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Documenting sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation.
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A young researcher in pursuit of forgotten sharks.
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Foraging behavior of the least studied Antarctic krill predator, the Antarctic minke whale

Overview. The seasonal sea-ice influenced marine ecosystem of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is changing rapidly. To understand how climatic changes will manifest in the demography of predators that rely on this habitat, we first require an understanding of their behavior and ecology. The largest ice-dependent krill predator and most abundant cetacean in the Southern Ocean is the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). We will use multi-sensor and video recording tags, fisheries acoustics, and unmanned vehicle systems (aerial and submersible) to study the foraging behavior and ecological role of AMWs in the nearshore waters of the AP.

Recent Observations

We may visit mine again in future when some ROV issues are worked out and push the depth limits of this flooded hole in the ground. Until further notice there are no plans however.

Hello, my name is David Torrejon, I am a rising senior at William Jones College Preparatory High School. This year, I am one of the Far Horizons summer interns working on the Magnetic Underwater Meteorite Sled (MUMS Jr.) For the first couple of weeks of the internship, I was concerned about my role as a Far Horizons summer intern, considering I was not that well acquainted with tools and had not taken any engineering classes at school. Fortunately, I was taught by my supervisor and my fellow peers how to properly and efficiently operate tools and how to navigate through Tinkercad, a 3-D design tool utilized to design prototypes. It was initially a struggle, however, it proved to be an arduous yet amusing challenge. In fact, I can now comfortably operate these tools and feel confident teaching my peers how to safely use these tools. Last week we analyzed the design of the Magnetic Underwater Meteorite Sled (MUMS Jr.) and proposed suggestions for improving the device, we have dedicated this entire week to prototyping the final design of the device so that we can reassess the effectiveness of it through more trials at Northerly Island. This week, we primarily focused on the structure of the device to increase the likelihood that we will collect meteorite fragments. We evenly distributed three PVC columns along the lengths of the sled. These will serve as adjustable attachment points for our magnetic bar. Using a drill press, we drilled holes, whose diameter measured 5 millimeters, vertically along the columns, at one inch intervals. Our magnet bar, which carries four, two square centimeter Rare Earth Magnets that stretch across two opposing columns. We first planned to have multiple magnets at different heights because the fragments’ iron content ranges from 4-10% and differ in sizes. Our team also built a bumper in front of the sled to prevent any fragments from the meteorite from being knocked off the magnet by large rocks and to reduce the likelihood that a large object damages the magnets. We constructed the bumper out of PVC pipes and highly durable shock resistant rope. It was a thrilling experience for our team, as we tested the Magnetic Underwater Meteorite Sled (MUMS Jr.) this past Friday at Northerly Island. Based on the trials, our team concluded that we needed to modify some aspects of the sled. During the trials, when we placed the sled in the water, our team noticed that the sled was tilting forward. As a result of the tilt, the mouth of the bar magnet was being congested by the sand, preventing any of our artificial meteorite fragments from attaching to the bar magnet. To solve this issue, we are considering using a movable magnetic bar, or perhaps converting our “bar” to a wheel or sorts. After completing the trials, our team will use our observations to improve the sled. Kachow for now.

Straight as an arrow! When we spoke over Skype, Breskell skipper Olivier was pretty clear. He said (something like) "I'm planning to take the shortest route possible - straight across to Newfoundland, then up the coast to the shortest point from which to make the crossing to Greenland." Well, Olivier certainly seems to be sticking to the plan - here's a screengrab of SpotTracker updates from Olivier and the crew on SV Breskell as they've headed more or less East-North-East from Virginia on their course for the past 4 days. It gives you some idea of the direct route they're taking, the good speed with which they're travelling, and (on the main map) how far they have yet to go. For now the winds look to be behind them - the best place for it - and not too strong. Personally I'm a bit jealous I'm not there watching the big reaching sails do their work, but we're only a few short weeks away from meeting them in Kangerlussuaq. Sailors are superstitious folk so we'll do our best not to influence any of that - but if you're interested in checking out the weather forecasts, head here: http://www.weather-forecast.com/maps/Newfoundland?over=pressurearrows&symbols=cities.forecast.dots&type=wind And you might like this cool but not so 'current' ;) map of water movement in the area here (it's updated every 5 days): https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/ocean/surface/currents/orthographic=-59.35,41.55,2301

Day 1 of the teaching program! We didn't get underway today, because of some very soupy fog. Instead we took a road trip up to the Booth Bay Sea and Science Center, where we'll be working with some Mizzens (5-9 years old) and Stays'ls (10-14 years old). The plan is to sail up there tomorrow and continue the program with the kids on Thursday. We got ready in the morning by sorting out our curriculum for the day: The group is trying to push the curriculum a little bit further this year and tune it in so that it has a real impact with the kids. We made some games for them to play, decided on the structure of the talk, and then figured out our teams for when we split them into small groups. After the morning meeting, there was a safety briefing and lunch preparation. Talking through man overboard drills on a sailboat really steels the nerves! I'm still hoping for some exciting time underway, though maybe not too exciting. At Booth Bay, we got started with a bang! The kids were super engaged and almost immediately started talking about the debris issues they see in their area, like old foam falling off the docks and into the ocean. Ashley and my little group had a lot of fun playing "I'm going to a cleanup" and trying to remember all the pieces of trash that their groupmates had mentioned. I found out my memory is even worse than I thought. We also had the kids un-jumble a quote from the Lorax, and discovered some serious Dr. Seuss fans. After the introductory games, it was on to the Data Cleanup. The data cleanup is a simple idea - we clean an area, then count and catalog the debris that we find. The area that we cleaned with the kids today had been cleaned last year and a few years earlier, so we'll be able to compare the trash across that time. The kids did great, though the smallest ones had a little trouble with the gloves. To bring it to the next level with the kids, Rachael wanted to have an element of creativity in the program. With the older kids, this can be focusing on real solutions they can work on in their communities. With the younger kids, we left it a little more open, so each of the three groups came up with something different. My group is forming a band using instruments made from the debris we found - it's called Band Ahoy! and I can't wait to perform with them on Thursday! Back on the boat we honored the tradition of American Promise by watching Around Alone, the movie about Dodge Morgan and his solo circumnavigation under sail. What a heavy film! Definitely recommend watching it, especially if you can do it while ON the boat! That's all for today, gonna get some rest so I can help sailing tomorrow!

