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  Field Notes From
Deep Sea Vents

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From Author

Richard A. Lutz

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From Photographer

Emory Kristof

Unfiltered for authenticity, these accounts have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Into the Deep

Field Notes From Author
Richard A. Lutz
The thrill of seeing the vents like they’ve never been seen before on a 100-by-80-foot (30-by-24-meter) screen dwarfs any experiences that I can think of in the last 20 years of exploring the vents. It’s the first time that anyone has been able to see them this way because it is the first time anyone has used these camera systems. That helps us gain insights into this ecosystem that we didn’t have before. My mother went into the hospital for surgery a few days before I left for the expedition. I stopped by to see her, and she seemed to be getting better. Then, the day before I left, I got a call that she had died.

I was completely thrown off balance but, as chief scientist onboard, I had to be tough and deal with it for the sake of the crew.
As it turned out, we did have some hairy moments out there. At the end of the last IMAX dive, a team was trying to recover the submersible in winds blowing up to 40 knots. The normal wind limit for recovering the sub is about 25 knots, so this was a tremendous wind. The sea was getting extremely rough, and the small recovery boat was being tossed around a lot. It took a good 45 minutes to get the sub.

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