205 observations in 27 expeditions
Expeditions Contributed to
The girls leading FL Clean Water were the stellar participants of our Girls Underwater Robot Camp in Pinellas County. Check them out! wlrn.org/post/lesson-marine-science-girls-underwater-robot-camp
Who are we? We are a group of inspired individuals interested in STEM subjects hoping to make the waters of Florida cleaner. We all attended Girl's Underwater Robot camp sponsored by National Geographic, CTAE, Pinellas County School's STEM academies, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium. At this camp we constructed three ROVs that we will be using for expeditions. Typically in March, temperatures are around 76 degrees fahrenheit. Dress in layers. You may get wet, so be prepared for that. Bring shoes you can walk in comfortably and would be okay with getting wet. Wear and bring sunscreen, as well as a hat and sunglasses. It may rain so bring a jacket and/or umbrella. Bring lots of water! Bring snacks, lunch will be provided. During the expedition we will be launching an ROV off of a pontoon boat. We are hoping other explorers will help us find and install a water testing device to test the pH of the water every 3 miles for 9 miles. We will also be using a trash collector device to collect trash at the same intervals. At each interval, we will be spot checking for trash in an area within our tether range, a 100 meter radius. We will then compare the amounts of physical trash to the level of water pollution and see if a relationship exists. We will also continue doing similar expeditions in the same area so we can continue to compare the data over time. On Crystal River, we will be renting a pontoon boat. It will cost between $150 and $200 to rent a 12 person pontoon boat for the day. Catering for the event will cost around $100. Crystal River contains many springs of varying depths, the deepest being around 15 meters. It contains a variety of wildlife including manatees, which are endangered.
For those who supported the Hardshell Labs Kickstarter, exciting news! Post cards are arriving in your mailbox any second! Beautiful drawing Tim, thanks for mine!
Engineering a tool is part of the expedition process, but not the entire process. On the first day of Camp the girls write down their dream expedition target, we build the ROV over two days and on the third day we delve into expedition planning. How much will food cost for each team member? Do we need to charter a boat? Do we need sleeping accommodations? How much is insurance? What type of camera gear will we bring, and who is trained to use it? These are a few of the questions we outline, answer, and then head out to explore!
Dive Logging is integral to any real world expedition. We take notes extensively in the field and at Girls Underwater Robot Camp, we start logging the ROVs stats from the first moment the lights blink awake. When the ROV is ready to dive, Keona steps up to recording dive analytics. As we launch any new tool into the underwater environment we are particularly interested in: The amp draw from each battery pod The internal electronics temperature The external water temperature The ROV's maneuverability to ensure all the ESCs are properly programmed and calibrated And of course checking for lights and live video feed from the camera.
Something happens when the ROV is nearing completion. It gains its own personality. A little piece of everyone who's had a hand in its creation. This time around, the OpenROV took on the personality of the beautiful Arctic Minke whale. With a custom paint job to send it on its first test dive in style!
First steps are often the most gratifying! When it comes to OpenROV 2.8 the first task is to acrylic weld a bag full of 2 dimensional acrylic parts into a recognizable 3 dimensional frame for the ROV. Outfitted in gloves and safety glasses, it's a brilliant way to get the first morning of camp started! Here, Team Brawn moves quickly through construction of the plastic frame of the ROV, while their partner pair, Team Brain, gets started building out the control unit.
For this camp, we have a unique opportunity to build and test our little underwater robot at Deep Ocean Exploration and Research--a working facility that engineers ROVs and submersibles, giving participants a glimpse at a real-world engineering space! This program is limited to 6 ROV Pilots-In-Training to ensure everyone gets a piece of the action while building, testing and piloting the ROV--and documenting along the way. Mentors: Erika Bergman, National Geographic Explorer and Submersible Pilot Samantha Wishnak, Marine Science and Technology Educator Participants: Girls aged 13-17 years old Schedule: Saturday, October 10th to Monday, October 12th Program will run 10:00-3:30pm daily Parents and families are welcome to join us on Monday at 1:00 pm for our micro-expedition off the dock of DOER Marine. Important notes: Participants need to bring own lunches and a reusable water bottle. Snacks will be provided. Sea you soon! thegeecs.com
A fellow explorer has just pointed out that the coordinates are incorrect for our dive sites, which we would made our day just a little longer on our first test day. So thank you Gary! Do you have any suggestions for other interesting targets as close into the mouth of the channel as possible? The weather is my biggest concern, and understanding the difficulties of operating an OpenROV in currents, my concern in Ft. Lauderdale is that the coolest dive sites are all smack in the middle of the gulf stream:
