Louis Pourtales continued his work for the next few years in the Florida Straits, working to 700 fathoms, the deepest waters in the area. He discovered hundreds of new species during the course of his investigations. Today, Pourtales Terrace—the broad bench at 270 fathoms discovered south of Key West—is named in his honor.
The Coast Survey Steamer Hassler (NOAA Photo Library). Click image for larger view.
In 1872, Pourtales accompanied Louis Agassiz on the Coast Survey Steamer Hassler on an expedition from the East Coast of the United States through the Straits of Magellan and on to San Francisco. Although the Hassler was destined to become a West Coast hydrographic surveying ship, it was outfitted for deep-ocean sounding and dredging on this trip. Pourtales had no luck at all, as the hold carrying the hemp lines for deep ocean dredging flooded early on. Subsequently, the line rotted and parted on every attempt to dredge in deep water. A number of dredgings in waters shoaler (shallower) than 200 fathoms met with moderate success. Although the deep dredging operations failed, the cruise was generally successful, with Louis Agassiz collecting more than 30,000 specimens of sea life.