Stanford's R/V Te Vega, Bougainville I., 1963
Te Vega is a 134 foot steel-hulled, gaff-rigged schooner that was operated by the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University for oceanographic work around the world.
Rolf Bolin introducing Cruise 1 Capt E.B. Olsen 7-3-63
Chief Scientist Dr. Rolf Bolin at left introducing Cruise 1 Capt E.B. Olsen at the Te Vega dedication ceremony on 3 July 1963 at the National Steel docks in San Diego. Rolf was my Marine Ecology and Ichthyology prof at Hopkins Marine Station the summer of my freshman year at Stanford.
San Diego sea trial swells
It looks as if we are about to be swamped, but we will ride up and over the wave crest as it passes below the vessel.
Norm & Bobbie McLean
Norm seeing wife Bobbie off on the next leg of Cruise 1. Norm and Bobbie were both fellow graduate student colleagues in the Department of Zoology, University of California, Berkeley. In fact, it was Norm who talked me into applying for the first Te Vega cruise!
Te Vega about to head south to Samoa.
Te Vega setting sail for Samoa.
Deep draft vessels, like large sailboats, often have problems maneuvering in shallow reef areas due to the large keel.
Underway to American Samoa
With a good wind, Te Vega could do 12 knots or more, depending on the sails aloft.
Just after crossing the Equator heading south
While enroute Samoa, the Chief Scientist discovered a cache of expensive color Polaroid film that was due to expire shortly. So it was turned over to the students who entered into an orgy of self-documentation--no escape! As I recall, the film was originally purchased to make friends and influence South Pacific villagers along our route.
First Mate Jack Thomsen at the helm
Jack had sailed on square riggers in Europe and the Caribbean.
Don Thompson & Dave Milne
Don serving as the ship's barber with Dave as his first "victim."
"Mohawk" Dave Milne dipping up samples.
Displaying Don Thompson's handiwork, Dave was collecting floating critters.
Captain Olsen getting a fix in the days before GPS.
Using a sextant to determine altitude of sun and stars to find our position at sea.
Forward view of the deck of the Te Vega at anchor
Foredeck of Te Vega as seen from the mainmast spreader, Arawa Bay, Bougainville Island, the Solomon Islands.
Bob Beeman going airborne.
Bob heading up to the foremast spreader.
Foremast spreader photo-op
Jack Thomsen on left providing a photo-op for Joan Gerdts, Bob Beeman, and Tom Clarke.
View from the mainmast spreader
Here you can see our Boston Whalers that were essential for diving and collecting on the reefs of the South Pacific.
Culcita cushion seastar from reef lagoon
The Culcita cushion sea star is a rather unusual echinoderm that looks more like a spineless sea urchin than a seastar. This one was found in the lagoon reefs of Samoa.
Oceanographer Warren Thompson
Warren Thompson, our physical oceanographer, unpacking the bathythermograph used to measure water temperature with depth
Mary Anne Jordan
Getting Nansen Bottles ready for deployment.
Don Thompson on the hydrographic wire
Nansen bottles for collecting water samples to analyze in our shipboard chemistry lab.
Submarine volcano peak at depth of about 60 ft.
This brand new volcano, south of the Solomon Islands, had been above the surface only a few months before, but waves had eroded the peak by the time we got there.
Rock dredge used on new volcano
We collected the first lava samples from the cone of this brand new, unnamed volcano south of the Solomon Islands.
Paul Schroeder & Tom Clarke
Preparing the Peterson Grab for collecting samples from the new volcano's peak.
Dave Milne & Don Thompson
Collecting lava rock samples with the Peterson Grab from the peak of the recent eruption of a submarine volcano.
John Grover, Capt. Olsen & Warren Thompson
John Grover, Chief Geologist of the Solomon Islands (1963), Captain Olsen, and Dr, Warren C. Thompson examining lava samples from peak of recently erupted undersea volcano.
Perhaps the simplest biological oceanographic technique is to mount a dip net on the end of a long pole. This was the method used to collect the pumice sample and its very interesting assemblage of organisms shown in the next pic.
Balistes triggerfish on pumice with barnacles & crab near Fiji
Balistes triggerfish on a piece of floating pumice, presumably from a recent volcanic eruption, with settled Lepas barnacles and a grapsid crab near Fiji. Note how the fish's color adaptation matches the white barnacles on the black pumice.
A one meter (diameter) nekton and plankton net
We towed this net to collect both large and small pelagic (floating) organisms, as well as smaller nets with finer mesh.
Velella and its snail predator Janthina
Underside of Velella, a floating hydrozoan polyp colony in the phylum Cnidaria. We discovered a large assemblage of Velella just off the coast of Southern California, along with its predator, the snail Janthina. Note the large, cone shaped structure at left that is the gastrozooid containing the mouth, whereas the small brown structures are gonozooids bearing medusae containing zooxanthellae.
