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18/04/2004 - Bajo el Agua

Buceando en la Antártida

Willy Heinrich fué el primero en bucear bajo el hielo Antártico, entorno al 16 de abril de 1902.
Heinrich era el segundo carpintero de la expedición alemana al polo sur de Erich von Drygalski's  desde 1901 a 1903 abordo del Gaus. Willy
Heinrich nació el 27 de enero de 1878, en Altona, Alemania,
y entró en la expedición, desde la armada, donde había aprendido a bucear.
Heinrich se dió a conocer al resto de la expedición al inventar una bicicleta para poder andar sobre el hielo, que animo su tiempo libre y el del resto de expedicionarios.
Despues de su primera inmersión el 16 de abril de 1902, el cuaderno de viaje de la expedición Drygalski's , en su cuaderno de notas escribió que Heinrich buceó en más de una ocasión bajo el hielo, a lo largo de junio de 1902, durante el invierno austral a temperaturas por debajo de los
Heinrich utilizó un casco Siebe , y equipamiento  para bucear bajo el hielo  y realizar desde trabajos de reparación del barco, como trabajos de medición y cálculo.
A pesar de las múltiples inmersiones realizadas por Heinrich ninguna fue con objetivos científicos, y en sus informes al jefe de la expedición, le comentó únicamente la descripción de la visibilidad , y la visión del hielo desde el fondo.

Las anotaciones de Heinrich se podían leer en el cuaderno de vitácora de Drygalski , "La mayoría era oscuridad, pero la luz entraba a través de las placas de hielo, allí abajo se veían focos de luz que entraban a través de agujeros en la nieve.

Antarctic open water diving using open-circuit scuba or a rebreather preceded
diving under the Antarctic ice ...
With Willy Heinrich being perhaps the sole exception, open water diving preceded diving
under the ice in Antarctica. Open water Antarctic diving first occurred with US Navy
Underwater Demolition Team divers who accompanied Byrd's US Navy “Operation High
Jump” Expedition to the Antarctic in 1946-1947 [6,22]. The first Antarctic open water dive
was probably made shortly after January 1, 1947, by divers Lieutenant Commander
Tommy Thompson and a Chief Dixon, using "Jack Brown" masks and Desco oxygen
rebreathers [12]. Others dives in open Antarctic water followed. In 1958, Michael Neushul,
R.O. Dains, and Teniente de Corbeta Juan Carlos Carosella made 33 dives at locations in
the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula using wet and dry suits, Pirelli
closed cicuit rebreathers, and open circuit scuba gear [18].
The forerunner of subantarctic diving was Willy Heinrich; at Kerguelen Island, Heinrich
was sent down to free the anchor chain from seaweed [10]. Diving under Arctic ice started
earlier, at least during the 1950s, thereby preceding Antarctic under ice diving except for
Willy Heinrich [22].
Operation Deep Freeze II
A single scuba dive under the ice by two US Navy divers occurred at the start of
Operation Deep Freeze II in January 1957 [25]. On 14 January 1957, a tracked US Navy
Weasel vehicle, carrying a driver and several passengers, was driving along the sea ice
off Hut Point, inspecting a pipeline carrying fuel from a tanker at the sea ice edge along
the surface of the sea ice to McMurdo Station [25]. The Weasel fell through a thin spot in
the ice, and one passenger, CD Ollie B. Bartley, USN CB Spec. didn’t make it out [25].
Two Navy divers flew in from an icebreaker, and did a dive under the ice to recover
Bartley’s body inside the Weasel vehicle [25]. The United States Board on Geographic
Names Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names named Bartley Glacier, a hanging
glacier on the south wall of Wright Valley, Victoria Land, just west of Meserve Glacier,
after him.
1960/1961 season
A single open-circuit scuba dive under the ice in Antarctica occurred on 5 January
1961, by divers Jim Thorne, a photographer, and Donald Johnson, a project
engineer. As part of a project at McMurdo Station to test an underwater sea ice eroding
device called an Aqua-Therm, they made one dive, with Thorne entering the water first
Using constant-volume drysuits entered through the rubberized neck, the divers used two
sets of thermal underwear, two pairs of wool socks, wool gloves with rubber gauntlets
sealed with a metal clamp at their wrists, and rubber hoods fastened to metal neck O rings
Entering a seal hole about a thousand feet offshore Ross Island in McMurdo Sound, the
tethered divers stayed on the underside of the sea ice ceiling for a 28 minute dive, with
Jim Thorne taking photos of the sea ice ceiling [1]. Their Rolleimarine camera had to be
handed up through the dive hole after every photograph was taken, in order to change the
flash bulb topside [1].
The divers were unable to make additional dives due to poor weather, followed by a
cancellation of all diving due to safety concerns, after a killer whale surfaced in the
now-enlarged ice hole [1].
Here is a report on Aqua-Therm testing that was published in the US Navy's newsletter
All Hands (534):29, July 1961.
1961/1962 season ...
Verne E. Peckham: The next scuba diving under
the Antarctic ice was a series of year-round dives
under the McMurdo sea ice, undertaken by Verne
E. Peckham. Starting in November 1961, with a
dive near Cape Armitage, Peckham did the first
extensive diving under the Antarctic ice as well as
the first scientific diving under the Antarctic ice;
Peckham followed Willy Heinrich in doing winter
diving under ice while Antarctica is cloaked in
total darkness. From November 1961 through
October 1962, Peckham made thirty-five solo
dives as a side interest from his work as laboratory
manager for Donald (Curley) E. Wohlschlag
(Stanford University Dept of Biological Sciences) [2,17].
Peckham did most of his dives at Winter Quarters
Bay, with two dives near Cape Armitage, and a
single dive at Cape Evans, with dives lasting up to
an hour, and his deepest dive to 160 feet [2,17].
Peckham studied abundance and benthic ecology,
bringing up specimens to photograph in the lab; he
also put down one meter diameter welded metal
rings on the bottom for long term studies [17].
A portable wooden shack was placed over a hole cut in the ice with a chain saw by
Arthur DeVries, and Peckham entered the water through a hole in the floor of the heated
dive shack [2,17]. Peckham was tethered when he moved away from the dive hole [2].
Peckham’s dive gear included a Bel-Aqua/Aquala dry suit with attached gloves, and a
neoprene wetsuit, wool mittens, and wool sweater worn as undergarments for warmth
[2,17]. Peckham wore Duckfeet fins and used a two hose Aqualung regulator and a single
Aqualung tank with a pipe fitting [17]. Peckham took photographs with a Rolleiflex
camera in a Rolleimarine houseing, and a 22.5 volt battery capacitor for flash; he used a
Bolex 16mm movie cameras on one dive [2].
On location for multiple
dives, Peckham’s tank
was refilled from larger
cylinders, brought out
from base [25].
Underwater flood lights
connected to a surface
generator were used to
illuminate the bottom
during dives through the
Antarctic winter [2,17].
To measure water
clarity, Peckham used a
pen-light globe and
batteries placed in a
glycerine filled glass jar,
lowering it into the dark
winter waters to be seen
straight down at a depth
of nearly 100 meters
Peckham survived an
uncontrolled feet-up
ascent from 150 foot
depth due to insufficient
control over drysuit
inflation, after which he
coiled in his tether rope
to find his dive hole [17].
The United States Board on Geographic Names Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names
named Peckham Glacier, a steep tributary glacier in the Britannia Range, flowing south
from Mt. McClintock into Byrd Glacier, after him.
1962/1963 season ...