We are just about to end two weeks of sampling and monitoring the rocky intertidal zone of the Schoodic Peninsula of Acadia National Park. Eight citizen scientists from Los Angeles County high schools helped us sample quadrats and transects at 13 sites around the peninsula. We are still working on the Robomussels, aka Shellborgs, and hope to have them in place soon.

This is a really special project for me as I embark into the deep. So much is left unanswered when we talk about our oceans. I believe that key to protecting them is exploration. Its hard to imagine why one would protect something when it is unknown. Its been said that we know more about space than we do our planet ocean. I may not be able to explore everything but I'm going to do my best to find humpbacks mating in the wild and or giving birth. I'm very excited to have the largest indoor art installation at ArtPrize 2017. I'm looking to raise $100,000 for this massive art installation. Its the only way I know how to immerse people in this subject enough to make them feel like I do when in the ocean.

We had an amazing Cal Coast Snapshot at Pelican Cove over 30 volunteers showed up by 7:30 am ready to go. It was wonderful to see returning faces with new friends and many new participants. We focused on areas we didn't get as many observations last year. The Together we collected 510 observations representing 26 species. Two unusual for the area (Tegula brunnea and Trimusculus reticulatus). All the observations are posted at iNaturalist Pelican Cove Bioblitz 2017.

We made a trip many years ago. It was the first expedition on OpenExplorer, in fact: https://openexplorer.com/expedition/seaofcortez Our goal was to follow the steps of John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts, who had made a similar trip almost 75 years earlier. Their trip was an expedition of curiosity, a group of friends sampling and collecting species down the coast of and up through the Gulf of California. The results of the trip became, in addition to the scientific work, a book: The Log from the Sea of Cortez. The book is one of my favorites. Our first trip was something different. We wanted to test out the emerging citizen science tools that we and our friends had built. It wasn't a serious scientific expedition. This trip has similar goals: we want to show just how far these tools have come in the past few years. "For many little errors like this, we have concluded that all collecting trips to fairly unknown regions should be made twice; once to make mistakes and once to correct them." - John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez

Erika can now cross "Surfing a Submarine" off the things shes done ! A little behind the scenes of a recent dive; We follow all sorts of safety procedures while operating Stingray and while operating on the Ocean all sorts of things can happen at anytime at a moments notice (as any ocean going person should know), which leads us to this image... A displacement hull power vessel, while encroaching into our operational space as designated by a surface support vessel displaying not 1, but 2 internationally recognized "Diver Down" Flags, was kind enough to provide significant wake to help keep us on our toes, or more specifically, Erika (as over dramatized in the picture). Although Stingray is a stable, High Freeboard Platform, and inherently waterproof (its a prerequisite for a HOV submersible), when stepping onto the aft deck one needs to pay attention to the surroundings and only experienced crew members attending operation business will do so. While some boaters give our team a wide berth and observe our dive flags, many (if not most) do not. We would ask that, if you are operating in any area where a vessel is displaying a diver down flag, to stay clear (150m minimum) and be considerate of the wake your vessel may be spreading and how it may impact others. You may never be aware or know what may be happening in the immediate area but by being courteous you might just help prevent injury or damage to the operation and its tools. Please become familiar with the rules and regulations in your area so we can all stay and play safe !! Thanks Location : Near the mouth of Howe Sound, Vancouver, British Columbia context : Returning from a scouting visit at 420 ft below sea level Diver Down Flag Wikipedia Article : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diverdownflag

Background Like their shallow-water cousins, deep-sea corals support a high diversity and abundance of life, including many fish and invertebrates of commercial importance. Their dark, cold, nutrient-poor habitat means that deep-sea corals grow extremely slowly, though they can live to great age – a black coral taken off Hawai’i was estimated to be 4,265 years old, and thousand-year old specimens are common. Deep-sea corals are globally threatened by the expanding footprint of bottom trawling. A single pass of a trawl net can destroy a coral habitat that has taken millennia to grow. Consequently, the United Nations has declared that deep-sea corals and their associated ecosystems need immediate protection from destructive fishing practices. The challenge is to find the corals before they are trawled so that they can be protected. Since the seafloor is far less well known than the surface of the moon, scientists have turned to modeling to predict where deep-sea corals are likely to occur. In the summer of 2016, Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE) attempted to locate deep-sea corals off the California coast using a model-based approach developed specifically for the US West Coast by scientists in the United States and the UK. The attempt was unsuccessful – no corals were detected at any of the sites predicted by the model to be likely coral habitat. Project Description MARE believes that the ability to predict and verify the location of deep-sea corals can be rapidly and substantially improved, with important implications for the conservation and management of these fragile ecosystems. We propose to demonstrate this via a two-year pilot effort to locate and map deep-sea corals within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) off the coast of California. MARE staff, working in partnership with scientists in the US and elsewhere, will apply machine learning algorithms to our large existing data set, derived from 13 cruises over the past decade focusing entirely or in part on documenting corals off the California coast. Once analyzed, these data will be used to develop new predictive maps as the basis for further exploration. The revised predictive maps generated by our algorithms will be ground-truthed and validated by direct observation using our fleet of robotic deep-sea exploration vehicles. Data collected will be analyzed and fed back into our predictive algorithms, further enhancing their accuracy. Key outcomes of this project will be precise maps and supporting video documentation of corals within the CINMS that can be used as the basis of future management actions, and a more robust and cost-effective method of documenting the occurrence of corals elsewhere in the world.

This expedition will build on existing work done by Glen Dennison on the glass sponge reefs. Glen is an ocean explorer and citizen scientist and he has personally discovered ten of the known sponge reefs in Howe Sound. He has done this through both air-gas diving, and the use of a low-cost drop-camera system. Over the years, Glen has mapped many sites in Howe Sound and has collected hours of drop-camera footage on the sponge reefs. The bathymetric data, in combination with the drop-camera footage can be used to visualize the boundaries of the glass sponge reefs; as well as map relative sponge coverage throughout the reef. Recently, a group of students at Fleming College worked in collaboration with Glen to create a bathymetric map and relative density surface of the East Anvil Island glass sponge reef. This was done by extracting still images from drop-camera video data and classifying the geo-referenced images. The goal of this project is to build upon existing work and contribute to existing datasets. We will produce higher resolution maps of the glass sponge reefs using the ROV in combination with the plethora of data already collected by Glen.

