The research of the deep ocean has resulted in encounters with extraordinary animals, many of which have never been seen before. Given the paucity of light at those depths and their strange features, it’s not surprise that these creatures can be frightening. It doesn’t help when they decide to stalk robotic submarines, like a squid was caught doing this year.
A deep-sea squid is stalking the Deep Discoverer (D2), a remotely operated submersible, according to the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. The photograph was released on Facebook to commemorate the start of the latest Okeanos diving expedition, which began on October 31 and will go through November 21.
“Have you ever had the feeling you’re being watched?!” according to the Facebook post “Thank goodness D2 has Seirios keeping watch. Seirios is linked directly to the ship and then to D2, providing illumination and a wide-angle view as she hovers over D2, increasing our perspective of the bottom and catching glimpses of things we’d otherwise miss…”
The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is charting areas off the coast of Florida as part of the ongoing “Windows to the Deep 2019” expedition, which ran from May 30 to July 12. The photo above was taken during that mission. The current mission will continue to explore poorly understood deep-water locations off the continental coast of the southeastern United States.
The exploration ship spent the most of October doing 24-hour mapping operations in order to gather as much information as possible. The team has already completed four dives at depths of approximately 2,600 feet (800 meters). The dives have revealed amazing locations and vistas. D2, for example, discovered a stunning coral garden, black corals, and a glass sponge on dive 2.
Corals aren’t the only species spotted by the remotely piloted vehicle. D2 saw sea snails and starfish on the first dive, then at the start of dive 4, he came face to face with the cutest octopus. Sharks, as well as a variety of fish and crabs, have been sighted throughout the dives.