On the boat, we had the system very carefully secured, but I was still pretty stressed out that we would hit a bump and all the probes would bounce and then shatter. Yes, I might have been overly paranoid, but those things take a lot of time to set up and I didn't really want to do it all over again and have to wait even longer to get the new ones out into the field. Once we got to the Aquarius site, Dr. Mark Patterson delivered the system to the coral that we are using while I continued to set up the frame and micro-manipulators that we use to hold the micro sensors in place. On the second dive, Mark inspected my work and gave me the OK to go ahead and start getting the sensors into the coral. 2/3 of the sensors survived the boat trip and the swim down to the bottom. 1/3 survived me trying to get them out of their protective shields... My hand slipped while I was slipping it out of the shield and I could hear the distinctive "ping" underwater of microsensor breaking. I was devastated, but my pity party couldn't last too long because we still had one more probe to try to get into the coral and had a limited amount of time to do it. I let Mark remove the shield and but it into the micro manipulator holder. Then, of course he handed me the magnifying head gear and motioned for me to take over. Again, I was terrified, but determined not to screw it up. I slowly and carefully positioned the probe tip in front of a polyp mouth. Then even slower, I moved the probe tip to be just outside of the mouth so that when the polyp opens up it will enclose the probe in it's mouth. This process took me about 30min. I checked the meter display, and SUCCESS, the reading hadn't skyrocketed (a sign that the probe is broken).
Today, I successfully managed to get a probe into a polyp, while 60ft underwater. Sure, I broke one micro-sensor in the process and Mark broke a second one, but that's science. If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth doing, or would have already been done by someone else.
Oh, and I had quite the entourage while doing all of this. Mark and Francis got everything on video, check it out below!