Thursday, December 4, 2014

Under the Ice

The Observation  Tube

Last year, we heard rumors about an "Ob Tube".  A metal tube that was put down through the ice and projected into the water. Supposedly,  you could then climb down into and do some underwater Observations.   This year the “Ob Tube” was installed and we were able to climb down there!  It was awesome.  Because the tube is out on the sea ice, you have to formally go and get a radio and have a travel buddy.  For this Adventure, my partner in crime was Gracie.  When we arrived there was no one around so we could spend as much time down there as we wanted.   When you first get down there, your eyes are drawn to the ice above you and the shoots of ice that are growing down from the ceiling.  Then you start to notice the ground and wonder what all is down there.  There were long white slivers all over the ground and big white prickly urchins.  There were big blogs of purple or black all over the ground.   Next I looked into the distance and saw jellyfish slowly swimming through the water and as I went to take a picture of it I found my camera kept blurring and as i investigated I realized it was refocusing to the tiny tiny creature that were swimming all around the tube.   As my eyes adjusted to following those tiny things I realized that there was a swarm of orangeish minnows in the middle distance. I was shocked that I had missed them originally as they were clearly a cloud of fish and as I looked above them i noticed slightly larger school of silver fish that slowly circled the Ob Tube.  About this time I looked back down at the ground and realized the big blogs of color might be massive jelly like things that were alive because you could seem them periodically draw together and then spread out again.  Then I noticed some starfish and about this time I heard my first seal.  it was so clear and loud you thought they were going to swim right up to you, but alac and alas, they were nowhere to be seen. 

In general I haven’t been doing to much touring this year. I’ve been settling into my job and my schedule 2-12.  I’m hoping to get a bit more done as the season progressed but the Ob Tube has certainly been a highlight and i hope to get to go down there once more before it gets closed down for the season.