Sea trials utilizing the ROV and DP vessel were conducted recently at Cherry Lake, CA, still on schedule for Tahoe in August

Across the steppes of eastern Kyrgyzstan, nomadic communities are seeing their traditional lifestyle disappear. Facing receding glaciers, declining precipitation and expansion of urban centers, nomadism often results in poverty. However, in a small village in Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul region, a nomad named Emil Ibakov is taking an innovative approach to preserving his traditional culture and lifestyle. Emil is attempting to keep nomadism alive by integrating it into a new adventure sport: “Backcountry-Horse-Skiing.” Rooted in 2,000 years of heritage, backcountry-horse-skiing fuses equestrian traditions of the Central Asian steppe with modern alpine ski-touring. Using yurt camps as bases, participants ride steppe horses up the mountains with skis strapped to the horses’ backs, and then riders backcountry ski the alpine terrain. It creates a hybrid outdoor experience that allows Emil to practice steppe culture, while attracting travelers to Kyrgyzstan and teaching them about his traditions. Krygyz nomadic culture is disappearing because steppe lifestyle (yurts, mobility, horsemanship) is increasingly unlivable. Nomadism is a food producing economy, relying on climate patterns to move livestock. Droughts and land degradation mean modern nomads find it hard to move around, causing poverty and agricultural uncertainty that forces abandonment of steppe life for the city. Because the lifestyle core to nomadic culture is disappearing, nomads are looking for new ways to make a living while maintaining their culture. Recognizing adventure tourism as one of the fastest growing sectors in Kyrgyzstan’s economy (World Travel and Tourism Council 2016), Emil is attempting to preserve nomadic traditions by blending them into a new adventure sport he can share with local communities and travelers. He hopes backcountry-horse-skiing will help steppe culture survive and influence the modern world. How can backcountry-horse-skiing preserve nomadic culture? The traditional steppe horse is unique from any other breed, making its mastery core to Kyrgyz nomadism. Unlike sedentary breeds, steppe horses survive on grass and have unique hooves that kick through ice and snow to climb alpine terrain (like crampons or ski-skins). Moreover, skiing and alpinism is recently integrating into Kyrgyz identity. With 80% of the country covered in mountains, the Soviet Era brought outdoor education, mountaineering, and ski resorts to Kyrgyzstan. In the post-Soviet period, there is now a knowledge transfer of alpine skills to today’s nomads. Combined with post-Soviet resurgence of nomadic nationalism, the dual legacy of horsemanship and alpinism creates a ripe environment for backcountry-horse-skiing. This story uniquely highlights Kyrgyz nomadism and the invention of a never-before-seen hybrid sport. Most narratives about Central Asia focus on the Mongolian Empire or Silk Road, while countries like Kyrgyzstan are rarely shown. The few narratives about Kyrgyzstan focus on its terrain and outdoor sports, but lack social and cultural context. I want this story to humanize Kyrgyzstan, showing adventure sport and geotourism from the perspective of its inventors and specifically documenting the new invention of Backcountry-horse-skiing. Instead of painting Kyrgyz nomads as victims to modernity, this story focuses on the nomads innovating traditions to preserve them. Aside from the impending disappearance of Kyrgyz steppe culture pressing the timeliness of this project, this story also comes at a time when the concept of “nomad” is pop-culturally relevant. With yurts touted as “glamping,” and “digital nomad” used to describe today’s remote tech worker, there is a unique opportunity to educate audiences about the history and people behind these trends. Finally, the Issyk-Kul Region in Kyrgyzstan is becoming a hub for adventure sports in Central Asia (World Travel and Tourism Council 2016). Its nomads are at an inflection point in the economic role they play in Kyrgyzstan’s tourism. Unfortunately, indigenous peoples’ roles in shaping their country’s tourism industry is often overlooked, allowing for later exploitation. An example, which I work on first-hand, is the Sherpa of Nepal’s Khumbu Region and the high but hidden price they pay on Everest expeditions from years of being downplayed in the Everest narrative. I worry a similar fate for Kyrgyz nomads if we fail to capture their influence on Kyrgyzstan’s adventure tourism. This project’s goal is to highlight a disappearing nomadic culture and the invention of an adventure sport as a tool for that culture’s preservation. It also aims to tell the story from the perspective of an innovator within the community at risk. While I’ve researched adventure tourism for sustainable development over the last 5 years, there is a lack in field research about its effects on cultural preservation. I see this project as a crucial first step for enhancing this knowledge and for showing audiences some of the most innovative ways communities are using tourism to survive. I hope sharing this story of ingenuity inspires other communities reconciling their traditional livelihoods with modernity. I also hope this story is a call to action for consumers of adventure tourism. What may be an adrenaline-inducing travel experience for one person, is a fight for the cultural preservation and livelihood of a community. I want this project to make us more thoughtful travelers, looking beyond the mountains we climb and ski to understand the cultures and and histories behind our exploration. A final objective is to drive more traffic to community-based geotourism in Kyrgyzstan, as these initiatives are crucial for the cultural and economic survival of nomadic communities. In terms of capacity building, the project’s beneficiaries are the communities of Issyk-Kul Region, specifically in Karakol and Jyrgalan and Ak-Suu valleys. These communities increasingly rely on tourism for their livelihood and will gain from exposure to global audiences. Kyrgyzstan was recently ranked in the top 10 countries for a tourism boom by 2025 , as its contribution of tourism to GDP is one of the fastest growing globally (World Travel and Tourism Council 2016). I hope this film will not only increase Kyrgyzstan’s tourism, but also enhance tourism infrastructure development, a current barrier to tourism growth. Moreover, the UN World Tourism Organization noted adventure tourism as a unique tool for enhancing cultural heritage and raising awareness about biodiversity and conservation (United Nations World Tourism Organization 2014). This project’s potential to increase adventure tourism in Kyrgyzstan can help combat environmental concerns threatening the preservation of nomadic culture. Lastly, this film could bring additional outdoor vocational resources to the region. Increased training can fuel geotourism ventures and increase the safety margin for guides and tourists. Kyrgyzstan’s Community Based Tourism Association (CBT), which employs and trains nomads, will especially benefit. I hope a film in which an indigenous population is innovating its country’s tourism will fuel capacity building at a grass-roots level and avoid future exploitation of nomadic communities.

They hide in the seagrasses of the murky waters of various lagoons around the Mediterranean or the Atlantic. The male caries the eggs and gives birth. They are a family of fish with a very peculiar way to move, eat and hide. It's the seahorse, one of the most iconic animals of our seas and oceans. Known to most of us since a very young age, they are surprisingly absent from the shelves of the scientific departments. In Europe, as they were never consumed or used in the industry, nobody bothered to thoroughly study them. Today, the French association Peau-Bleue decided it was time to fill the gap of knowledge. And the Octopus Foundation is part of the adventure.

