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OCEAN71 was commissioned by the Octopus Foundation to visit the small Italian island of Lampedusa, where is located one of the main medical centers for marine turtles in the Mediterranean sea. Here, we will follow and document innovative medical treatments and scientific studies, all aimed at better understanding an ancient animal whose origins date back 250 million years. Further information: http://octopusfoundation.org/en/project/sea-turtle-lampedusa-clinic/
As requested in one of the comments, I've posted a photo of the area. I took this while climbing up one of the unnamed mountains on the rim of the Tso Kar lake basin. It was lovely summer day, and I managed to get to an altitude of ~20,000ft before I turned around. I made it back well after dark, having had to scramble down some scree, but the trek was worth it. I had a magnificent view of the lake and the scenery is spectacular. That's the lake we're going to be exploring with the OpenROV.
Today was an amazing day! Seven kids joined us for electronics projects, minecraft, and of course the OpenROV build. It started out a little bumpy when we found out that the location we wanted to use wasn’t open until noon. It was a little challenging when the clubhouse wifi was down. But before we knew it, we were working on our first project making drums out of fruit with MakeyMakey. Then it was time to pull out the big guns. Yes, it’s ambitious goal. Give seven 10 to 12 year olds acrylic cement and let them glue together expensive, delicate, irreplaceable (at least by me) equipment. Yeah, I must be crazy. Maybe a love of Legos pays off after all. They pulled out instructions that were picture based, and pieced together plexi-glass pieces as if it were no big deal. My anxiety rose when we broke out the glue, asking myself “what do we do if they glue the pieces together wrong?” But they worked together like a team and carefully, and methodically pieced together their project with ease. Ok, a couple of my fingers may be semi permanently glued together (because I forgot my gloves). But they were inspiring. So this mommy isn’t going to lie, it was a little hair raising last night to think that I was getting ready to lead a gang of my son’s friends in a kick off meeting in STEM Camp. I had a dream last night that I was eaten by five dragons. But to my delight they were angels. We made some new friends like Mr. Steve who is a forensic science student. He’s agreed to support us on as a diver on our mission to the coral reef. Whew, now we can check that one off our list. Thanks Mr. Steve! Till next time, GO NINJAS!
Day 9 of our 2016 Lampedusa mission: back to the wild. Two turtle are ready to be set free. We decide it's a great photo opportunity, especially today with the perfect weather and offshore winds that blow the mist away. The two reptiles are tagged at the center, and loaded on the boat to be brought to Cala Galera, on the south side of Lampedusa. The first turtle is released, and takes off like a jetplane, straight towards the open sea. The second turtle is Sophie, photographed in the previous article. In order to film the first minutes of her new freedom, we equipped her with a underwater camera, the Olympus Tough TG Tracker. The camera is set on time lapse mode, with a picture every second. It's an interesting device that modifies the white balance according to the depth, measured by a pressure gauge. It also takes GPS coordinates that can be retraced on the computer after the recording. Luckily, after release, Sophie stays for a while in Cala Grande and can be photographed both under the water and above, by the drone. After visiting the surroundings, she finally turns towards the open sea and is released of its leash and camera after 30 minutes of controlled swimming. She is now 100% free, and probably appreciating it very much. Maybe one day she will turn up on a faraway coast, and Daniela will receive an email in a strange language, informing her of the feat. Good luck Sophie, and farewell!
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance environmental conservation, scientific research, and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit http://www.moore.org/
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