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Elliot Bay Survey Expedition

0
August 2014
Elliot Bay, Seattle, Washington
Sixgill Shark Survey: Elliot Bay

Working in partnership with OceanGate Foundation and Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, OceanGate successfully launched and dove in Elliott Bay with local musician and ocean advocate Ben Haggerty, better known as Macklemore. Our objective was to find the elusive sixgill sharks that roam the deep waters in Puget Sound and fulfill a lifelong dream and ambition of Macklemore, a devoted shark enthusiast.

This was more than just another dive in the ocean, it was a unique opportunity to work closely with Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet as they documented that entire expedition for a feature presentation on Shark Week that aired August 11, 2014.

To attract sixgill sharks to the dive site, the team sank a bait ball to a depth of over 400 feet two days prior to the dive. Our objective was to position the bait near an existing shipwreck to attract other marine life on this artificial reef.

Going deep in Elliott Bay means knowing the local geography and understanding the region’s maritime history. From the late 1800’s till today, Puget Sound has been one of the world’s most active sea ports, creating significant economic opportunity to the region.

The dive itself commenced in the late afternoon and continued for a period of three hours into the evening. All this time the crew aboard Antipodes remained in regular contact with surface support vessels, communicating depth, life support conditions and activities of local aquatic life in the region.

Late into the evening Dr. Montague spotted something on the sonar the looked like it could be a large object moving a steady rate toward the submersible. Within minutes she noted a tail fin and had indeed spotted a juvenile sixgill shark swimming alone in the dark near our bait tank. The crew and Macklemore were ecstatic! We’d done it!

After another hour at sea Antipodes safely returned to the surface and the crew began the careful and patient process of towing Antipodes back to dock. Our missions was nearly complete.

Upon return to the dock we gathered to share information about the accomplishments of the day and the success of our night dive in Puget Sound. Macklemore offered some excellent color commentary and perspective on the day. He was delighted to see a shark and OceanGate team were pleased to help make the opportunity become a reality for a passionate advocate of the sea and sharks!

Photos