Approved! :) As we move forward with the pilot, I will be updating the open explorer page as well as my Instagram! Hiruni's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hirunisenarathdassanayake/ Stay tuned to our passion based adventure :)

Project Pegasus Part 8 – The Great Plunge Nearly three months of planning, preparation, and hard work have gone into this fateful day: Pegasus’s first plunge in salt water. From day one, when we opened our kit and started assembling our little ROV, the team has talked of almost nothing else. All of our hopes and aspirations rested on a successful first flight in salt water. In order to make sure everything went smoothly, we decided to test Pegasus in the shallow and protected waters of Mission Bay. On a cold and overcast Wednesday afternoon Project Pegasus team members set off on one of SDSU’s small boats, with the help of boat-handler extraordinaire (and fellow grad student/Edwards Lab mate) Tristin McHugh. We anchored in a shallow cove and prepared Pegasus for a fateful first dive. As it turns out, we experienced quite an emotional rollercoaster. All systems were a go; however, as we moved to drop our ROV in the water the camera image seized (much like our previous issue with the lasers). After rebooting the system, we tried again; and just like the first time just as we were about to drop Pegasus in the water the camera froze again. This happened not once, not twice but fives times! After our sixth reboot we decided to go for it…resulting in a flawless 35min dive! Our first “flight” of Pegasus took us on a tour of the murky water, through seagrass beds and around the boat. We quickly learned the nuances of a successful flight. As it turns out, Pegasus is a little heavy! Our negatively-buoyant ROV requires a lot of thrust to propel it through the water. We even learned what to do in the event of “entanglement” in environmental hazards, such as seagrass! After three months of I’m delighted to say Project Pegasus is a success. I’m incredibly proud of all of the hard work, dedication, and cohesion displayed by Project Pegasus team members. We all learned a suite of skills along the way, adding new tools to our toolboxes. However, it’s now time to pack up Pegasus in preparation for the Edwards Lab’s second research expedition to the Aleutian Islands. Stay tuned! There will be plenty of updates from the Aleutians. And when we get back in the Fall Project Pegasus will meet again to discuss a whole host of new projects for Pegasus. Thanks for following us along this incredible journey! Cheers, Baron von Urchin

The Center for Great Lakes Literacy, Great Lakes Sea Grant Network and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will host 15 4th-12th grade teachers and non-formal educators to work beside scientists performing Great Lakes research July 8-14, 2017. Stops in ports (including the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary) will include additional science experiences. The workshop will offer first-hand explorations of Lake Huron ecology, geology, geography, weather and biogeochemical processes, with particular emphasis on human impacts. Participants will collect planktonic and benthic organisms as well as conduct water quality data collection and analysis.

Lake Casitas, located 12 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, is a small reservoir that serves coastal Ventura and the rural community of Ojai, California. The result of a 1952 United States Bureau of Reclamation water requirement and supply study, the lake was inundated in 1958. While today we continue to suffer Stage Three drought conditions, the lake’s lower water levels does offer us an opportunity to more easily uncover some of the Ojai Valley’s recent past. When the lake filled, it gradually covered ranches, roads and an old school. Using the OpenRov 2.8, local newspaper articles and interviews with the few local residents who lived in the area before our reservoir was created, students will prepare a story with photographs and personal accounts, which we will donate to the Ojai and Ventura Historical Museums for their use in perpetuity. We will conduct interviews and operate the rover in accordance with the accounts we acquire in order to create a photographic essay that will accompany the written accounts of the interviews.

The Kraken performed well this past weekend-- Most successful dive yet! I have a lot to learn about video post production I admit. But, I was eager to get footage of our dive from Phippsburg, ME online. Upgrades: The new strong tether worked really well. We also upgraded our tether management system with the introduction of threaded disconnects and an extension cord reel. I need to improve the tether strain relief system since it has a tendency to slip and put tension on the communication wires. Good times!

St. Pauls Monastery Guest HouseThe edge of the coral reef was a bit of a swim from the shore (~500m) through a shallow lagoon. Coral was very nice. Giant clams the size of footballs were a highlight. Not a lot of fish around but it was quite wavy which didn't help the visibility.

And that's a wrap! Bon voyage from a Coho born this Spring 2017. SPAWN spent its Spring mornings counting juvenile salmonids swimming to sea for the first time (smolts) because this life stage will be a make-or-break point for the year class. Decades of research have proven salmonid populations are about as successful as their smolt life stage is in freshwater. A healthy aquatic ecosystem will produce fat, healthy smolt populations expressing a full range of the phenotypes and adaptations in that gene pool. Smolt monitoring tracks how fat, healthy and abundant an out-migrating salmonid population is. A population with a full arsenal of adaptability has the capacity to respond and survive environmental changes like temperature fluctuations and precipitation variability. If a wild stock of salmon, such as the juveniles we counted this Spring, is able to maintain it's full range of diversity and genetic variations, it will retain the capacity to adapt.

We're navigating a new plan for today based on the small craft advisory that the National Weather Service issued for the Manitowoc and Two Rivers area. Five to eight-foot waves on Lake Michigan are not conducive to lakebed mapping or shipwreck exploring! We're still meeting with our teachers and students at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum to pilot the ROV from the dock, and for some beach activities and seining nearby with Titus Seilheimer, UW Sea Grant fisheries outreach specialist. We'll meet at 2 p.m. as planned at the R/V Storm docked at the museum to discuss the lakebed mapping project with our teachers, students and any reporters who would like to learn more. Looking forward to a great day in Manitowoc!

This orthophotoplan made with one of our drones in 2016 is the basis of our 2017 mission. We will use our scubadiving gear as well as the brand new Trident to explore and document the underwater remains. Every aspect of the mission will be conducted under the supervision of an underwater archaeologist, Krisztian Gal.

On March 21st, the Viking Explorers went to the Fire Island Lighthouse. At the lighthouse, we explored the Lighthouse Museum and saw how the original lens of the original Fire Island Lighthouse, built in 1826. The lens is a design called a Fresnnel lens, afterthe famous scientist Augustin-Jean Fresnel. His design used cuts of shapes in glass a certain way which would magnify light so people could see a kerosene lamp from miles away. This allowed sailors to be guided to Fire Island during storms or fog. We also had the opportunity to climb into the new Fire Island Lighthouse, built in 1858. There we looked over the edge with our 360 video cameras and saw the light within the lighthouse, at the very top. After that, we brought our ROVs to the Great South Bay, where we found beautiful green sea lettuce at the bottom of the bay. The video link has been attached to this post.

