Transcript for The Voyage of the Lee, segment 17 of 21


As they had at the beginning of the voyage, scientists plan on using their underwater videocamera. It takes nearly a day of preparation by electronic technician Jim Nicholson and scientist Mike Torrenson to fit the videocamera into a glass bubble onboard a heavy metal sledge which will be towed beneath the vessel. It is a cumbersome and dangerous piece of equipment to maneuver into place.

What we are seeing here is the soft seabed, quite close to the crater in maybe three hundred meters of water. Now we see some pumice over here, rocks, soft sediment, more rocks, and now we've got a good picture again. The camera has come down towards the bottom. Again you can see rocks and scarps but unfortunately no vents. Here we're getting very close to the bottom, got a little scarp running down to the right-hand side down over some rocks. We've got more sediment lying around. Getting down close to the rocks again. A fish, a small fish swimming across the screen in the middle. Again another fish, I think, in the middle of the screen making its way along with the camera sled. And now we're coming up again off the bottom. Still more rubble, a big cliff on the right, coral on that cliff. We're going along beside the cliff. We're getting awfully close to the cliff. I think we might have hit it then. You saw the way the screen swung, and a little bit of dust and fine sediment has come off as we hit the bottom. Now the camera is flying high again, and we've lost the picture for the moment.

What we'd hoped to find were some hydrothermal vents. What we did find was the tough, fine sediment, various organisms living in the sediment, corals living on the sediment, all these things quite interesting. We see a range from coarse material right near the crater to very fine material a long way away, and in that fine material in places there are hydrothermal iron deposits, iron oxides of various types which have come from fissures on the crater, And these fissures we saw earlier on our uniboom profiles. We could see these things on the records, and they really made it very exciting for us, and we hope very much to get in and have a look at the fissures with the camera sled.