Our dive site was surrounded by shear cliff because of the volcanic nature of the island. This shot is looking straight up one of the cliffs Photo: Genoa Sullaway
Tristin and her 83cm Halibut! Photo: Scott Gabara
After a rough dive day at Atka, the group was eager to move on to a new island. We did three trawls as we were steaming away from Atka, and as we worked the clouds broke to reveal this glorious view.
Next stop: Chuginadak! We were really excited about this island, we knew nothing about it, but it has one of the best names out of all the islands in the chain (hence, the theme phrase of the trip was: CHUGINADAK OR BUST!).
During our 18-hour steam from Atka to Chuginadak, we got the full Bering Sea experience. We were rocking and rolling through 10ft seas, waves were crashing over the side of the boat, and even science was put on hold! (Stay tuned for an awesome slo-mo video of a wave crashing over the side, will have to wait until we get better internet).
We were relieved to pull up to a fog covered island around 5pm the next day. Right after setting anchor the clouds cleared and revealed a massive volcano. The Aleutians love to play these kinds of tricks on you. If you are paying attention one by one massive mountains will uncover themselves for a few minutes at a time and then fog will quickly dissolve them from view. Every new site we go to someone is running around the boat shouting “Guys, come outside, look at this, it’s so beautiful.”
Chamber deployments went off without a hitch, thankfully the sea calmed down and let us do some science.
Unfortunately, I sprung a leak my first dive and three dives later I was completely drenched, so I promptly headed back to the boat to dry my clothes and fix my neck seal. No, this is not a cover-up for accidentally peeing my dry suit, I have the broken neck seal to prove it!
Chuginadak has literally been a treat. The bay we anchored in is rife with halibut and the gang has been fishing like crazy! Catch of the day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We also headed to land on the afternoon of the second day. Apparently, the last time Mt. Chuginadak erupted was 1998, but it was spitting out steam the whole time we were there!
Between the views and the dives, Chuginadak gave us a magnificent couple days. Now we are off to the fifth of six islands: Umnak.