Dive Site Potential dive sites have been identified, including nearby wrecks and reefs, which will offer a platform to teach about ocean wildlife and the threats to the local environment and ocean at large. Although specific dive sites are listed below, the final site will be selected based on oceanic conditions (currents, wildlife abundance, etc.) during reconnaissance dives in the days before the livestream. Hammerhead Reef (best option if currents are strong) Beginning a half-mile south of Port Everglades, Hammerhead Reef stretches for 2.5 miles and ends at the Dania Pier. The base of the reef lies in 80 feet of water on the eastern side and in 60 feet on the western side. The reef rises to as high as 18 feet in some places. Hammerhead Reef contains many undercuts and ledges, which provide shelter for an abundance of tropical marine life. Southern Stingrays can often be found buried in the sand along the edges of the reef. This is a popular drift dive. Wreck of the Jay Scutti • Coordinates: 26.09506’ N & 80.04770’ W • Depth: 70’ to the sand, 56’ to the deck • Description: This 97' Holland Tug Boat was sunk on September 19, 1986. Originally named Airkok from Aruba. This wreck is completely covered in marine life and attracts a lot of different fish. The Jay Scutti forms the middle of the Fort Lauderdale “Wrek Trek”. The Ken Vitale is attached by a chain and lies 100 feet north, while other smaller wrecks are also in the vicinity. Wreck of the Mercedes (Google Preferred Site) • Coordinates: 26.09349’ N & 80.04512’ W • Depth: 90’ to the sand, 60’ to the deck • Description: One of the most famous wrecks in Ft Lauderdale. On Thanksgiving Day in 1984 during a storm, she lost her anchorage and ran aground against a seawall of an exclusive Palm Beach mansion. This 198-foot freighter was sunk in 1985 as part of the artificial reef system. When Hurricane Andrew came, it almost split in half. Most of the center section is destroyed, but the bow is still intact. It is just outside the third reef; which makes this dive one of the best in Fort Lauderdale. Large schools of baitfish are common, attracting both reef and pelagic predators. Wreck of the Mercy Jesus • Coordinates: 26.09635’ N & 80.04747’ W • Depth: 70’ to the sand, 60’ to the deck • Description: The Mercy Jesus is a 90’ Freighter that was sunk in 1998. This wreck is located north of the Ken Vitale Memorial about 120 feet away and northernmost wreck in the Fort Lauderdale wreck-trek. Even though it is a small wreck, it attracts a lot of marine life. A Nurse Shark has made this wreck its home. Wreck of the Hog Heaven • Coordinates: 26.0845’N & 80.04874’W • Depth: 65’ to the sand, 55’ to the deck • Description: 180-foot barge that lies upside down. This wreck was sunk as part of the Artificial Reef System and it flipped while it was making its way to the bottom of the ocean spreading the dredge pipes that it was carrying. Thirty feet north are the remains of the Pacific Reef Lighthouse. Just south you will find 1,200 feet of dredge pipe and concrete bridge beams. This in one of the best dives in Fort Lauderdale because of the abundant marine life that is attracted to the diverse artificial habitat.
In the spirit of a good friend of mine, I have outlined the basic components of our setup using ms paint. It just works.
We will have event headquarters (HQ) set up at Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center (NSU), and the submarine will be a dock on NSU property (see image below). The team running the livestream (Pixel) will be based at HQ, connected to the sub via Ethernet cable. A separate boat will be positioned over the dive site, acting as the base for the ROV. The ROV will be tethered to the vessel. The vessel will be outfitted with an omnidirectional antenna to send the signal/image from the ROV back to the sector antenna at HQ.
Camp Google is a multi-week, multi-themed summer program of activities inviting kids to find for answers to their questions through exploration and discovery. Each theme/week will be sparked by a big question to stoke kids’ curiosities and encourage them to dive deep into learning. Smaller activities throughout the week will lead up to one epic project that invites kids to explore and discover the answer. The theme of the first week of Camp Google will be the Ocean, partnering with National Geographic. The week with kick off with a one-hour livestream with National Geographic and Google as they go on an ocean dive in the Atlantic. Participating kids will explore the underwater environment, interacting with Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle, and Young Explorer Erika Bergman.
Packin' I'm going to pack a carafe of coffee and some grapes. Do you guys at HQ want to bring some hot chocolate packs or something? And then snacks. Boat snacks. Here's our ride:
Mission Objectives: 1) Test Carey’s New OpenROV 2) Test vessel’s Humminbird system for navigation and target acquisition 3) Search for Shipwreck Vessel: 21 Ft. Rigid Inflatable with twin 300 HP Outboards (may not be enough) Itinerary: 11:10 - Meet at Hollis HQ 11:15 - Set up Elise’s Laptop to run Shelly, Test other ROVs as needed 11:30 - Leave Hollis HQ for Oakland Boat Ramp 12:00 - On the Water, input GPS Coordinates of dive target 12:10 - Motor to target (at high speed) 12:45 - 13:30 Use Humminbird System to look for wreck 13:30 - 14:45 “Slop n’ Drop” dives in approximate wreck location 15:00 - Test Additional ROVs, Train Bob and Billy 15:30 - Pack Up 16:00 - Motor back to Oakland 16:30 - Haul out boat, drive back to HQ 17:00 - Depart HQ
We're headed out on San Francisco Bay Today. Forecast looks good, but we'll be moving fast, so dress warm crew!
Line em up and Knock em down. Over the weekend, Monterey hosted a meeting of the minds called e.g. A conference of thinkers and doers. At the end of the #aquanauts session, I did what all OpenROVers do, I took exploration into my own hands. I invited the entire audience to come down to the wharf and explore! Heidi shows off the ROV 'Jules Verne' as we pilot the ROV 'Puck' into Monterey's Famous Kelp.
Return to Islais Creek: When I brought the ROV home from last weeks dives, it was packed up in a plastic garbage bag to keep it from contaminating the pelican case. As per your sanitization recommendations, I put it into the bathtub and washed it down with bleach, twice. I was loosley concerned that the bleach would denature the acrylic pressure housing or cause it to take on a milky, opaque hue, but several days later, it still looks clear. On our last sojourn to shit creek our little ROV 'Puck' threw off the port propeller. So I replaced it yesterday, secured both props with a drop of locktite and then tested it out in our test tank. All the systems were perfectly operational, so I packed it up and off we went!
