Submarines, deep sea critters, and ramen

Climbing into the Shinkai 2000, it could go down to 2,000 meters and carry 2 pilots and 1 scientist.

Last Thursday I climbed into my first submarine… ok, it has been retired for about 10 years and we weren’t in the water, but it was totally awesome!  Climbing down into the tight space where you would sit with 2 pilots and peek out the small windows at a world of darkness and mystery just waiting to be discovered and understood.

The Shinkai 6500, this one is usually in use, but was out of the water for maintenance, it can dive down to 6500m!

The submersible was at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). I went there with my advisor and one of my labmates because they had meetings and it was an opportunity for me to meet more Japanese deep-sea biologists and see the facilities at JAMSTEC.  It’s always exciting to meet people who are just as excited as you are about your work, especially when those people consist of a relatively small global community.  And now I’ve covered meeting the Japanese members of that community.  Every scientist I’ve met here has been friendly and encouraging and supportive of my ideas and have offered help and suggestions to help me succeed.

I also got to see live animals from the deep sea living in tanks on whale bones and decomposing wood!  I didn’t realize how easy it is

at JAMSTEC with the mothership for the Shinkai 6500, Shinkai means deep-sea in Japanese!

to keep many of these animals alive at the relatively low pressure we experience  on the surface of the Earth compared to hundreds or thousands of meters below the sea surface.  After a long day of meeting new people and touring the facility, it was nice to grab a hot bowl of ramen with my labmates back near campus.  Apparently the area around campus is famous for it’s ramen and there is intense competition among the shops, every bowl so far has been delicious!


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