Diving at Casey
9 November 2001
Marine research is an increasingly important part of our Antarctic science program, both out at sea and in near shore waters. The Human Impacts Program is currently undertaking a multi-year terrestrial and marine research program near Casey station to understand the effects of contaminants on the Antarctic environment resulting from past waste practices.
The dive program at Casey is examining sea-bed communities near the station to determine how seriously they are affected by human activities.
The information gained will be used to set priorities for improving our operational activities in the future to reduce risk of further environmental damage.This year's dive program began early in the season. The Principal Investigator, Martin Riddle, and his team have been diving twice a day with plenty of specimens being brought to the surface, providing samples for the station based scientists who have been burning candles in the labs late into the night.
Very cold weather and brisk winds hampered diving on two days during the week, but the divers were back in the water by the end of the week. The diving at present is through a hole in the sea ice, and is supported each day by a Hägglunds vehicle, which carries all the gear as well as providing transport and shelter in the event of bad weather.
Antarctic diving requires a great deal of equipment. Protection against the cold conditions is largely overcome by using professional quality drysuits with several underlayers of thermal and Polarfleece® clothing, including socks and gloves. It can take quite a long time to dress.