How will the African Marine MegaTransect work?In oder to be effective, the African Marine MegaTransect Expedition is designed to create a database that is comparative to the database created in 2012/13 by the same team in order to calculate change in time. This is critical because we do not know how much time we have left before the coral reef can't sustain coastal communities anymore. In fact it is possible that we have already passed that stage.  The key message from this expedition in building scientific capacity and defining actionable management plans is COMPARATIVE DATA AND TRENDS associated that link into climate change models and discussions and takes into consideration social data. This is our goal, we will be more empowered with this data, it should have been done years ago, with all the aid money the various nations have received for marine resource management.  The African Marine MegaTransect has been broken down into 5-phases, which will be implemented from November 2017 - December 2018. These phases include: Pre-Expedition phase June 2017 - November 2017: This will include planning, logistics, permit applications, team development, technology training, data platform development and media campaigns. Sea going survey phase November 2017 - March 2018: Core data driven survey using various technologies to measure coral reef health and coral reef fish biomass, abundance, diversity and abundance (the key measurements needed for management and conservation).  Land mission phase November 2017 - March 2018: To gather social data and also to sample commonly eaten fish in local fishing markets to determine fish toxicity due to plastic assimilation.  Post-Expedition phase April 2018 - December 2018: Data analysis, open accessing the data and discoveries, writing policy recommendations, publishing scientific documentation, media campaigns, develop an MPA management/recovery strategy.  Equipment purchase phase: Phase 5 is really about purchasing the right equipment, doing the necessary training and software checks. It is a continuous process. 

The seasonal sea-ice influenced marine ecosystem of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is changing rapidly. To understand how climatic changes will manifest in the demography of predators that rely on this habitat, we first require an understanding of their behavior and ecology. The largest ice-dependent krill predator and most abundant cetacean in the Southern Ocean is the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). Despite their abundance, virtually nothing is known of the foraging behavior or ecological role of this species. Thus, we lack the knowledge to understand how climate- driven changes will affect these animals and therefore the dynamics of the ecosystem as a whole.Intellectual Merit. We will use multi-sensor and video recording tags, fisheries acoustics, and unmanned vehicle systems (aerial and submersible) to study the foraging behavior and ecological role of AMWs in the nearshore waters of the AP. We pose the following research questions: What is the feeding performance of AMWs? How important is sea ice to the foraging behavior of AMW? How do AMWs feed directly under sea ice? We will use proven tagging and analytical approaches to characterize the underwater feeding behavior and kinematics of AMWs. Combined with visualizations and quantitative measurements of the prey field, we will measure the energetic costs of feeding and determine how AMWs optimize energy gain. Using animal-borne video recording tags and robotic technology we will assess the quantity and quality of sea ice foraging habitats and determine how feeding that occurs directly under sea ice differs from open water feeding. This knowledge will: (1) significantly enhance our knowledge of the least-studied Antarctic krill predator; and (2) be made directly available to international, long-term efforts to understand how climate-driven changes will affect the structure and function of the Antarctic marine ecosystem. Our educational and outreach are to increase awareness and understanding of: (i) the ecological role of minke whales around the AP; (ii) the effects of global climate change on an abundant but largely unstudied marine predator; (iii) the advanced methods and technologies used by whale researchers to study these cryptic animals and their prey; and (iv) the variety of careers in ocean science by sharing the experiences of scientists and students. These will be achieved by delivering continuous near-real-time delivery of project events and data to informal audiences through pervasive social media channels, together with a traditional professional development program that will provide formal STEM educators with specific standards-compliant lesson plans. These traditional products will be delivered through the established Scientific Research and Education Network (SCiREN) program in North Carolina.

Finally got out into the wild again. And ... learned some more lessons! The first thing that went awry was on the top side communication box. Putting the wires the little box that has the springs to hold the wires in fell apart. After a moment of despair, I settled in to getting back into working order, and succeeded. Though, I'll have to work out some way to keep it in place... One could easily drop a piece in the wrong place. *My tether management system. * Turns out I hadn't quite thought it all the way through, and I'd not actually tested it. I ended up laying out a length and just seeing how far I got. Once I got it home, I did a little reworking of my winder and I think have it in a good place again. *Control direction. * My controller is working in the exact opposite way that feels natural so it was difficult to feel I was getting anywhere. I later realized I could have just turned it upside down and been happy, but I ought to figure out how to adjust the code for that. Testing it is a bit of a pain though, so almost might as well just leave it as is. Tether+rocks=bad Luckily due to my earlier constraints I did not get very far, but rocks, even small ones were proving problematic. My next test, I'll have to pick an area a little more devoid of rocks. But having better control will at least allow me to go back. Also having someone doing a little bit more tether management with me would be useful. * Scummy water * makes for crummy visibility! Be careful where one drops the rover in, I guess! (another negative for Lake Merritt perhaps given concentrated run off) *Vertical Engine trouble * The biggest downside to my run -- my vertical engine was working fine for about 10 minutes then decided to stop working. Can't quite tell what went on here, it was working fine when I got it home again after cleaning, so maybe it was just jammed by a little piece of debris. More soon.

Shark Stewards is collaborating with the National Park Service at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park to assess marine species and habitat in Aquatic Cove and develop new opportunities for youth and public education. This program will include cataloguing marine species from invertebrates to sea birds, on pilings, the municipal pier, in the cove including subtidal habitat using a Trident ROV by Open Explore. Eelgrass beds will be mapped in the cove using the ROV along transect lines in a baseline survey. Using the mounted camera species will be recorded and identified both along the bottom and on pilings. to compile a list of marine life in the Park. Eelgrass, Zostera marina, is a foundation species critical for the health of the Bay, sequesters carbon, and provides critical foraging, nesting and habitat for many species including the endemic nudibranch Phyllaplysia taylori. Eelgrass beds have been greatly impacted inside the San Francisco Bay. Aquatic Park provides ideal habitat for eelgrass beds and the plant has been identified visually, yet no mapping has occurred. Viktoria Kuehn, a masters student in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of San Francisco will conduct the initial survey in the cove. This baseline survey will provide invaluable information and will be repeatable over time to determine change in the marine ecosystem.

