Easter Microplate Expedition
March 12, 2005 Day 1

Please visit the ChEss website for additional information and translations in Español, Português, and Français.

Atlantis_crop.jpg (55885 bytes)We departed from Pape'ete, Tahiti at 16:30 (4:30pm) today. We have embarked on a voyage to study hydrothermal vents along the East Pacific Rise and Pacific-Antarctic Ridge with the submersible Alvin. Our first dive site is at 38 degrees South latitude on the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge, over 2200 nautical miles (over 4000 kilometers) from Tahiti. The transit is expected to take about 9 days if the weather cooperates.

Yesterday we loaded the ship, R/V Atlantis, with the gear we brought with us. Some supplies were already on board, as we had loaded as much as we could onto the ship last December when it was in San Diego. This morning the ship was fueled with 160,000 gallons (roughly half a million liters) of diesel fuel. There is no fueling station with that kind of capacity on Easter Island; the nearest fuel is in Tahiti or Santiago, Chile.

This is the rainy season in Tahiti. There have been scattered downpours followed by bright sun, so it is hot and steamy. The breeze at sea is refreshing.

–Jenny Paduan and Ana Hilario

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The R/V Atlantis sharing the pier in Pape'ete with the much larger cruise ship Paul Gauguin.

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The island of Moorea as we left the harbor.

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City Hall in Pape'ete, Tahiti.

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This expedition has been made possible by National Science Foundation grants to Dr. Robert Vrijenhoek (NSF OCE-0241613) and Dr. Cindy Van Dover (NSF OCE-0350554)

All underwater photos were taken with the submersible Alvin, and are courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.