Here we are, ready to start the coraline expedition: this diving project will keep us busy for two months. On board, Jochen Halfar, German scientist expert on coraline algae and leader of the project, Pia and Dirk, film director and cameraman making a documentary for Arte TV, joined our crew.
First dive on a small island near Aasiaat. Jochen has defined about fifty diving sites carefully located thanks to his knowledge about the algae habitat. Our new surface supply system is ready for a trial, it is a backup solution in case of a breakdown of the air compressor. Eric and Yves, each of them at the end of a hose, can explore the sea floor with air for as long as they want. A success! Beautiful collection of stratified pink domes using hammers and scissors. "As much as I could collect during my entire last cruise in Spitsbergen in June" tells Jochen.
Yves and Eric are warm in their dry suits: water temperature is at +7°C! Using the same equipment, they are use to dive in winter under the ice in -2°C water...
The seabed is covered with pink. There is coraline algae, also huge star fishes, sea anemones, sea urchins, clams, other fishes... Where coraline is thicker, it means icebergs didn't churned up the sea floor.
From the surface, we can watch two whales blowing nearby, and we wonder if the divers can hear or see them underwater!
Our surface supply works well: quick to deploy, no need to fill up tanks down in the engine room after each dive. "I feel light" says Eric, smiling, without his 18 litres tank on his back!
Those willing to free dive are waiting a little bit longer, until work will be running smoothly...