The IMOS AUV group have been working with the University of Tasmania aboard the AMC vessel RV Bluefin to survey sites within the Commonwealth Marine Reserve at Maatsuyker Island on the South West tip of Tasmania. After mobilising at Beauty Point, we had to wait out some bad weather, with strong winds and rough seas forecast over the weekend. Monday morning dawned with relatively calm conditions so we headed out to the site to deploy the vehicle. After a six hour mission we recovered the vehicle as the seas began to build. The forecast for the rest of the week is pretty dire, with 7-10m swell predicted in the area so we have had to call it a day. We will pick up a few additional sites around Bruney Island on the way back to Hobart.
Despite the relatively short time on site, we were able to collect a large number of seafloor images with the reserve. A few sample images showing dense brittle stars, rock lobsters, sponge gardens and soft corals appear below.