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Philippine Sea – Voyage Update #1

Philippine Sea Expedition Participant Scientists, Jann & Kurt, share their updates on the first few days of the JAMSTEC Voyage.

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Jann Vendetti’s Voyage Log:

April 27-28, 2024

I travelled from Tokyo Haneda airport via a train, the shinkansen, to Shizuoka, Japan from where the KAIMEI Research/Survey Vessel would launch. A half day to acclimatise gave me enough time to find and explore a local temple (seen in images below).

We could also see Mount Fuji during the logging operation from the research ship KAIMEI.

We are en route to Minamidaito-jima in the Philippine Sea, a small island off of which there are deep sea limestone caves, which is the first stop of the research cruise.

Kurt Bacharo Voyage Log:

April 30, 2024

JAMSTEC deployed ROV KM, it was this big state-of-the-art equipment that carries six cannisters and 3 boxes (for big samples). When the ROV started descending at around 08:00am, the velocity was said to be about 40-50m per minute (so fast!). We reached the benthic seafloor at 800m at around 09:00am where the temperature was recorded to be at least 4.5C. Substrate was tested to be hard (as expected of any limestone).

As that was the first of the ROV dives, much of the anticipation there by the team was on the survey of the benthic fauna. As the ROV starts ascending, collections consisted of fishes, sponge, sand, corals (but not black corals), and mollusc (for Jann). While there were no black corals seen, the experience of this first ROV dive is a rewarding one where I became familiar of the know-how of deep-sea expeditions.

May 1, 2024

Today the ROV CM was deployed in the same site. Prior to deployment, we were faced some technical difficulties. Compared to ROV KM, ROV CM is much smaller in aspects (including its capacity to sample where it only has one box).

After the technicalities have been fixed, JAMSTEC started the descent of ROV CM at around 13:24pm. As mentioned in the previous text with regards to its capacity, only sand were sampled at that time and ROV CM started to ascend and reached the surface around 16:54pm.

It is anticipated for tomorrow that the team will be exploring new sites around the area. Hopefully, we are able to find some black corals lurking beneath the waves.


Thanks to Jann & Kurt for sharing this voyage update. This expedition is led by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), the Ocean Shot Research Grant, and NHK TV.

Featured image credit: JAMSTEC

Image credits: Jann Vendetti

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