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  Field Notes From
Dawn in the Deep



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On Assignment
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From Author

Richard A. Lutz



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From Photographer

Emory Kristof



In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Emory Kristof


 

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Dawn in the Deep

Field Notes From Author
Richard A. Lutz
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We modified Alvin drastically to accommodate the 4,400 watts of lights. Had to add to booms on the sides and extended the starboard. We lit the bottom of the ocean as it's never been lit before. This is an environment I'm familiar with, but it was marvelous to go back and see it as if for the first time. Anyone who sits in an IMAX theater to see this footage will see the bottom of the ocean far better than any of us looking through a sub's window. That's a thrilling prospect.



I had an operation two months before going on this cruise. Halfway through the trip, I couldn't pee. It's a normal expectation following this kind of surgery, but there is no worse feeling than being five days away from civilization and finding that you're unable to pee. I was immediately on the phone with my surgeon, who talked me through a process to get me going again.
I didn't want to compromise the expedition, so I didn't let the captain know what was going on until the end of the last dive. "Let me describe a little problem I'm having," I told him. I never saw a ship move so fast to get back to Bermuda!



Tremendous plumes of black smoke, which are precipitating minerals, spew from the hydrothermal vents. The water temperature gets up to 700°F (350°C). But Alvin's plexiglass windows will melt at 212°F (100°C). We literally had to fly Alvin into these superhot plumes. You can imagine the hairy nature of doing that when all you've got are windows between you and the ocean.





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