The Completely True and Pretty Crappy History of Islais Creek. Islais Creek was originally the largest inland body of water, at 5,000 acres, in the San Francisco Peninsula. It was named after the abundant berries that Native Americans would harvest along the banks. Once a pristine creek, things have changed dramatically over the last 150 years. Timeline: 1850s: Source for irrigation water spurred by the Gold Rush population 1870s: Butchertown dump site for cattle carcasses, human waste, and general garbage. Islais Creek picks up the colloquial name "Shit Creek." 1906: Filled with the city's debris from the Earthquake 1950's: The creek hosted the largest sardine cannery in the world, dumping processing waste into the creek. 1990s: Almost entirely filled in. There were discussions of how to clean it up, and a modest park was built. 2000: While drilling an electrical conduit for the Muni Streetcar, a giant sewer pipe, that carried 80,000 gallons of sewage, cracked. The park was flooded and had to be excavated in order to make repairs. It now has the highest levels of PCBs, heavy metals, bacteria, and organochlorines than any other part of San Francisco Bay. We're going to go deploy our trusty ROV "Puck" because frankly we wouldn't touch that water with a ten foot pole. Is it possible to quarantine a robot? What about sanitizing it? We are open to suggestions.
Many cities are built up on waterways, tunnels, rivers, and wetlands. There's water everywhere! These are the missions to see what's happening in places we often overlook.
Sleepy? Awake? During the cold winter months from November to April, desert Tortoises hibernate. Females begin and end hibernating earlier than male tortoises and juveniles generally wake up before the adults. Imagine, several weeks run rampant with juvies. Tortoise activity depends on temperature. While they can survive freezing temps, they are only active when the sun warms the surface up to about 70-90 degrees F. They like to wake up late in the morning, and spend most of their day under shelter. A day of heavy activity may see a tortoise travel a whopping 200 meters.
The Mohave Desert is home to more than lizards and tortoises, desert flowers thrive in the blazing sun. These poppies look like reflections of the sun itself.
We are on the dock at Berkeley Marina with Elise's new ROV Sophia. We set up a Google hangout on Air to test our ability to live stream a dive in the field by using my iPhone as a hotspot for data. I'll post a link to our hangout in a second when we get back to the shop! Getting tons of emails from people who watched! Whoa!
On a return trip to film the kelp forest in Monterey, we encountered an unfortunate problem which crops up in years with poor Sardine Fisheries. http://bit.ly/1GgmD6M
02-25-2015 Up to Cloud Forest Base Camp Felt great this morning (sickness mostly gone). Saddened to leave our amazing lower base camp. As Hannah said we could have stayed at this luxurious camp we built for weeks building all sorts of things. The jungle is a ridiculously inspiring place to work. The biggest challenge is to not be overwhelmed by the possibilities. I think Hannah and I have been tackling all these challenges excellently together. The project, (sharing research, building electronics, designing mobile labs, surveying) is already huge, but we have been helping eachother, watching out for eachother, and tossing ideas around together. Such a luxury having her with us. We walked, or really climbed, with backpacks straight up for 4 hours to the cloud forest camp. One porter carried a full live pig all the way up. They slaughtered and BBQ'd it up here last night. I had never seen such a thing first hand. Only 3 days left to build and explore. *Submitted by Brian Transposed by Erika
Day 2 continued: In Suavala the porters stop and won't continue, so we set up for the night and begin new discussion the possible porters from this village. These discussions last several hours, but we do come to an agreement and plan to set off at 5 am the next morning. In Madagascar things happen early, and after lunch one cant' really expect to get much done. Day 3: We set off and make a good start following a path that leads through further villages. All these villages and farmed land was not here when the French expedition passed through. In 1971 it was all still rain forest! Crawling along burnt tree trunks, through rice fields, attacked by leeches. After only about 11 km the porters stop at a farm and we can't persuade them to continue on the final 4 km to where the French set up their 4th camp be the river, at the base of the mountain. Thus we setup camp to stay the night on the farm. Scarcity of trees makes it hard for Andy and Hannah to find places to hang their hammock tents. Discover a cave with bats and Andy experiments on a large snail crawling up his leg to see what colors of LED light it might have a reaction to. No noticeable reactions to any, even IR and UV.
This just in! Field Journals from the Team, transposed here: Day 1: The expedition begins! We finally successfully pick Andy from the airport in Fort Dauphin. Rush to mechanic to have missing break parts mounted that Andy brought with him from Tana. Quickly to hotel to pack and set off for 120 km drive to Manantan. Five ferry crossing we need to make before dark. Bad luck catching ferries on our side but luck with all the road and car troubles we ran into. Which include bumping and scraping underside on bridges that crack as we cross them, pushing car out of deep sandy water, pumping oil filter day and managing not to tip over. Finally arrive long after dark and eat bread with sardines for dinner. Day 2: No more car. We take three la kana (boats hollowed from single tree trunks) upstream as far as we can go. This takes about 3 hours. The river is beautiful and in the distance we catch fist glimpse of Anoysian range- where we are headed. Our destination starts to feel real and the face that we don't know how to get there maybe even more so. We leave the boats in Analamiar and discussions with locals begin to hire porters who will help carry all our stuff (equipment, gear, food) to our base camps (s). These discussions take time, during which we find out that somebody's father remembers the French expedition that passed through in 1971! We get to talk to this persona and ask him if he remember the route they took and where they set up camp. He unfortunately says it was too long ago to remember. We set off on foot with about 16 porters and only make them until the next village Suarala.
