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12 March, 2000

Dive Tenders

Question 22: What vertebrate species ranges the farthest south (other than humans)?

If the weather had continued to be too windy for boating ops (operations), we were going to postpone our morning meeting from 8am til 1pm and sleep in. However, the weather cleared, so our group headed out to a boat dive at Eichorst Island at 10am. It is wonderful to get out of the immediate vicinity of the station and look around on the islands.

I am tending today, for both the boat dive and a shore dive that will come later. That means helping those diving with carrying and donning their gear and getting in and out of the water, keeping a surface lookout during the dive, keeping in radio contact with Palmer coms and anyone in the area, and removing gear after a dive. We have six divers and two boat operators. We will never put in more than four divers at a time, so whoever isn't diving generally helps tend.

With all of the gear needed to stay safe and warm in the water here, the divers are much less mobile than normal and unable to do some things easily for themselves. The tenders take over these tasks for them and good communication is vital for this to work. Tenders help put on or adjust seals, masks, gloves and fins. Buckles that need to be attached or cinched up are another major task. One of the most important things is the last-minute visual inspection of the divers once they are ready to go into the water, making sure all hoses are connected and where they should be, that zippers are closed, and that the divers have everything they need.

On boat dives, we have clip lines that hang off the boat so that divers can attach weight harnesses, BCs, and collection bags. But the tender is standing by to help if divers are too cold or tired to manage it by themselves when they return to the surface.

Answer 21: The largest penguin living today is the emperor penguin. It is 120 cm tall. But there are fossils from Seymour Island (off the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula) of a giant penguin that was close to 2 meters tall and weighed 32 kilograms.

Tender helping diver don BC (buoyancy compensator).

Divers being helped with mask and glove seals.

Diver readying fins before entering. Tender in drysuit is standing by.

Diver and tender waiting by dive site on Arthur Harbor with Marr Glacier in background.

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