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Permission to dive!

Alvin lowered into the water off Atlantis, swimmers on top

Alvin’s first Woods Hole dip in nearly ten years. Jayne Doucette © WHOI

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 Alvin Expedition Leader Randy Holt. “There are things you can’t find out when the sub is dry, so it is ideal to do this while we are still in our home port.”

On the first dive, the only issue was seawater entering a connector on the imaging junction bottle on the sub. The fix: replacing an o-ring. It was a minor issue on the first submersion of a sub that was reassembled from thousands of pieces. Still, the team halted the dive, took the sub out of the water, and made the repair before continuing.

The test attracted a small crowd on the dock. “That’s because of what this sub means to people, and they haven’t seen it in the water here in Woods Hole in nearly ten years,” said Alvin Pilot and Group Manager, Bruce Strickrott. “Alvin is a machine that has the power to inspire.”

Alvin was piloted by Anthony Tarantino and crewed by engineers Rick Sanger and Isaac Vandor for the tests.