2015-02-24 Got sick maybe I shouldn't have eaten the cold 9 day old meat. Whups. Slept a long time. Frustrating to not be able to do anything. Everyone was very nice to me. Fever broke in the night, now just ache-y. As I am lying here, it occurred to me that many of you might not know about one of the biggest goals on this mission: The Unknown Ant on the Mountain: So, some bad ass french guys were the last people here (even the locals don't go here) in the 1970's. They were studying the forest and also just randomly collecting stuff. They happened to bring back an ant that no one had ever seen before! We are trying to find it! Unfortunately, it lives on the TOP of the mountain, also nobody knows how to get there! Submitted by Brian *Transposed by Erika
Notes from the field, this time with pictograms!! *Submitted by Brian, Transposed by Erika 2015-02-22 Another Fantastic and productie day in the camp. Felt like this had been the day we relaxed the most, looking back, we tackled all sorts of difficult problems. First, it was sunny for the first real time. We went down to the river and managed to clear a long backlog of journal entries. Accidentlally dropped an SD card into the river, but i think it was at least 50% baked up (Lucky I had done that!) We brought our 5 day old muddy clothes down to the river today and swam about this magical place. Hannah and I then jammed on design projects for the day on boulders above the rapids. Project 1 was to try out rope-based aerial photography. One of the chets or guides made a kickass bow and arrow for eel hunting. We are going to try to use it to shoot the rope over, but then decided to just use a rock :) Project 2 was about how to make a sensor triggered by ants. We tried sanding down the edges of fiber optics and wrapping these around trees. Showed some success...continued Continued... working with Brian and Hannah is fantastic. Brian is the craziest most extreme ? I met, and he still makes time for all my side activities. Hannah is always gung ho and has a sharp wit and creative mind that's going to make most projects.......
Day 4: We had just 3km to go to make it to base camp. It took us the entire day. Crossed burnt rice fields on slippery logs. The river was even harder. Giant boulders and stormy rapids made for magnificent videos. But a slippery wet climb. We stop only 200 meters from camp. Our target. Set up camp. Build workspace. Prep for 4 days of Activity transposed by me, Erika. I'm open to other explorer's interpretations of this leaf message. Post below if you read it differently
Since he was built, Puck the OpenROV has already been on some adventures. This week Puck traveled with me to the island of Lana'i, south of Maui in Hawaii, to be the research and exploration tool for Keona and Jasmine. We made plans to head out with a local fisherman, Dan, on his 21 foot open design boat to dive along the coast of Lana'i. The wind and seas were a little heavy, and the new mariners suffered a few bouts of sea sickness, but they still managed to pilot the ROV on the rocky seas. We started out early and first headed straight offshore to sink Styrofoam cups down to 500' and bring them back up, miniaturized by the crushing pressure of the sea. We then headed west towards the light house, and north up towards the Port of Lana'i. Wind and waves were too big for launching our little sub, so we returned to the lighthouse, and searched a mooring amidst the waves crashing inside the little baylet over "The Cathedrals." A series of submerged lava tubes and coral heads. We were thwarted by conditions inside the bay, so we live boated just outside and dove the ROV down about 30 meters. The girls explored the sandy bottom, which was surprising, we all thought it would be lava rock, and were passed by a SHARK! I think it was a black tip reef shark but I need a marine biologist to confirm. As we headed back to harbor we were blessed by the company of huge humpback whales frolicking, tail flipping, spraying, and slapping right next to the boat.
The second day of building went outstandingly smoothly. Though I learned as an instructor that the new 2.7 model is a little different than the 2.6 so the easier steps, in my experience, come first, and Day 2 was a little more complex. The girls arrived for Day 2 jazzed after such a good first build day. They worked in pairs on each of the line items listed on the board. As each of the listed items was completed, the pairs checked of their accomplishments and then pairs sort of naturally switched as larger projects required more people.
Posted on behalf of our intrepid explorer Andrew: In Johannesburg for the penultimate leg of the trip to meet up with brian and hannah. Had a 7 hour layover in London which gave me enough time to bike around, go to the natural history museum (well if I hadn't gotten lost) and managed to snag some ultra last minute electronics for some things I found were incompatible with the rpi box I made for the field. I found that when you are traveling to Madagascar, you end up in a position of envy of all the other travellers you meet :) I still can't totally believe it. What an opportunity! Should be landing in 5 hours, then lots of work to start!
And they're off! Team leader Andrew is packed up and heading out to Madagascar! Stay tuned for posts from Andrew relayed here: Location ATL AIRPORTAIRPORT On my way! It's been one of the strangest days of my life. Spent all last night packing and downloading and charging batteries to bring into Madagascar. Dropped asleep at 5. Back up at 8 for more prep and then a pretty impromptu photoshoot with a local magazine, creative loafing for their cover article (it involved some very fun and strange shots and interviews if you know what my side business is.) Then more packing, and then our campaign on indiegogo just met itsgoal and so got an extra flood of congratulations. My wife came home at 4 and I was still wrangling my mess. But I managed to pull it all together at 630 and make it to the airport. Ill talk more about the weird art of packing incredibly heavy (and suspicious looking ) bags of electronics and navigating airport bureaucracy and security in a later post, but I made it through! Bags are all 55-60 pounds and I have 3 ( this is actually a large reduction from my past Jungle trips!) And one bag is mostly full of electronics that I got Georgia tech to donate to people in Madagascar!