John S. Bunt: Between 18 December 1962 and 7 January 1963, John S. Bunt (Univ of
Sydney, School of Agriculture, Microbiology Laboratories) conducted seven scuba dives under the
ice at two locations near Cape Armitage (over 25 meters and 300 meters of water), in order to
collect sea ice microalgae [9,23]. Bunt was invited by Jack Littlepage as a guest of Donald
E. (Curley) Wohlschlag (Stanford Univ) to conduct ice microalgae studies at McMurdo;
Bunt was at McMurdo for the 1961/1962 and 1962/1963 seasons, with his diving
occurring that second season [23].
Previously Bunt had studied microalgae at Mawson Station, Antarctica, from 19 June
1956 to 2 October 1957 using topside collecting apparatus, with one exception [23,24]. At
Mawson Station in early 1957, while the ice was breaking up but there was still
substantial ice coverage, Bunt wore a Salvus suit and a brass hard hat helmet to walk into
the water from the shore for a five minute dive for the purposes of collection, using a
hookah air line [23]. Bunt followed Willy Heinrich of Drygalski's Deutsche Südpolar-
Expedition 1901-1903 into the Antarctic waters as a hard hat helmet diver.
Shown here in December 1962, Bunt
went diving at McMurdo through 4-5
meter thick sea ice in order to dive the
underside of the sea ice, collecting
algae in the brash ice on the underside
[23]. Bunt used the drysuit recently
used by Verne Peckham, and was a
tethered diver, with topside dive
assistance by Norman Laird [17,23].
En su primera inmersión Bunt utilizó un equipo Scubapro Visionare , una máscara total de cara On his first dive Bunt used a Scubapro
Visionaire full face dive mask with an
integrated second stage regulator; Bunt
found this problematic, and switched
to a standard twin hose regulator and
face mask for subsequent dives [23].
Bunt hung a strong flashlight either
above the dive hole or in the water in
order to find his way back to the dive
hole in the dark using his tether [23].
In a later effort, John Bunt’s group fielded a diverse diving program starting with winter
diving under the ice at McMurdo Station on 25 June 1967, and continuing into summer
diving through December 1967, followed by under ice diving from icebreaker channels in
the Weddell Sea in February-March 1968 [26]. Bunt’s primary divers were William J.
Boggs, Jr. and Chun Chi Lee [26].