Research Submersible Dives

Doug Cook’s Website for Diving Adventures

and Underwater Photography




Doug’s petroleum exploration career has spanned from the deserts of Saudi Arabia, offshore Nigeria,

to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.



Doug - 2500 feet deep in the Sea Link Submersible exploring an oil seep- Gulf of Mexico 1998.



Scientists have maximum visibility in the Johnson Sea-Link's acrylic sphere

Scientists have maximum visibility in the Johnson-Sea-Link's acrylic sphere.
Copyright Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.




As the submersible descends by gravity and ballast control, the spot lights are turned off to conserve battery power.  In clear ocean water, you can see sunlight filtering down to about 1100 feet.  Below that, it’s pitch dark.  Only the ‘fireworks’ display of bioluminescent organisms flashing when startled by the sub’s passage can be seen.  The spot lights are then turned on when the subs sonar reveals that the seafloor is looming below.




Sea Links I and II were built by Edwin Link in the 1970’s.


They are currently operated by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute of Melbourne, Florida.


They are rated to 3000 feet maximum depth working untethered.


Battery power gives a four hour dive exploration time.


The pilot and a scientist occupy the front acrylic sphere while the copilot and another scientist occupy the rear aluminum compartment.


The submersible interior is a shirtsleeve environment maintained at surface pressure. Like a spaceship, the sub’s atmosphere is fed oxygen at a measured rate while carbon dioxide is scrubbed by passing the air through a canister of lithium hydroxide.  Emergency air can be supplied for days.


Communication with the Seward Johnson mother ship is via hydrophone.



In 1985, Doug was assigned as project geoscientist in developing Conoco’s Jolliet Field at a world record depth of 1800 feet in Gulf of Mexico’s Green Canyon Block 184.  The previous year, scientists discovered near Jolliet what is now a famous oil and gas seep called Bush Hill.  They found that bacteria eat the hydrocarbons and 3 foot tall bushes of tube worms eat the sulfides given off by the bacteria.  Beds of mussels live with symbiotic bacteria in their flesh that eat pure methane natural gas.  These forms of life form a lush, reef-like oasis on the sea floor called a chemosynthetic community.  In cooperation with Louisiana State University and Dr. Harry Roberts, Doug participated in six research submersible expeditions (1986-1998) and helped to pinpoint other seep communities using 3D seismic technology.



Jolliet project geoscientist 1988 - 12 MB video


Jolliet Tension Leg Platform 1988 - 17 mb video


Submersible Reserch Gulf of Mexico (I) 1986 to 1992 – 29 mb video

Bacterial mats, tube worms, live oil and gas bubbling from the sea floor.


Submersible Reserch Gulf of Mexico (II) 1986 to 1992 – 30 mb video

Encounters with deep sea angler fish, octopus, hagfish and mussels, and a swordfish at 2200 feet.


Bush Hill Tube Worms- Encounter with 12 foot deep water six-gill shark!  1998 – 15 mb video


Live oil and gas seep from a mud volcano on Green Canyon Block 237 1998 – 14 mb video

This would become BHP Petroleum’s Typhoon Field discovery (2000 feet water depth).


Giant deep water isopod and tube worms close up on Green Canyon Block 240  1998 – 25 mb video


Submersible experience from the rear chamber:

Green Canyon 151 Mega Tube Worm Colony  1998 – 24 mb video


Submersible Launch- View from the deck – 10 mb video


Submersible Launch- View from the front Acrylic Sphere – 7 mb video



Dhahran Diving Association


Diving the Saudi Arabian Red Sea with Dream Divers in Jeddah



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