Metadata: Day 1 - 10am to 3pm Air Temp: 67 degrees F Mentors: Erika Bergman, Kira Porter, Samantha Wishnak Number of GEECs (Girls Engineering and Exploration Campers): 6 Ages: 10 - 17 The first step of the day is to go over what we will accomplish in the next 5 hours. It's going to be a high intensity build session, broken down into Skills Labs, and work in pairs. Here's the plan:
Here's our third and final dive in the Lake Searching for the Cars. We did not, unfortunately, find the vehicles, but there are many many sculpin around 60 meters and then we catch a huge stick. Watch and learn as we try many methods to disentangle our ROV.
There's a possibility that the other tunnel, east on the same shore of the lake, could be the site. We jetted over, but that tunnel comes out and clearly the train trail has a shallow enough radius around the bay that a tressel would be unnecessary. So we're heading back to bay #1 where we'll launch Darcy's deep ROV.
We're out this morning at the same bay, matching the photo to the tunnel and doing slow transects with the fish finder.
Yesterday morning we headed straight across the lake to the Old Spruce Railroad trail first. It was built around WWI to harvest spruce trees to make WW I aircraft. Since then it's been blasted to close it off to hikers
Just pulling out some old articles before we get on the water. Of course there's Blanch and Russell, but we're also on a mission to hit the opposite side of the lake at the entrance to the Spruce Railroad Trail, where a train carrying a flat car and a crane went crashing through a tressel and into the lake. Can you spot where?
With a bag full of sandwiches and cut veggies, a karafe of coffee and one hot chocolate, one robot, and my iPhone, I'm ready to hit the lake! I've just arrived at the boat ramp, waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. Driving the sharp curves of Hwy 101 around the lake this morning, the fog obscured all but the barest few feet of road in front of me. Giant logging trucks tore past in the opposite direction and steep rocky cliffs and invisible water bordered my little patch of road. I could feel how easy it would be to make one little correction wrong and go straight over the edge into the cold glacial lake.
On my reconnaissance mission to Lake Crescent, scoping out the feasibility of reaching the dive site from shore, I stopped by the Lake Crescent lodge and discovered a dusty old three ring binder with newspaper clippings from the past several decades. Several articles reference the crash of the Warren's, including this 2002 article from the Peninsula Daily News. In 2002 a crew of scuba divers requested permission from the Superintendent of the National Park to dive down on the cars and recover evidence of human remains. They collected small fragments of bone and a jeweled clip that was attached to a large piece of matted fabric which was later identified as a dress. DNA analysis of hair and small bone fragments later positively identified the remains as those of Blanch and Russell, 73 years after they were lost.
Near mile marker 223, a Chevrolet driven by Russell Warren went off a sharp curve into the 200 meter deep Lake Crescent. The disappearance of Russell and his wife was a mystery for 7 decades. In 2002 a number of curious scuba divers donned cold water gear and searched for the wreckage. They found the car intact and lying on its left side in 250 feet of water. Let's go check it out.
The area between the guard rail and the road is much too narrow and slippery to deploy an ROV safely from shore. We'll be launching a 14 foot, open design, inflatable dive boat from the Mt. Stormking boat ramp to reach the dive site. I'm going to outfit my expedition Pelican case from The Arctic Expedition to hold my laptop and my OpenROV which will hopefully keep everything dry and contained as we deploy.
It's finally back on! I am a little stunned by how many months have passed since my last post to this expedition. I made plans over the holidays in December to try again to get out to the cars, but our boat plans fell through. That being said, I drove out to the dive site with my family/expedition team and scoped things out a little more closely. The car plummeted off the road at "Ambulance Point" near mile marker 223. Talking with the local Dive Master Mike, I learned that this particular corner has a long and tragic history. Every fews years a car goes off the road. In the 50's, an old Dodge, in the 60's, 70's and 80's, many logging trucks coming down from the Olympic Mountains. Most of these wrecks were salvaged within a few weeks by Mike and his crew, the lumber and steel are very valuable and worth pulling up right away.
The exact coordinates of the Town of Monticello are pretty easy to find, I just did a simple search for Monticello TopoQuest and came up with this USGS map. http://bit.ly/1IVbefz There is a Monticello Museum run by Carol, a daughter of Monticello town folks. She was three years old when the town was flooded but her family's home had already been relocated to higher ground. Her father was one of the town's road construction workers and helped bulldoze buildings, foundations, roads, and structures before the valley was flooded. She pointed me in the direction of a facebook group all about Monticello with some great town history, and pictures of the bridge and rock wall which were all that remained when the town was submerged.
Registration open to all girls ages 13-17 on EventBrite: http://bit.ly/12HYkjZ Cost: $130 per participant Schedule: January 17th, 18th & 19th - 10:30 - 3:30 17th: Gather at OpenROV Head Quarters in Berkeley, CA to construct ROV. 18th: Meet at OpenROV Head Quarters to Test and Calibrate ROV. Plan micro expedition. 19th: Meet at OpenROV Head Quarters and go explore. About the Camp Mentor: Erika Bergman is a submersible pilot and a National Geographic Explorer Assistant Mentor: Kira Porter is a High School Senior and former GURC participant. She is currently piloting the ROV Mantis. Let's Explore! We will be sharing in the build of ONE OpenROV. After the ROV is complete we'll make plans for each girl to take it on expedition where ever she'd like to explore!
Just deployed between islands. The hill behind us is quite steep, but from where we're stationed the lake bed has flattened out in front of us. Deepest point 3 meters.
