August 26, 2013
We didn’t know what we might find in the Heceta Bank region off the central Oregon coast. It is one of the largest reef complexes off the Pacific Northwest coast, once nominated to be a National Marine Sanctuary because of its ecological significance. There have been a few research dives in the area, but nobody has done underwater surveys in the area we were going to today.
The weather report did not look good. We woke up early and completed two dives knowing the wind and seas were going to build in the afternoon. By 11 am the wind was blowing 25 knots and the waves kicked up as high as 9 feet. Fortunately we completed two successful dives. We saw large boulder fields covered with invertebrates, gorgonian corals, rockfish, barrel sponge and crinoids. Almost every inch of the reef was covered with life. Juvenile rockfish passed in front of the ROV lights as the adults hid in the crevices. But with the high wind, waves and swell, we reached our limit for operating the ROV. Satisfied with our two dives we’re running back to Newport for safe harbor.