Daily Log Report for
10 May 1997

Submitted by Richard Pyle

Today was a marvelous day for fish collecting! We returned to the same place we had been to the past few days, and began our descent with the film crew. We took some time getting to depth, so Ken could get ahead of us and film us dropping down. Upon arriving at the terrace, Ken discovered he had a problem with his video camera lights, so he left us and returned toward the surface. At that point, I decided to drop down over the edge of the terrace into the black abyss, while John stayed up at 300 feet to collect fishes. The wall I descended was incredibly shear. There were lots of sea fans and other soft-bodied marine life, but rather few fish. I saw a number of Holanthias borbonius along the wall, but not much else until I got near 400 feet. At 400 feet, I saw a metallic-blue damselfish that might be a new species, and tried to collect a very beautiful wrasse of the genus Bodianus, which may also be a new species. I missed them both, and began a slow ascent back to the terrace. I found John on the terrace, and we both continued to collect fishes for a short while, then slowly started to ascend.

We spent over 4 hours in the water; not so much because we really had to, but because we wanted to play it safe for decompression purposes. When we finally returned to the boat, Jack was just returning from his scuba dive. I excitedly told him about all of the interesting things we collected, then climbed into the boat to examine our "goodies". We had several new species, but the one of greatest personal interest to me was the large Pseudanthias similar to one that I had originally collected in the Cook Islands years ago and plan to name after my wife, Lisa. Of almost equal value was a new species of Liopropoma (a relative of groupers) that had eluded me for 8 years (both in the Cook Islands and at Papua New Guinea).

Dive Number 1 of 1
Divers: Richard Pyle, John Earle, Ken Corben, Pat Colin

Solid line indicates depth, dashes ("-") indicate
decompression ceilings, bar ("|") represents cleared to surface.
Max. Depth: 400 feet (120 meters) Time: 12:45pm Duration: 4 hr, 12 min
Location: Augulpelu Reef; E side of reef; "D2" (07 16.41' N, 134 31.44' E).
Marine Life: During my initial descent to 400 feet, I saw an interesting wrasse and metallic-blue damselfish, but couldn't collect either. On the wall there were many Holanthias borbonius, and a lot of invertebrate marine life, but not much else. On the ascent back to the terrace, I picked up a small Opisthobranch. When I returned to the terrace, I collected 4-inch Terelabrus, which escaped from my net. I soon thereafter managed to capture a smaller one. I also caught a variety of other species, including two Liopropoma, one of which is definitely new, and the other may be L. latifasciatum. I also captured a small Plectranthias and several starfish. One of the more exciting finds was a large male Pseudanthias similar to one which I had previously discovered in the Cook Islands, and plan to name in honor of my wife, Lisa.
Remarks: During the descent, two sizable Grey Reef sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhinchos) among a school of Rainbow Runners were acting fairly aggressively toward us. They departed soon after we arrived at the terrace. Even though Ken had to abort the dive early, John and I made the best of it and collected many new and exciting things. The water seemed colder than the previous days at depth -- my gauge registered 63 degrees F, but I think it was colder than that. It was an over-cast day, so the light wasn't as bright.

Disclaimer: Several aspects of the dive profile(s) illustrated above deviate from conventional wisdom regarding appropriate decompression procedures. The dives referred to on these web pages are of an experimental nature, and all persons involved with these dives are fully cognizant of the associated risks. The decompression practices followed on these dives are derived from published information, in conjunction with the many years of extensive experience of the divers involved. These practices have not been tested under controlled conditions, and may not work equally well for all divers. Kids, don't try this at home!!

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