Another pelagic hydrozoan colony (Porpita)
These are pelagic (i.e., floating) hydrozoans, possibly hydroids or chondrophorans, that consist of a colony containing a central flotation disk and mouth (gastrozooid), along with numerous tentacles (dactylozooids) bearing stinging nematocysts.
Mid-water trawl for collecting deep sea critters
Between California and Hawaii we were able to collect at depths of 1000 to 2000 meters using the 21 foot wide Tucker Trawl. Unfortunately this trawl proved too wide to tow at speed and became damaged, so we had to shift to the smaller (6') trawl that you see here.
Mid-water trawl from about 1000m down
At the cod end (tip) of this net, a stainless steel bucket was secured to collect the specimens. Here we are carefully removing the bucket in order to see what was brought up.
Tucker mid-water trawl haul from 1400m
This is a more or less typical trawl from about a half mile to 2 miles down, including caridean shrimp (red) and a variety of deep sea fishes, normally black, but in some cases they have lost their epidermis due to abrasion by the net.
1st mid-water trawl from a depth of 1400 m..
1st mid-water trawl between California and Hawaii. From top to bottom we have the snipe eel, Nemichthys with perhaps a myctophid inside the loop. Next down we see the amazing great swallower fish, Chiasmodon, that is capable of ingesting fishes much longer than itself. Below this are two hatchet fish, with a pair of cranchid squid to either side.
Second mid-water trawl from 1,050 m
At the top is a cranchid squid. Below and to the left is Pyrosoma, the beautifully bioluminescent pelagic tunicate. To the right of this is Atolla, a common deep sea scyphomedusan. At the bottom are two pelagic sea cucumbers, Pelagothuria, that have very light weight gelatinous bodies to aid in flotation.
Various crustaceans from a depth of 1050 m.
Tucker mid-water trawl haul (21 ft width) with a collection of various kinds of shrimps, and a pelagic amphipod (upper right) captured between California and Hawaii. Note that the largest caridean shrimp has a body length of over 6 inches (15 cm).
Trawl of deep sea fishes from 1000-2000 m.
At these depths, the fishes are generally black. This permits them to blend in with their environment to avoid predators, as well as making them invisible to their prey. To the right of the hatchet fish is an angler fish
Trawl variety from 1400m down
Here we see an amazing adaptation of some very diverse organisms to the deep sea. At the top we see a bright red caridean shrimp. At the left we have a pelagic sea cucumber, Pelagothuria, normally a shallow water beast. At bottom right, we have the pelagic annelid worm, Tomopteris.
Deep sea pelagic nemertean worm
We trawled this single specimen up from a depth of about 1400 meters between San Diego and Hawaii. The long proboscis has broken through the body wall in the process.
Lobster Phyllosoma larva off Calif.
Captured in the 1 meter plankton net, this spiny lobster larva was the largest ever discovered, and had probably been feeding in the plankton for many weeks. It had been swept so far out to sea that it was unable to settle to the bottom so it could metamorphose to the adult stage.
Stern from mainmast spreader
Below me is the overhead of the deck house with our chemical and biological labs.
Capt., staff, & students down time on stern
From left Dave Milne, Dr. Isobel Bennett (Univ. of Sydney), Paul Schroeder, Captain Olsen, and Mike Hadfield.
Securing the fisherman sail
Reefing the fisherman required Jack Thomsen to slide down the sail while underway!
Trolling for sharks!
Dave Milne volunteered to take the first watch, but no bites!
First Mate Jack Thomsen
Torn sails have to be repaired quickly by hand.
Dick Mariscal at Mbulia Island, Fiji
Uninhabited Mbulia Island, inside the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef of Fiji, is thought to be the world's fourth largest barrier reef and had some great diving. We also ran a fish seine here to collect inshore fishes.
Setting a seine to collect fishes in Fiji
Mbulia Island, inside the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef of Fiji, was a pristine spot for collecting and diving. Here are the students setting a small fish seine just off the beach at Mbulia Island, with Rolf Bolin just to the left of the bow of our whaleboat, examining a specimen.
Not what you think!
Before we drop anchor inside a coral reef, in this case at Mbulia Island inside the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef of Fiji, Chief Scientist Rolf Bolin surveys the bottom to determine the best spot for anchoring and collecting specimens.
Mbulia Island, Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef, Fiji
Dave Milne, either signaling for help or drying his T-shirt! Note the waves crashing on the outer barrier of the Great Astrolabe Barrier Reef of Fiji, thought to be the 4th longest in the world. Here Dave, Tom Clarke, and Mike Nesson are preparing to anchor in the lagoon, prior to diving.
