, getting ready for a day at sea!
We were joined on the bus ride over by Dr. Jane Lubchenco (NOAA Administrator), who I asked a few questions for my story I'm doing on the Aquarius Reefbase - the undersea laboratory we dived to. As I mentioned in my previous post, she was supposed to dive with us but she had a bad back or something. I don't know if that relates to not passing the NOAA dive test, or if that was erroneous info we were fed (perhaps the dive test is a physical - I have no clue). At any rate, she had blue tonenails. Just an interesting little tidbit. Blue for the ocean I guess! Or perhaps the sky. All photos Copyright (c) 2011 Wendee Holtcamp
Tom Potts, Interim Director of the Aquarius Reefbase Undersea Lab (through UNCW), Alexa Elliot of PBS, and Dr. Billy Causey, head of the SE Regional Director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program of NOAA.
Dr. Andrew Baker of University of Miami (don't you love his "skin"? he said he gets lots of compliments on it! LOL!) and Lad Adkins of REEF. Lad does a lot of studies on invasive lionfish.
While diving at the Aquarius, Lad collected two lionfish. They come from the Indo-Pacific and have started to spread like mad. There are lionfish derbies to catch and eat them to try to reduce their impact. Lad collects them for scientific research. He will dissect them and determine what they are eating. Verdict so far - anything they can get in their mouths. Not so good for the coral reefs, that are already threatened by so many things!
Lad holding up the larger lionfish.
Beautiful fish, but let's keep them in the Indo-Pacific! Their spines hurt if you get poked!
Lad holding the bag of lionfish.
This is the boat holding the astronauts, who were about to deploy. They do training for space missions undersea because it simulates weightlessness of space. The guy in the yellow suit is Steve Squyres, a Cornell astrophysicist who manages the Mars Rover program. The woman in the background is NASA Astronaut Shannon Walker.
In this close view you can see Japanese astronaut Takayu Onishi sitting down on the left.
I'm actually not sure what this is, but the lab is not directly underneath but a slight distance away and obviously undersea.

That's all for now - my friend just arrived and I gotta go!

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