Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef Expedition 2012
Mission Information

Sunday: June 3, 2012
Log Day 4

Jamie Price
Georgia Southern University

imited visibility at Gray's Reef this week is reflected in this image of diver Samantha Martin

Limited visibility at Gray's Reef this week is reflected in this image of diver Samantha Martin.
(Photo: Sarah Fangman)

Waking up the first morning aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster had me excited and ready to dive. We were two days later than expected because of tropical storm Beryl, so I was eager to get in the water and start the benthic invertebrate surveys I would be helping with. Apparently this was not meant to be, because our only dive on the first full day at sea was aborted due to extremely poor visibility. The second day provided familiar results as we went out once in the morning and once in the afternoon only to return without any new data due to continuing poor conditions. I had eaten my weight in various meals and ice cream by this point and was just ready to get in the water!

Research diver photographing quadrat

Research diver photographing quadrat
(Photo: Randy Rudd)

Finally after two days of waiting at home and two days of mostly eating and relaxing on the ship, the third full day aboard provided good results. All four of the dives attempted that day were complete and fruitful! Using rocks as hand holds to avoid the sweeping currents and fighting through the still patchy visibility, we got data for the invertebrate surveys at last! It was hard to see much else other than what was right in front of you, but being able to see anything at all was a nice change. Sandy mounds covered the ledges on the bottom, but several invertebrates poked through providing some quality figures.

Loggerhead turtle swimming at Gray's Reef

Loggerhead turtle swimming at Gray's Reef
(Photo: "Nemo" McKay)

Today was also productive with four more complete dives. The visibility has begun to improve below the surface, and identifications are becoming easier as the sediment layer all over the bottom begins to thin out. A couple loggerhead sea turtle sightings from the dive boat and a few curious fish getting in our way underwater has capped off the first four days, which were slow to start, but are quickly heating up!


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