Diving attire at Vanikoro I.
Tom Clarke wearing a set of long underwear, not as a fashion statement, but as a very effective way to avoid jellyfish stings, as well as coral cuts and scrapes. Then we went from this to...
Massive reef complex at Vanikoro I.
Clinging to the upper part of the reef where the currents and filter feeding are best, members of the echinoderm class Crinoidea (feather stars) are ubiquitous coral reef inhabitants.
The fire coral Millepora at Vanikoro
This entire reef was composed of the stinging fire coral Millepora. This was the more massive club-shaped form of this genus of Hydrozoan coral.
The giant clam Tridacna embedded in a coral reef at Vanikoro
An interesting relationship between the tropical clam Tridacna that has settled on a coral. This, in turn, has grown up and around the shell of the clam. The blue-colored mantle tissue of the clam contains symbiotic algae that can photosynthesize and translocate nutrients to the clam.
Mangrove swamp on Vanikoro Island, Solomon Islands
Entering one of these often dark, dense mangrove swamps is an experience to be remembered.
Tom Clarke, crocodile hunter
Tom, Dave Milne, and I searched for a saltie far upstream on Vanikoro Island, Santa Cruz Islands.
No crocs, but a great camp!
Although we found no crocs on Vanikoro, we did find a beautiful campsite on a fast-flowing stream entering the estuary.
Vanikoro Creek adjacent to the camp site
Great spot to do a little skinny-dipping and get a bath for Tom, Dave, and myself.
Entering Melanesia from Polynesia
As Te Vega made the transition from Polynesian to Melanesian waters, we had the opportunity to experience completely different cultures. Here are some members of the Chimbu tribe, near Rabaul, New Britain Island, arriving to participate in the Kokopo Show, an intertribal series of competitive events for local villagers.
Hut on beach on Bougainville island in the Solomons
This scene seemed to be right out of a Hollywood movie about the "South Seas."
Native policeman at Kieta Bay, Bougainville standing next to his pursuit craft with suspected malingerer.
Takanupe I. in Arawa Bay, Bougainville I., the Solomons
This uninhabited island just offshore from the main Bougainville Island (in the background) proved to have some fantastic diving and interesting assemblages of sea anemones and their symbiotic fishes. Note the beach rock in the foreground.
Takanupe Island in Arawa Bay, Bougainville !.
A very dense assemblage of several coral species (mostly Acropora) located subtidally just off Takanupe Island.
A fire coral (Millepora) reef
This thicket of fire coral was quite large and located subtidally just off Takanupe Island in Arawa Bay, Bougainville. Fire coral derives its name from the extemely potent nematocysts contained in its polyps's tentacles.
Symbiotic sea anemones and their fishes at Takanupe I, Bougainville
At left, we have the tropical sea anemone, Heteractis magnifica, that serves as a host for the anemonefish Amphiprion perideraion.To the right on this same coral head we have another species of
symbiotic sea anemone, Stichodactyla mertensii, containing a different species of anemone fish, Amphiprion clarkii.
A symbiotic sea anemone and fishes on Takanupe I., Solomons
Here we have a single species of symbiotic sea anemone, Stichodactyla gigantea, containing two entirely different species of anemonefishes: Amphiprion clarkii and the facultative symbiont, Dascyllus trimaculatus. This pic shows a territorial encounter between A. clarkii on the eft and Dascyllus trimaculatus on the right
Stichodactyla gigantea and Amphiprion percula
The symbiotic sea anemone, Stichodactyla, is a common host sea anemone for a variety of anemonefishes, here shown just off Pongama Point, Bougainville I. in the Solomons.
Mt. Tavurvur volcano bordering Rabaul Harbor
Last major eruption was in 1994, destroying much of Rabaul, the provincial capital, due to heavy ash fall. A new capital was established at Kokopo across the bay.
Mt. Tavurvur near Rabaul, New Britain I.
Matapi Crater, as well as the other craters in the viciinity, are all active. Sulfur water in the far crater made for a nice swim.
Uh-Oh! Bulolo Road, Papua New Guinea
Leaving Te Vega, Dave Milne, Mike Nesson and I did some exploring. But we were not used to driving on the left-hand side of the road! Constable Bob Harris surveys the damage.
Today: yours truly pursuing the wily redfish!
Kayak CPR (catch-photograph-release) estuarine fishing has become a favorite retirement activity, and is one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
Sunrise at St. Marks on the "Forgotten Coast"
Apalachee Bay of North Florida, a favorite local kayak fishing area, remains relatively unchanged from the days when it was inhabited by the Apalachee Tribe of Native Americans.