First dive
SEAMON seeks space at the foot of the Eiffel Tower


First dive for Victor 6000 on Lucky Strike. Photo Michael Aron

This morning before dawn, scientists were busy preparing the ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) that Carlos — a geophysicist from the University of Lisbon — needs for his research. These instruments can be moored at up to 6000 m depth and can record seismic waves for several months. Carlo’s major goal is to record the small earthquakes that occur on and around the Lucky Strike magma chamber.

Just after Sunday breakfast, it’s then time for the elevator — filled with instruments — to go down to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. After that, Victor was launched: its first scientific dive since its total refit.

The beginning of this dive is dedicated to the reconnaissance of the Eiffel Tower edifice to locate available space for the SEAMON East station and its two measurement modules. This active hydrothermal edifice is 11 m in height and some 20 m wide at its base. It is colonised by dense beds of Bathymodiolus azoricus mussels. Other species abound within these mussel beds, such as the Segonzacia mesatlantica crab and Mirocaris fortunata shrimp.

It took several hours to find an area flat enough to accommodate the SEAMON station and be near an active zone colonised by fauna. This was a real challenge on this very steep terrain.

The dive will continue throughout the night to explore the western side of the lava lake.


Javier and Carlos prepare the first moorings of the cruise. Photo Javier Escartin.

Mooring an OBS. Photo Javier Escartin.


Victor6000 is piloted from the surface in a specially designed control cabin fashioned out of a shipping container. Photo Jozée Sarrazin.

Launching the elevator. Photo Michael Aron