In the Fall 2001 semester, Dr. Tivey went to sea on an Alvin geophysics mission. He sent e-mail reports to the Marine Adhesives class via satellite communications link.

Message from Dr. Tivey via satellite link from 500 miles south of the
Mexican coast at 9 degrees 50' North, 104 degrees 15' West

dateline: Monday, 12 November 2001

Hi Enid,
Just an update on where we are. You can pass this on to your cadets and
class as you see fit. In case you haven't heard, we had an immediate
problem before we left the dock in Mexico on Nov 6th. It turns out the
ALVIN pilots found a small crack in one of the viewports (windows) of
ALVIN. There was nothing we could do sitting at the dock except waste
valuable ship time ($35,000/day), so we left with a broken submarine.
We have obviously not dove yet. We have been towing a near-bottom
sidescan sonar vehicle making maps of the volcanic seafloor, although we
have had problems with the system. We attempted two dives with the
autonomous underwater vehicle, ABE, but those were unsuccessful. Nov 12
was a slow point with all the equipment (ALVIN, ABE and the DSL120
sidescan)on the ship broken. We got the DSL120 working again and have
been surveying. We pull that vehicle up tonight and get ABE back in the
water tomorrow (Friday) for another test dive.
We also have just heard that WHOI has found a replacement viewport for
the sub and they are airlifting it to us here at sea on saturday. We
are about 500 miles south of the Mexican coast at 9 degrees 50' North
104 degrees 15' West. In the captain's words: it should be a Kodak
moment. So next week should see us diving, if the airdrop works out.
The design for cruise t-shirts already have a theme to work on...
Stay tuned.
Note the informal website for the cruise is

Cheers, Maurice

Message #2 from Dr. Tivey via satellite link from about 500 miles south
of the Mexican coast

dateline: Monday, 19 November 2001


We had a successful dive with ABE today and got 28 lines, so things are

working. That is our third ABE dive. One of the batteries failed so we
are putting in a replacement.

On the disappointing side: we had our "airdrop" on Saturday of a viewport
for ALVIN (one of the windows). A plane flew out to us from Acapulco. It
parachuted the window to us and we recovered it. Unfortunately, it looks
like it got hit, either while being throw out the aircraft or when it hit
the ocean. The window has a big chip out of it and so it is useless for
diving. That means we will NOT get to dive with the sub this cruise. That
is a big disappointment as it looks like we have imaged, with the sidescan
sonar, some massive lava flow outpourings that have occurred between April
2000 and now.

ALVIN not being able to dive is a rare occurrence and we are going to try
and solicit NSF to get these dives reinstated for next year, so we haven't
given up. We will stay out here and finish the ABE and sonar work and do
some rock coring.