10 March, 2015
21o54.0' N 93o26.11' W
1859 m Depth
There wasn't room on the ROV to carry the VTLC to the bottom directly. So last night I started the program running and secured the VTLC to the elevator. Then we got up before dawn to lower the elevator over the side. The ship lowers the elevator down to just over the bottom, then maneuvers it to a hopefully safe location and releases it to sink the last few meters to the bottom. All this happened before breakfast.
By lunch time, the ROV was near the bottom and collecting samples. Sampling operations and exploring Chapopote occupied much of the day. Finally around 5 pm we began moving toward the site where the elevator had been placed. It took a while to find it and it was a bit of a shock when it finally came into sight. The elevator had landed on just about the only piece of open ground in the middle of a huge filed of asphalt blocks. A meter or so in any direction and the elevator would have come down on the blocks and possibly have been badly damaged.
We soon retrieved the VTLC and motored off to find a gas hydrate site where it could be positioned to monitor gas flows. Found a beautiful spot with tube worms, mussels and a big wall of exposed gas hydrate. Dropped the camera off facing a bubble stream and will come back in a couple of days to learn what it has recorded.