After one season gone in Myanmar we got to properly test our Open ROV and it was great to have it on board! The video below is part ROV part diving underwater footage but if you browse our channel you will find lots more! Working on a complete Open ROV video right now and hope to get it online soon! All that being said the rov did make life easier and better giving us a chance to explore the seabed below the 40m mark and giving us more insight in the marine life deeper down!

Derelict fishing traps continue to catch wildlife for years after they are lost. This "ghost fishing" is a huge problem for coastal wildlife, and the traps are hard to find and recover on a large scale. We are using image recognition software and our OpenROV, "Bill Murray", to develop a new and possibly more effective search and recovery process. Who are we? Four current and former UF students: two ecologists, an engineer, and an environmental scientist, interested in solving conservation problems by taking advantage of the powerful technologies that are now becoming cheap enough to use. We are grateful to TIES, a part of the State Department, for our grant funding. Why is our robot named after the guy from Caddyshack? We will use our OpenROV to attach a tether to ghost traps, allowing them to be pulled aboard our vessel by a winch. It is named Bill Murray in honor of his role as Steve Zissou, and because we will be using it to bust ghost traps!

We have been so busy lately but we did not forget about our rover. We have plans for our first real dive in the next couple weeks. We are going to go dive in front of a dam and look for sturgeon. At this point we are finishing our depth sensor.

According to myths and written records, a magnificent city of "Seven Pagodas" or Mahabalipuram flourished in the 7th and 8th centuries on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Southern India. "Before the December 2004 tsunami, evidence for the existence of the Seven Pagodas was largely anecdotal. The existence of the Shore Temple, smaller temples, and rathas supported the idea that the area had strong religious significance, but there was little contemporary evidence save one Pallava-era painting of the temple complex. Ramaswami wrote in his 1993 book Temples of South India that evidence of 2000 years of civilization, 40 currently visible monuments, including two "open air bas-reliefs," and related legends spreading through both South Asia and Europe had caused people to build up Mahabalipuram’s mystery in their minds (Ramaswami, 204). He writes explicitly that "There is no sunk city in the waves off Mamallapuram. The European name, ‘The Seven Pagodas,’ is irrational and cannot be accounted for" (Ramaswami, 206). Anecdotal evidence can be truthful though, and in 2002 scientists decided to explore the area off the shore of Mahabalipuram, where many modern Tamil fishermen claimed to have glimpsed ruins at the bottom of the sea. This project was a joint effort between the National Institute of Oceanography (India) and the Scientific Exploration Society, U.K. (Vora). The two teams found the remains of walls beneath 5 to 8 meters of water and sediment, 500 to 700 meters off the coast. The layout suggested that they belonged to several temples. Archaeologists dated them to the Pallava era, roughly when Mahendravarman I and Narasimharavarman I ruled the region (Vora). NIO scientist K.H. Vora noted after the 2002 exploration that the underwater site probably contained additional structures and artifacts, and merited future exploration (Vora)." Source: Wikipedia

Yesterday our school hosted an Earth Day event for students and their families. This provided an opportunity to let people fly OpenROV #3536 and learn about how we're going to be using it in Guadeloupe. We equipped the ROV with a water sampler - a niskin bottle - and let the people take samples. This allowed us to talk to them about types of water pollution and how we test for them....but most of the questions I fielded were about the OpenROV and its capabilities. We had people of all ages and backgrounds using the ROV. Here are some adorable photos of a two year old controlling it. She got pretty good at up and down, but will need practice to get the hang of the left joystick, Niskin Bottle: Oceanography for Everyone

Mid October 2016, the Octopus Foundation returned to the Italian island of Lampedusa to help the "Lampedusa Turtle Rescue". Once again, we decided to attach the Olympus camera (Tough TG-Tracker) on the back of a marine turtle for half an hour. This time, it is a 34kg specimen that takes us for a ride. Link to the Lampedusa Turtle Rescue Link to the TG Tracker camera

Back in Sydney After a long night with 4 flights, 2 of them red eye flights, I'm back in Sydney. A great trip for sure. More debriefing will follow.

Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) operates an Environmental Monitoring Program with stations that include both meteorological as well as water quality instrumentation in Terrebonne Bay. LUMCON’s monitoring stations offer real-time in-situ coastal environmental data that is available to the scientific community and the general public. While stationary monitoring stations are excellent for collecting long-term time-series data sets, an OpenROV Trident carrying a mini-CTD payload would be ideal for conducting transects and collecting pressure, temperature, conductivity, nutrient, chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen data over a larger area within Terrebonne bay. A Trident/CTD can be used in areas that are inaccessible to a conventional motor vessel. Another advantage of a Trident/CTD system would be collection of water quality data in 3 dimensions by combining horizontal transects with an undulating motion of diving and ascending, in effect creating an undulating CTD without the need for a motor vessel to tow the system and create disturbances in the water column ahead of the CTD. Utilizing real time sensor information we can make the data instantly accessible which allows for easy dissemination of crucial small scale events occurring on a bay wide basis in a time frame that allows for immediate action by interested parties.For summer of 2017, LUMCON’s Environmental Monitoring Program has approached YSI/Xylem concerning purchasing or obtaining a demo EXO1 4-port data sonde with pressure, temperature, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen probes. LUMCON would like to design a mount for an EXO1 sonde, experiment with flight patterns to determine the most efficient speed and pattern for covering the water column along a transect, as well as assess the feasibility of mapping hypoxia across all of Terrebonne bay. (Figure 1. from Batker et al. 2010, Earth Economics)

Channelkeeper expedition with our AnacapaROV - Very successful ocean testing after initial testing in the bathtub and a swimming pool. With our connection to the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper we were offered the opportunity to test the ROV in unison with the educational expertise of the Channelkeeper staff with their "human ROV". They sent divers down with live video and sound and we were able to interact with them and ask questions. We then explored the local Santa Barbara Mohawk Reef just south of Mesa Lane beach and had a spider crab attack the OpenROV. The lights, lasers and motors performed successfully.

