27 November, 2001
Dr. Alexander and Phil Forte went to the ice cliff dive hole to collect specimens. Dr. Bowser tended the divers. Although the dive hole was in Explorers Cove, it was far enough away to require us to take ski-doos to the area. The dive gear is too heavy to carry that distance. The divers dressed in most of their gear while they were in the dive hut. When we got to the dive site, Phil chipped the round cover off the dive hole. It was frozen in the hole. Ice had to be scooped from the surface of the water before the divers could enter the water. The guide rope was anchored into the ice before it was lowered down the dive hole. A basket with sediment bottles, an emergency air supply, and flashing lights were attached to the rope. Dr. Bowser helped the divers into their gear and rechecked their regulators and tanks. The divers planned to generate bubbles within 40 minutes of their descent and to be back on the surface within 50 minutes; if the divers had not surfaced within 65 minutes, then McMurdo would be notified for help. As always, the divers returned exactly within the scheduled time. As they were surfacing, I could stand on the ridge above the underwater ice cliffs to hear their air bubbles. Dr. Alexander had taken his underwater camera gear on the dive, but the conditions tonight were not conducive for photos. It was darker, with fewer things to see, than it had been two weeks before. The black sediment that was brought to the surface had a strong sulfur smell. Dr. Bowser cut sections from the core to take back to the lab. Dr. Korsun sifted and prepared the sediment for further study.
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