During the Tango 1 expedition, an important part of the projects relies on samples and data collected by SCUBA divers. Our diving team is composed of Francesca (UGent), Martin (ULiège), Lea and Camille (ULB).
Antarctic waters are a first for all members but Francesca, and previous training was an important part in the planning of the expedition. First, all divers needed to obtain a European Scientific Diver certification to be able to carry on research underwater. The team then trained in Belgium using the same tools they would use here, around the Antarctic Peninsula.
Diving in Antarctica mainly requires the ability to cope with freezing-cold water. For this, the dry suit is a must and is completed by multiple layers of thermal underwear and warming equipment. Luckily, Belgian weather can offer extreme diving conditions, with quarries and lakes reaching down to 4°C during the winter. Our team was therefore well prepared and did not suffer from more than a few cold fingers.
On-site they collect specimens, sediments cores along with pictures and videos to document the expedition.