Our expedition in coastal Louisiana will in many ways be an analog of our deep-sea experiments investigating wood fall communities. In May of 2017 we will deploy 200 wood packages at 5 sites, 2,000 meters deep in the Gulf of Mexico. Identical wood packages will be deployed in a transect from land to open ocean in Terrebonne Bay with the goal of conducting parallel experiments. Using the OpenROV we will gather environmental data at our experimental sites and conduct frequent visual inspections to learn more about the ecology of wood on sea floor ecosystems in the shallow water habitats of Louisiana. The Trident ROV would be used primarily as a tool to conduct site inspections in an effort to create a time series documentation of the biological and physical associations that a food and structure source creates in shallow water coastal communities. Not only would the Trident be an observation platform for the experimental arrays of wood packages but it would also be invaluable for the discovery of natural wood deposits associated with storm events and coastal erosion. Accessibility to wood fall experiments allow for an in depth investigation of several research questions that can only be addressed with regular video surveys. These include multi-species interactions, habitat use by transient mobile fauna, predator-prey dynamics, encrusting habitat enhancement, regular structure associations, and physical enhancement of benthic habitats. The use of a Trident ROV gives us a freedom unknown for these kinds of manipulative ecological experiments. Knowledge gained from the type of work described above would then enable us to plan a larger scale investigation that would seek to tie metabolic energetics along transects of differing community and resources gradients in the coastal marshes of Louisiana. Potential to develop a strong research program using the Trident ROV allows us to couple multiple lines of research that ultimately would answer basic questions of habitat heterogeneity, linkages between ecosystem structure and function and constrain aspects of the metabolic theory of ecology.

The unique and highly productive Louisiana marine ecosystem is made up of vast coastal wetlands of both abandoned and active deltas that meet the Gulf of Mexico. These productive waters in turn create some of the most productive fisheries in the world. The sheer amount and diversity of life in the teeming coastal waters of Louisiana is hard for many fathom. With an OpenROV Trident, we will bring this underwater diversity to students first hand, while engaging them with exploration and data collection that captures fish population structure and behaviors around structures in a variety of habitats and across seasons.

The last thing I expected when I visited Thoreau’s famous Walden Pond was to find jellyfish. But small, nickel-sized jellies were teaming in the cold October water, underneath a canopy of red and gold leaves. As a scientist who studies jellyfish, I desperately wanted to learn more about these odd freshwater jellies, so I returned to the pond with my high-tech equipment: a net, collecting jars, and a bright green pool noodle. I floated around, freezing, on the noodle for nearly an hour before I found the jellies. These small, clear jellies weren’t spread evenly over the pond like I’d thought; instead, they were all clumped in a single bay at the surface, not far from the stone remnants of Thoreau’s cabin. Though I collected a number of jellies, they did not breed successfully in captivity, and within a few weeks all the jellies in Walden Pond were gone. My chance to study the freshwater jellies that year had passed. Though freshwater jellies seem elusive, they are all over the United States, often appearing and disappearing with little notice. Even though they’ve been reported in 44 of the 48 contiguous united states, we know very little about these animals. For example, all the animals I observed were grouped together in a small area of the lake. Do they passively concentrate in certain parts of a lake, or like the famous golden lagoon jellies on Palau, do they actively migrate throughout the day? If we can locate freshwater jellies effectively, and in multiple different lakes, we’ll have a much better chance of answering these questions. However, floating on a pool noodle in cold water simply is not an effective strategy for finding and studying freshwater jellies. I propose to study freshwater jellyfish, in collaboration with citizen scientists, using a Trident ROV. We will use the ROV to locate jellies in multiple lakes, and examine their distribution and daily movement patterns. Once we find jellies, I will collect them for further study in the lab. I will conduct this work in conjunction with an outreach campaign with the local community. I will alert citizens to the general presence of freshwater jellyfish through op-eds in local newspapers, flyers, and public talks. Citizens will report sightings to me via email or through our expedition webpage, and I will invite them to join me in the field as we locate freshwater jellies with the Trident ROV. With the aid of a Trident ROV and citizen science, we will be able to study these strange and beautiful animals, and hopefully catalyze interest in freshwater jellies and local freshwater ecology throughout the region. (photos: Number 1: The old "old way" of collecting jellies in a pond with a pool noodle Number 2: A freshwater jellyfish, from Wikimedia commons)

The OpenROV V 2.8 had some technical issues and was not used for approximately two years. We got him back to work and tested him in fresh water on the campus of the Kiel university and in the Kiel fjord.

A brief update; we conducted a couple of test immersions in the Baga river, and then tagged along with TerraConscious on one of their eco-friendly dolphin boat rides out on the Arabian Sea, where Matsya was introduced to seawater for the first time. The water was murky, but she dived to the seabed (at a very shallow 10m of depth) and everything worked well. There were no leaks and aside from a few data-glitches on the IMU, all the components worked! I've taken a few segments from the footage recorded by Matsya's camera, and compiled them into a short (~1min) video which should be available below. Next up: Fixing the port motor, finding a source of replacement motors in India, painting the OpenROV frame in a high-visibility colour (so she can be easily located when she surfaces) and getting things in place for future dives.

One of the targets for exploration on our next expedition is a large spring formed by a sinkhole that is located about 600ft/200m above the lake (at 16,600ft/5092m) and at a potentially important location. It's about 30ft/10m deep and such locations were (and are) often considered sacred sites in the Andean cultures. Often called "ojos" or 'eyes', they sometimes received offerings, which were thrown into them. In the photo you see below, the nearly 20,000ft (6100m) mountain of Jatunriti can be seen in the background. The water that flows from its rapidly-receding glacier feeds the lake and, eventually, the Amazon river itself. Since our limited diving gas is precious up there, and our dive gear has to move around on horses, the ROV will be critical for this site. We'll be able to explore the spring to determine if anything might be down there and therefore, if we should even attempt to dive at the site. Diving at these altitudes is serious business. One concern I have are the aquatic plants growing around the edges and walls of the spring. Does anyone have experience with operating an OpenROV around aquatic vegetation? How much of a concern is prop-fouling? If the the propellers do foul, are they easily cleared without damaging the motors?

Testing the wiring harness. And with that, the teardown is complete and we are ready to begin the rebuild!

Can I date post in the past? I have a lot of things I would like to post retrospectively.

