Deepwater Horizon Indcident Response Cruise (NSF RAPID)
5 - 15 Dec 2010
R/V Atlantis, HOV Alvin, AUV Sentry
WHOI Dive and Discover

We returned to the Gulf on the RV Atlantis with the submersible Alvin from Dec 5th to 15th to continue our investigation of the deepwater impact of the Gulf oil spill. Although the weather was a bit rough at times, we still made 5 Alvin dives and a series of AUV Sentry dives at a number of different sites that were only 5-10 miles away from the Deepwater Horizon site. Erik got his first close up look at the oil impacted coral site at MC338, and Andrea got her first ever Alvin dive! We made some very careful collections of samples and imagery over the impacted site and got to explore a lot more of the area both right around the coral site with Alvin and a number of other sites with Sentry. The samples and images we collected will go a long way to determining the extent of the damage from the spill on the deep-sea gorgonians at this site. This was the last cruise for this version of Alvin, as the sub heads back to Woods Hole for an extensive overhaul, inclulding a new sphere that will be rated to 6500 m. We anxiously await the chance to use the new Alvin for the first time in 2012!