Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nat Geo Expedition in Puerto Rico - 3/19/10

We got an early start and spent the first half of the day finishing prepping for the trip. We had to assemble the cameras, and found out that one of them was missing a few parts from it's external ring frame which holds the reflectors (a strobe light flashes every 5-10 seconds and the reflectors pounce the light out so that the camera and pick up footage in the blackness of the trench). Eric and Mike got it worked out to have the parts shipped to San Juan, and we would pick them up after we dropped off Cam #1. We loaded up the boat in the early afternoon, and found that Jim (the owner of Sail Caribe) wanted CK to go with us for the expedition because he was worried about his boat going out beyond their typical charter boundaries. So, we added CK to the crew.

Once we loaded all the equipment onto the boat, we set sail for the Northeast side of a small island called Palomino. IT was a great ride out. We saw a sea turtle along the way. We connected with Adam, who had chartered a dive boat, and got to work. By the time we got to the spot, I wasn't feeling to well from prepping my EX-1 (HD camera for those of you who don't know) in the galley. But I filmed the guys from topside as Adam filmed underwater, and made it through without throwing up. Mike was in the water with the drop cam trying to assemble the exteriors in the current which we decided would not be a good idea once we're in the trench. He was struggling against the current just off the island in water that was 80 feet deep; there was no way he was going to be able to do that in 6 foot swells out in the deep. The reason he assembled in the water for this test was so Adam could get shots from underneath. After Mike finished assembly, he dropped it multiple times so Adam could film it dropping. Eric, CK, and I chilled topside during all of this. After about an hour, Adam's underwater housing unit for his EX-1 started to leak, so we called it a day, and departed for the marina. Along the way, I emptied my stomach off the stern into the bluest water I've ever seen. That was quite an experience. I definitely felt better after that though.

Once back at the Marina, we said goodbye to CK for the evening, and spent the night on the boat. We had steak (the boat has a little grill on the stern) with green beans and baked potatoes, drank wine and rum, and talked the night away. I eventually passed out in the bow cabin, and had a wonderful night's rest.

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