Just deployed between islands. The hill behind us is quite steep, but from where we're stationed the lake bed has flattened out in front of us. Deepest point 3 meters.
We were curious about the level of the reservoir. A billboard at the top of the boat ramp gave us current information
Marius Antares and I are headed to Oak Shores this afternoon to do a shore deployment and look for the submerged town of Monticello. We're taking 2 ROVs, and we may check in with the ranger to invite him along. He had expressed interest and may have the best Intel on where to launch the sub.
I don't have a dslr with a telephoto lens, but I do have a pair of binoculars and an iPhone. Holding the binocs up to the camera of the phone, I was able to capture a slightly closer up view of two of these birds resting on the roof of my neighbor's bungalow. I would love anyone's assistance in determining the exact species, but some basic googling has led me to believe these are Pacific Reef Herons. A very common but lovely shore bird. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacificreefheron
The region of Papua New Guinea that we'll be traveling to is a collection of small islands on the tip of New Ireland Province north of mainland PNG. We'll be traveling by small boat daily between Nago Island, where we'll be working, and Nusa Island, where we'll sleep each night. Most of my opportunities to focus on birding will be in the early mornings and evenings on Nusa Island. After speaking with our host at Nusa Island, it seems that the coastal island region is not where the famous Birds of Paradise live but there are many other bird species natively. A few other interesting specimens roaming around are semi-domesticated imports to the island which make themselves quite at home in the bungalows.
I woke up to the sound of happy splashing and found my front yard hopping with a number of grey birds hunting. Each was approximately 0.5 meters tall if standing. This was taken at about 6 am, 20 minutes after sunrise.
PNG is the second largest island in the world, outsized only by Greenland. It is home to birds, many many birds. On the northern tip of New Ireland is a small island called Nusa in the Bismark Archipelago. Goal one is to acquire a bird book, and as I write this a book has been handed to me:
Registration open to all girls ages 13-17 on EventBrite: eventbrite.com/e/girls-underwater-robot-camp-tickets-13276023945 Cost: $125 per participant Schedule: October 4th and 5th - 9:30 - 3:30 Gather at OpenROV Head Quarters in Berkeley, CA to construct ROV. October 11th and 12th - 9:30 - 3:30 Meet at OpenROV Head Quarters to Test and Calibrate ROV. Plan micro expedition. Meet at OpenROV Head Quarters and go explore. Lunch will be provided for each of the 4 days. About the Camp Mentor: Erika Bergman is a submersible pilot and a National Geographic Explorer Check out this Arctic Girls Underwater Robot Camp to find out what's in store! openexplorer.com/expedition/arcticexpedition
As we sit here in the airport, it seems like the opportune moment to introduce myself. My name is Erika. I'm a submarine pilot, an avid ocean educator and explorer. I've joined Team PNG as part of the ROV build out team. I've been developing best practices and techniques for teaching OpenROV assembly in classrooms and workshops and am looking forward to sharing these methods with the 25 participants in our workshop in Kavieng. Let's go diving.
Welcome to mission control! With a little help from my friends, i've taken over a corner of the beach to create a mobile ROV "control van" which is made up of: A 12 volt deep cycle marine battery An inverter An extension cable A power strip A laptop A large computer monitor A complete field tool kit And Three ROVs Let's explore
Expedition morning our new ROV Mantis gets a final leak test. Submarine trick, put one sealed end of the tube in soapy water and use a pump to pull a vaccuum from the other side. If there is a leak on the submerged side, bubbles are a very obvious indicator for exactly where the leak is coming from. Mantis was leak free! Nice construction job ladies!
Once the wire bundle is epoxied into the wire pass through on the Main Endcap, one of the last steps to completing the ROV is to solder on a DB-25 connector. This solder job is time intensive and requires a steady set of hands with the soldering iron. K and N work together to run each wire into its respective place on the connector and solder it into place.
The camera cable from the HD webcam is designed to reach from the top of a computer monitor all the way to the usb plug on the computer itself. In our case, the cable only needs to reach a few inches. Instead of trying to fit all the excess cable into the pressure housing, D cuts the length of the cable down to a custom size and solders the fine wires together. She shielded the cable with extra pieces of foil and recovers the joint with heat shrink.
The tether has a tendency to become tangled until all of the twists of manufacturing are spun out. N and G uncoil the brand new tether and walk all 100 meters around the property a number of times to detangle the length of the tether.
The wire pass through on the starboard side Main Endcap is the point where the external wires leading to the IMU and motors cross into the water tight electronics compartment. To make the pass through itself water tight, we apply a liquid two part epoxy into the space between the wires to seal them against the intrusion of water. K uses a special mixing nozzle to apply the epoxy and then we let it cure overnight.
Our boat mounted antenna received a solid signal with HQ over the ethernet bridge when we arrived at a position about 100 meters south of the Berkely marina restaurant. We then motored out towards Treasure Island and made it about halfway there before loosing signal. It was clear that the signal loss was from a weak connection between the 12 volt input and POE adaptor which is mounted inside the pelican case. In calm waters the connection was ok, but as soon as the boat hit waves the connection was intermittent. We'll develop a permanent solution shortly, but for now, this zip tie will suffice.
Our software guru developed an amazing new device today which overlays our GPS track directly onto a satellite map. Mission control was able to track our position, displayed as a little blue dot, out and back. With wind and lightly rough seas, our maximum speed over ground was 10 mph.
We have our sector antenna mounted behind OPenROV headquarters on a hill. It's a full moon tonight which will be great for visibility on the water.
