WSW of Passage Island 2

October 2 2014
Attempting to find more coral in the area of Passage Island BC (near Vancouver). I also want to go go to greater depth and test my ability to control the ROV. Read background

October 2 2014


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Debriefing Stage

After the video ended, but before the computer shut down, we discovered that the tether was caught. I manoeuvred the ROV down a bit, to give some slack, then motored back up and it came loose. Just in time too! the computer battery then died. Phew!

There was a tangle of tether from the lengths that had floats on them. I suspect the floats made that particular tangle more likely to happen. It was a complex enough tangle that I decided to just cut the line.

When I see the Glass Sponge for the first time, I called it a coral. I couldn't see the screen very, well thanks to the bright sunny sky. But most importantly, I was expecting to see coral. In my last trip, I got some footage of what I thought was coral. Now I believe it was glass sponge but viewed only from below.

I later found maps of Glass Sponge reefs and one of them is right at the location of my last 2 trips. Pretty cool! Though if I'm being honest, I did have delusions of discovering some unknown species. :D Fueled by the lack of any information on coral of that likeness. That is because it is not coral silly! Doh!

Reef Building Glass Sponges (though not all glass sponges) were thought to have gone extinct 100 million years ago (according to ). In 1987 they were discovered in Hecate Strait and early in the new millennium they were found in the Georgia Straight (between Vancouver Island and the mainland). We now know that they have reefs from Alaska to Washington State. All of reefs from Vancouver to Alaska live in areas of shelter, but the Washington reefs live in open ocean. I know. Very exciting!


Cool sponges! Looks like the link to Natural History Mag link is broken, but it's a great article replete with submarines and deep sea exploration!

Glass Castles

Beautiful! Nice find!

I'd like to get up there soon to join you on one of these dives!

I would welcome the company. :)

Mission Underway

Slack tide did not turn out to be so slack. I attempted to compensate with the motor. As you can see from the track, it didn't really work out that great. The ROV was dragged slowly at a few points, but not fast enough for me to be sure that was the issue. I did have an problem, from placing the props on the wrong motors, causing the controls to turn side ways (on my keyboard). Even though I have had, and solved, this problem before, it took me a while to remember. oops.


What program are you using here?

It is called Navionics. It is pretty great. Eric has the same app on his phone. :D

Preparation Stage

We cruised around Passage Island looking at the houses, discussing how they seemed to deal with the power issue (as in no power) and explained how we would do it better (obviously). Then we considered where to launch the ROV from. I had intended to drop anchor, as I did the first time, and float out over the spot with the tidal current. According to my handy tide App, the tide was just finishing coming in and I figured we could get some good slack tide exploration going. Woot!

We screwed around setting things up and getting to depth for so long that my laptop battery died shortly after getting to depth. Still there is 17ish min in the video (I trimmed the lead up) I also cut out most of the 5 min when I reset the ROV to try and fix and issue. The video starts almost 4 min in, just before we first see bottom.

Look at all of that life!!!

Is that 107 meters?! Darcy, i'm flipping out, this is so cool. As for the tides, I've often noticed that slack tide at the surface corresponds with strong tidal movement at depth, and vice versa. Did you encounter any deep flows that you hadn't expected?

So much life! Darcy videos are the best.

I didn't have a frame of reference to tell if there were any under currents between the surface and the bottom. I believe the movement of the rov was due to the surface current. Though it seems that the current in the area didn't know that it was supposed to be on break. It wasn't extreme, but it consistently pulled me south.

I will try to keep them coming David! I found a good location, to try for deeper water, in Indian Arm. It is a very sheltered area east of North Vancouver. North Vancouver is a different City that lies, umm, North of Vancouver...As logical as that sounds, West Vancouver, also a different city, lies exactly as far north of Vancouver as North Vancouver. Though it is West of North Vancouver.

Wow! Awesome video! Any idea what kind of shrimp those were, or why there were so many in the same place?

Some of them are Spot Prawns (prawns is what we call shrimp in Canada eh.) But I am not sure about the rest. At one point, inside a sponge, there is a prawn like critter, with long thin claw arms spread in a V. Then it scooted back to hide. I'm not sure yet if they especially like the Sponge reef or if they are just as dense every where. There are is a Prawn Fishery throughout the Georgia straight though.

I already had the ROV prepared and ready to go since I had a couple aborted expeditions in the last month. I didn't even take any pictures.

Expedition Background

On my previous expedition near Passage Island, I found what I thought were corals. I had technical and biological difficulties, some of which have been addressed, and I wanted to get better footage. I also wanted to test the changes and repairs I made to the ROV.


Haha, Biologically challenged? Are you referring perhaps to sea sickness?

Is this using one of your deep capable bots or a stock ROV?

That is the specific challenge I was stepping around yes.
I am using the deeper diving modified OpenROV. It really is just a standard OpenROV with some minor changes, mostly in material thickness. :D