Debrief The ice has now melted on Collins Bay, and the ground is starting to thaw out. It will soon be time for more shoreline explorations, but without ice! Some improvements to make on the robot are: Ensure there is threadlock on the set screws Use a longer rope for tether Add flotation devices to robot (just in case) Make a waterproof battery box (just in case) Take still photos on the camera in addition to video; sometimes the footage was a little shaky to get a sharp screen grab Have a handle on the robot for carrying (already done!) Have a smoother pan up/down option instead of directly controlling with joystick Custom wheels for ice A key item we noticed was we should really use the robot's point of view to its advantage. This means taking more photos and videos of the ground underneath, as well as the plants and stunning horizon view. Also, it would have been better if we started out earlier in the day. By the time it was the end and I recorded the outro, it was so dark you couldn't see me. Bringing a tripod next trip is necessary to capture another view point and reduce shake... especially when it's cold outside. All in all, it was an interesting journey to bring the robot into such cold weather and operate it on ice! We can almost dream of glacier explorations... Maybe one day! Special thanks to the Open Explorer community for following this expedition and commenting. It's been nice to share the journey with all of you Here's how you can be a part of Robot Missions! Join in your local shoreline cleanup Support our continuing efforts on Patreon Like us on Facebook for upcoming Field Tests Follow us on Twitter for news

It's a race to confirm the new theory! "Beyond Grand Marais, the Brule River splits at the Devil’s Kettle waterfall. Half of it tumbles down and continues on its way. The rest pours into a dark deep hole in the hill ... and disappears. For years, people have tried to figure out where that water goes. Logs and Ping-Pong balls tossed into the churning cauldron seemed to simply vanish, fueling speculation that the lost branch of the river might flow for miles underground, carrying bobbing debris down to the distant shores of Lake Superior or off to some underground cavern. Now, finally, a researcher from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) thinks he’s cracked the riddle of Devil’s Kettle. “It’s a beautiful optical illusion,” said DNR mapping hydrologist Jeff Green, who first marveled at the wandering waterway during a family trip to Judge C.R. Magney State Park years ago. The disappearing half of the river, it turns out, reappears pretty quickly downstream." http://www.startribune.com/scientists-think-they-ve-solved-the-mystery-of-devil-s-kettle-falls/414996694/

According to a report by the United Nation Food and Agricultural Association, Malaysia is the 9th largest shark fishing nation and has risen to become ranked 3rd globally for shark fin imports. This small nation is having a serious impact on global shark populations in the Coral Triangle, as well as overfishing as much as 90% of its own shark population. However, a strong local movement centered in Sabah Borneo Malaysia is speaking up for sharks and increasing protection. Shark Stewards is supporting this work on the ground in Malaysia helping assess shark fishing, the shark fin trade and conduct a shark survey to determine impacts on sharks and rays. With the Sabah Shark Protection Association, we are striving for increased shark protection, stopping the flow of shark fins and creating marine protected areas for sharks and other species in Malaysian Borneo. Our Shark Shepherd collaboration with marine artist Ben Von Wong working for a no shark and ray fishing policy in Malaysia and supporting dive ecotourism with support from the Ministry of Tourism. Sign the petition. Shark fin soup is widely consumed in the major cities of Malaysia, and Sabah is the major destination for cheap and endangered seafood for Chinese tourists. Shark fins are sold on the streets and in the alleys and finned sharks are evident in all the large fish landings. The fins are sold first, although the meat is generally unpalatable and rendered into lower grade products like fish meal and fish balls. Read an excerpt from our National Geographic Ocean Views blog. Now in the fourth year, the project also is filming a series called Borneo From Below, an online “Funservation” program on marine life produced by the local media production company ScubaZoo. With host Aaron “Bertie” Gekoski the series is adventurous, humorous, and at times like this, dead serious. As part of the series, we are continuing a fish market survey we assisted with the Malaysian non profit Tropical Reef and Conservation Centre (TRACC) to determine how common sharks and rays are being caught here. We are also diving and filming sharks and following the shark from the reef to the plate. This episode is about coral catsharks, but we are finding it more challenging to find them alive than dead. There is increasing concern that Malaysia is adding shark fins to the top of the list of the country's record of wildlife trafficking and trade of illegal wildlife parts like rhino horn, elephant tusk and bear and tiger products. However, media attention is supporting champions in the country and helping bolster Sabah's interest in protecting the environment and supporting dive tourism to save sharks. Restoring and Protecting Reef Habitat Protecting marine habitat is also critical to help save sharks and marine ecosystems here in the Coral Triangle. Dynamite fishing is one of the prevalent factors causing reef destruction. Our work with our partners at TRACC on Pom Pom island is restoring coral reefs, assessing fish populations and reintroducing ground shark species as a pilot conservation project. Students from the University of San Francisco and volunteer divers are helping rebuild reefs with artificial reef structures, and conducting fish surveys to determine efficacy. Preliminary Results During 2015 & early 2016, the local village community divers and the TRACC international volunteers have built a wide range of different reefs at a variety of different sites on Kalapuan island in the Semporna district. In 2016 367 bottle reefs were constructed and installed with approximately 3500 hard and soft corals. The bottle reef system is composed of reef friendly cement, sand reinforced with mild steel, and recycled bottles to provide a solid substrate for coral settlement, reef stabilization and coral planting. As part of the trial we also constructed 12 large turtle reefs; 2 igloos; 12 deep reefs planted with gorgonians and sea fans and over 1500 corals in the nursery. We also built several large bommie / tetris reef structures as a trial of techniques. Many of the bottle and turtle bommie reefs were built and positioned on the Kalapuan community reef site during the Kalapuan environmental and coral planting days. Please support our work so we can help our partners fight for their vanishing sharks and coral reefs. Shark Stewards is a non profit project of the Earth Island Institute.

Better late than never, right? Sometimes work gets in the way of fun. In my last post, I was hoping to have nice weather for tossing the drone up in the air. Well...nope. Turns out it got really cold and windy instead. But we're all intrepid explorers, right? We push on. Despite the lake being choppy and stirring up a lot of silt, I was able to accomplish part of my goals for the day. The hope was to orient using some previous GPS waypoints, and see if we could locate any structures underwater. That obviously was not possible. However, I was able to shoot a lot of photos, and re-orient to the new topography. This was the first time I had been up to the northern(ish) end of the lake since it had flooded and refilled last summer. Turns out, catching 12-15 ft of water can really change the way things look (the northern end of the lake is flatter and shallower, so the water really spreads out). I realized my original plan of hauling gear out in my 17ft canoe, and anchoring on site, will probably not work. The town's location is out in a highly trafficked area, and no longer near the bank...more right out in the middle. I am considering hauling the stuff out to the island and putting that 300ft tether to work. We'll see. Dive time is here. Just need a free weekend with some good weather. Coming soon. (In the photo below, the bridge site should be about 100 yards towards the camera from a point directly between the two islands)

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