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Into the deep sea at last

Blue skies and blue seas. Alvin mechanical engineer Fran Elder as swimmer during recovery on Dive 5080. (Photo by Hannah Piecuch ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) The last dive of the week took Alvin off the continental shelf, off the slope, and into the truly deep sea. With a 2,500-meter goal, Dive 5080 on July 8…

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From one sub to another

Two people in hard hats watching from the deck of the research vessel Atlantis as Alvin prepares to submerge. There are two divers on top of Alvin and a small boat close by.

When Alvin submerged for its second open water dive of sea trials on Thursday, July 7, it was operated by Senior Pilot Bruce Strickrott and carried two crew members who have a lot of experience with submersibles of other shapes and sizes. Randy Holt, Alvin’s new Expedition Leader, has piloted shallow-diving acrylic sphere and steel…

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Permission to dive!

Alvin lowered into the water off Atlantis, swimmers on top

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, human occupied vehicle Alvin submerged for the first time since returning to port for repairs in the fall.  This was a tethered wet test, an opportunity to make sure the sub is ready for diving at sea. “We go through all the systems and make sure they are working,” said…

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Welcome aboard, Alvin!

Alvin on a crane being loaded onto R/V Atlantis

Human Occupied Vehicle Alvin is getting ready to set sail on R/V Atlantis in July to resume work to certify the sub’s new maximum dive rating of 6,500 meters (4 miles). Watch the livestream of the vehicle loading here. We’ll keep you updated as the trip unfolds with regular blog posts and pictures.

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We interrupt this blog

It may seem uninteresting, but this is what most of the surface of the planet looks like. (Photo by Ken Kostel, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Even after nearly 30 years, the view out the sub’s porthole never gets old for chief Alvin pilot Bruce Strickrott. (Photo by Ken Kostel, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) A moment…

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HOV Alvin temporarily halts engineering test dives

After completing its 5,075th dive to a record 5338 meters (17,513 feet), post-dive visual inspection of Alvin revealed unexpected damage to several attachment points of the specialized syntactic foam used to provide buoyancy to the 43,000-pound human-occupied research submersible. As a result, further test dives have been postponed so that the sub can be thoroughly…

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Diving to Mona Canyon

From left to right, NAVSEA observer Mike Yankaskas, Alvin pilot Mike Skowronski, and Alvin Operations Coordinator Anthony Tarantino ride the sub out on the ship’s A-fram and into the water to begin Dive 5074. (Photo by Ken Kostel, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) Free of the ship, Alvin’s pilot still has a lot to do to…

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Back to Work

Rough weather at the start of our transit to Mona Canyon made for a bumpy ride, but beautiful sunsets. (Photo by Ken Kostel, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution))

New Alvin divers get an introduction to the sub before the final series of dives on sea trials. (Photo by Ken Kostel, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)) The Alvin team really gets into their work. (Photo by Ken Kostel, ©Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)) Rough weather at the start of our transit to Mona Canyon made for…

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After a successful five to 1,500 meters, Alvin begins a transit south to continue test dives closer to Puerto Rico.

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