NOAA marine forecast indicates that the wind is blowing south at 10 knots. A little high for night on the bay. We'll go out and make a safe call when we launch.
Here's the challenge: International pilots must take Phantom through the mesh opening, pick up the ziptie ring with a rod attached to the port battery pod, return through the opening and drop the ring into the pink basket. Are you up to the challenge?
Everyone's internet bandwidth varies. By getting folks all over the world to test and log their internet speed and compare that to their ability to fly the ROV today, we'll develop a good sense for how much bandwidth is needed as a standard operational limit. As a baseline: Here at OpenROV headquarters our bandwidth is pretty good and we have no problem flying the ROV over our own internet. Uploading at 1.2 Mbps and Downloading at 11Mbps I've used testmy.net to do an Internet Speed Test.
To get things rolling this morning, Megan Cook Beamed in from Hawaii and took the ROV through a few maneuvers.
The kelp is quite thick here. Indy keeps getting entangled in the ropey plant life. We're going to move to the other side of the peninsula.
We are out on the jetty with the fisherman. We've found the perfect pair of rocks to set up base camp.
In preparation for PNG we'll be live posting this afternoon from Bodega Bay! Independent Lee "Indy" arrives in a custom ROV Pelican Case ready for her first salt water dive.
Stay tuned! Next saturday we'll put Mantis in the test tank here at Head Quarters and develop a plan for our Sunday expedition.
We ended the afternoon by finishing the battery pod adaptors, building the topside adaptor, and filling up the final epoxy seals.
We also used lunch time to discuss the best design for a scooping device to install on Mantis. G took our design to the drawing board. I'll laser cut their design this week and they will install it next saturday when we water test Mantis for the first time.
A very important part of any busy day, lunch. Lunch conversation very quickly became a brain storming session for what kind of expeditions Mantis could go on. Including but not limited to Hawaii, Catalina Island, and Papua New Guinea.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, the praying mantis did not phase the girls of GURC, but it did inspire a name for ROV #1500.
Just before lunch we were called away from our busy build schedule due to the enormous bug which crawled up on the desk.
Day 2 of Robot Camp Our morning pilot challenge started with a task of picking up a ziptie ring sitting at the bottom of the test tank which quickly proved too easy. The girls devised for themselves a new pilot challenge involving grabbing a floating octopus, carrying it across the pool and submerging without loosing it, and placing it into a weighted basket at the bottom of the pool. I never would have come up with such a thing. It was über challenging and an absolute blast.
Soldering is a critical part of building an OpenROV. After mastering the skill in the morning, K used the afternoon to teach others other how to make a clean solder joint. The key is a hot iron. Set the soldering iron in place, heat up your part, THEN bring the solder to the joint. K describes the process to D, focusing on the idea that the iron is not a paintbrush. If everything is sufficiently hot, the solder will flow into place on its own.
To install the motor bases onto the frame, a small c-clip needs to be removed from the the back of each. Talk about fine motor skills. Har de har har.
The wire leads that come attached to our electric motors are too short to run into the electronics housing. Each motor is pulled apart and new long wire leads are soldered in place.
Acrylic solvent is not glue. Rather, it dissolves the surface of an acrylic part and hardens about 10 seconds later as it evaporates. If two surfaces are held together they re-solidify as one. For this reason, we call this acrylic welding as opposed to acrylic glueing. The acrylic solvent flows more freely than water and will drain out of the syringe if the user does not create a vacuum inside the bottle as they pour. It takes some practice to create this vacuum in the applicator syringe, but these ladies were pros in minutes.
Day 1 of Robot Camp Five awesome girls rolled into OpenROV Head Quarters bright and early this morning to build a robot! Our laser cutting specialist @marius set aside ROV hull number 1500 for our weekend camp. Momentous! Everyone loves paperwork, so we started with liability release forms and skill survey questionnaires, then we moved on to a piloting challenge in the test tank with Phantom. Here was our guiding white board for the day:
We have two more pilots commuting in for the telerobotic challenge! Here's the plan: Get the free version of Join.me Once I plug the ROV in and get OpenROV cockpit up and running, I'll send you an invitation to share my desktop. Then you'll take control of my laptop and the ROV controls! You'll have a mirrored display of my desktop and will be able to fly the ROV from your keyboard! Left = Turn to Port Right =Turn to Starboard Up arrow = Move Forward Down arrow = Move Aft Shift = Ascend Control = Descend Q = Camera Tilt Up Z = Camera Tilt Down A = Camera return to center L = Lasers on/off I = Lights on/off OpenROV cockpit looks something like this, depending on where you deploy your ROV:
Robots are back on the menu! This expedition sort of fell by the wayside, but it's back in action! @megancook and @chspiten, are you both available friday? We should have you both log in, one from Hawaii, the other from Norway, and take turns piloting Phantom through a challenge course in the test tank. Thoughts?
Thanks to some informative rangers we found out the lake is 175 feet below normal at the moment. In the photo, the end of the boat ramp is way down there, and still nowhere near reaching the lake at current levels. What this means for launching our zodiac is that a temporary boat ramp has been set up an additional 50 feet lower.
Eric describes the new boat mounted Ethernet bridge system he built last night. The yellow pelican case contains an 'Anker' mobile power source, a Power over Ethernet router, and the ROV topside adaptor.
We're off bright and early this morning to go dive the kelp forest of Monterey and then head over to the Abalone farm to dive under the pier.
