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Esslinger: I'm one of the six divers on the boat, trying to catch sea otters
von Biela: And what do you have to wear to catch sea otters, George?
Esslinger: Well we all wear drysuits in Alaska because the water is very cold.
von Biela: How does a dry suit work?
Esslinger: Dry suit is different than a wet suit. It keeps you dry with these seals that go around your wrist to seal off the water. And you also have a seal around your neck to keep the water from coming into the suit, so your body doesn't have to continously reheat water like in a wet suit.
von Biela: And what about at your feet? What happens at your feet?
Esslinger: The feet is just a continuous sock that's covered by a boot for protection and traction.
von Biela: And does that dry suit keep you warm enough all by itself or do you have other layers of insulation.
Esslinger: Well air is the insulator I have a bottle I put in this pocket and it inflates through this valve putting air in my suit as added insulation.
von Biela: So you have insulation like sea otters then?
Esslinger: Pretty much. Trying to emulate the sea otter!
Esslinger: Make sure your neck seal isn't folded over otherwise it will leak. Then we have a waterproof zipper, which Ben will give me a hand with.
Esslinger: Try to get this one started. And these are expensive zippers we don't want to bust them up.
Esslinger: Make sure your zipper is closed all the way. And there's a zipper protector that goes over that to keep your gear from rubbing on the zipper.
von Biela: Can you feel it if you're taking on water?
Esslinger: Oh yeah if you have the smallest leak you'll feel it in this water. This water is about 45-46 degrees.
Title: Pacific Nearshore Project: Dry Suits
In order to study sea otters in the wild, research divers on the Pacific Nearshore Project must brave frigid waters from Alaska to California. Here's an explanation of how this special equipment works. The Pacific Nearshore Project is a multinational, multiagency project investigating sea otters as health indicators of coastal waters and marine resources from California north through Canada and Alaska. The project being conducted by researchers from an integrated partnership of world-class research institutions led by USGS. Learn more at http://on.doi.gov/nearshore.
Date Taken: 1/1/2011
Video Producer: Ben Young Landis , USGS Alaska Science Center, USGS Western Ecological Research Center
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