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Antarctic Diving 3 - About to Enter the Water

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These guys deserve a special mention, they are professional divers and here they are about to do something partly at my request that I'm really glad I didn't have to do myself.

In the winter as a marine biologist I still had to carry on catching fish - in fact it was more important then than in the summer as it was far more difficult to get the fish then and far fewer people had ever caught them in the winter months or been around to record it for science.

The technique was to cut two holes about 100m apart as this was the length of a standard trammel net that we used. We drove a skidoo several times between the two holes to flatten any snow and to try to make the line obvious from beneath the water (and ice). The divers tied onto lines then dropped into the water and down to about 10-15m in 50-200m depth of blue-water, they had no points of reference other than the surface and each other, they swam the 100m to the next hole under the ice, following the skidoo trail before coming back up with the line at the second hole.

The line was then used to set and recover nets until the ice broke out. It always worried me that I might let go of the line and have to ask them to do this again - fortunately it never happened.

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