We've been busy in the water with three excursions a day. In the morning we set up the plankton traps (seen above) to collect plankton from three different substrates. We then usually spend the rest of the morning collecting sponge species for the Ocean Genome Legacy Center at Northeastern University.
Northeastern divers start showing up at mid-morning, so sometimes we see them hard at work on the reef while we are inside getting ready for our next dive:
We come back in for lunch and a warm up around 2:00pm. This gives us a few hours to "bank" more time in the water. We are able to go back out in the evening for up to three hours if we have a dry period of four hours. I really like to be able to stay out for three hours in the evening, it lets us accomplish so much while we are out.
During the night dive we've been setting up the plankton traps to collect the plankton that swims up into the water column over night. We have also spent hours with the Edgertronic. Last night Ryan and I got some incredible shots with the Edgertronic. We finally have the camera dialed in, so that we we can spend more time shooting and less time setting up each shot.
After our evening dive we can shower and dry off for the night, eat dinner, and make the plan for the day. This is also a chance for us to relax. Last night Matt gave us a gift from his wife Carrie. I am so excited about this National Geographic magazine, it has page after page detailing the Con Shelf II project that inspired Mission 31. What a keepsake!