Years ago, on another ship with another ROV, we were similarly plagued by equipment problems and bad luck. One of the crew members started a rumor that the honeybears in the ship’s mess (where we eat on board) were the cause of our bad luck. So to amuse ourselves in the time we had to wait as equipment was repaired, we devised various ways to torment and defeat the honeybear’s bad mojo. And somehow it actually seemed to help, our luck changed, equipment got fixed and we could get back to work.
So when we were mired in bad luck again on this trip, someone noticed the Kilo Moana also had honeybears in the mess. We had to do something about it! We kidnapped one, strapped it to a shrimp trap (with a little note), and sent it down to the bottom on the next dive with Jason. Immediately, our luck changed - we found the missing hydrophone mooring on that dive, and things seemed to be going better. Then on the next Jason dive, we brought that shrimp trap (and the honeybear) back to the surface. On the way back up, Jason lost power due to a ground-fault on one of its transformers, which was a very serious problem. If the damage was too great, we might not be able to dive again - losing our last two dives with experiments still to recover from the bottom.
I’m a scientist, so I don’t really believe that the honeybear had anything to do with our bad luck. But sometimes it’s fun to act on a wild theory and have someone or something to blame for all the things that are going wrong. At least it gave us a chance to laugh in the face of adversity and perhaps that alone helped a little. Or was it really bad mojo?
-Bill Chadwick, Oregon State University