The crew launched the vehicle for this dive at 5d 04.678'N 126d 39.125'E around 0815. The target was a shallow seamount that rises to a depth of approximately 1550m. It lies along a shallow ridge at the southeast corner of the northeastern priority area. Between landing on bottom and ridge ascent, the topography varied between steep cliffs and relatively level terrain. It was dominated by older, volcanic rocks with a light dusting of pelagic sediment.
Corals were abundant in the deeper part of the track but were less so as we approached the summit. Several types of sponges and crinoids became more prominent. Unlike previous dives where sponges were mostly hexactinellids, the ROV encountered several different types of sponges with interesting and unique morphologies. Some larger sponges had large, labyrinthian indentations that appeared to be oriented to align with the current. Another type of sponge looked like a furry coconut mat or animal hide. The crew did not identify it as a sponge until they harnessed every bit of the powerful high-definition cameras.
As they got closer to the summit, they came across an octopus that was purple with large glassy eyes. They did not find any hydrothermal vents on this dive but they did succeed in discovering what may turn out to be a number of new species.Less «