We have 3 ROVs: Phantom The Sharkbot, ROV#1081 Thunder Down Under, and a new ROV. The team consists of Marius, Squishnak, Patty boy, Echo, and Dominator. If you are in Monterey, you are welcome to filter in! We're diving the kelp forest, and then off the dock at the Abalone Farm!
Breakwater Cove Marina Air Temp: 69 F Water Temp: 55.4 F We deployed the ROV right of the end of the dock inside the breakwater. Visibility was around 6-8 feet but there were some issues with condensation inside the dome that made it difficult to see. There was a patch of kelp about 30 feet away, between us and the shore, which we aimed for. There is a significant surge which moves inside the breakwater and made piloting a little exciting. The ROV would be making good forward progress and then rapidly come back and swing underneath the dock. Harbor seals crossed our path and sea otters were floating around when we finally made it out to the kelp.
Update: Due to some unexpected system wide maintenance the R/V Nautilus had to return to port a day early and shut down their broadband unfortunately thwarting our efforts for the time being. But we'll be back to give it another go on another cruise soon.
Hercules is the larger of the two ROVs and is outfitted with manipulators, sampling devices, and other way cool instrumentation to explore the seafloor. Photo Courtesy: Ocean Exploration Trust
Posted on behalf of Megan Cook: I’m honored and stoked to be out to sea for the second year as a Mission Blue Young Explorer on the groundbreaking Exploration Vessel Nautilus, led by Dr. Bob Ballard and his Corps of Exploration. My job as the Lead Science Communication Fellow is to invite all of you along for the fun we’re having exploring the deep sea for the very first time. Mountains underwater that no one has seen before: count us in! We’re floating to the east of the British Virgin Islands in the Anegada Passage climbing up seamounts letting you be the first humans to see their slopes. Our ROVs have big cameras and what we find keeps blowing us away! 95% of the ocean is still unexplored. Put your name in the history books as an ocean explorer and join us in the deep sea. www.NautilusLive.org Along the way the Nautilus Team wants to highlight how cool it is to be a scientist, engineer, and explorer. What is the single coolest way to demonstrate how awesome technology is? Play with robots, of course. Tune in while I drive a robot using strictly mind control—oh and technology—and the internet on Open Explorer! I’ll be learning as I go, under the watchful eye of submarine pilot and OpenROV-extraordinaire Erika Bergman. Join us!
Megan C. is onboard Bob Ballard's Expedition Ship the E/V Nautilus. The ship is outfitted with gigantic ROVs, outfitted for science, and high tech satellite equipment to stream ship and ROV footage live to your desktop as exploration happens! Check it out Nautilus Live We want to get Megan piloting 'Phantom,' an OpenROV, through time and space (the internet), from the deck of a moving ship in the middle of the ocean. The ROV is in San Francisco, Megan is in the Caribbean, Let's do this. Photo courtesy Ocean Exploration Trust
Soldering, Plastic Welding and Programming Oh My! This week's Build Plan Assemble the battery pod end caps. Check. Assemble main end caps. Check! Learn to solder clean shiny wire connections for motor modification. CHECK! In addition to Emily’s nice work with the GoPro Camera, this week we also has a special guest cameraman. Stay tuned for a micro film today’s workshop.
Question: What does one wear to snorkel the arctic? Answer: Layers. The 2nd and final micro film from this Arctic Exploration Extravaganza. I have to thank Cameo for this awesome free app that allows you to edit films right on your phone. I highly recommend it, happy to share tips with anyone interested in making a film for their expedition page!
Ocean Exploration Trust has a cool ROV called Argus which flies above the big workhorse ROV and looks down on the entire sea floor.
Most of the week will be spent SCUBA diving, pointing out corals, nudibranchs, and other marine critters to the dive group. It's also a chance to scope out the neighborhood before diving in with the robot. Dozens of Caribbean Reef Sharks follow along like little puppies during the entire dive. There are moments when you excitedly point to a ray or grouper and turn to tell your buddy when you realize you've spent the better part of the last 10 minutes swimming shoulder to shoulder with a shark, not your buddy. They are very docile with humans. Photo: Noel Fernando Lopez
Limited space and expensive baggage fees make packing a surprisingly tricky part of an expedition. Everything you bring must be multi-purpose and as light as possible. Amidst bouts of minimizing your gear, make sure you don't forget anything by standardizing your packing list. Whether for for clothing or technical equipment (aka your ROV), a checklist will help you sleep well the night before you leave. Packing doesn't have to be tedious, what do you do to make packing entertaining? Anyone want to start a stop-motion-packing-video-club? We can even build a fort and hold club meetings.
Camera servo works. However I have a whole bunch of leftover desiccant packs in there which are rattling around and getting in the way of camera movement.
It's been a hot and crazy humid August day. What better place to cool off in the evening than system testing Phantom in the pool? My goals this afternoon were to troubleshoot: a) if the servo for the camera was still functional b) if the gamepad controller was functional c) identify which battery was a bad cell I had help...
I'm here in a stunning city, a glistening Jewel in the Caribbean. I will spend the afternoon testing Phantom in the pool...it's been a long journey from the Arctic, and I don't really know how well she fared.
Why send an ROV instead of a human? Answer #1 Teeth During my reconnaissance mission to the Caribbean this week, I picked out a few key places to test the ROV when it's ready in May. Among the dive sites I've chosen are some deep coral canyons which are below diver depth. However, depth is not the only reason to use an ROV. Potential danger could also be a deciding factor in when to deploy a bot, in this case, could an ROV be a better choice when interacting with wildlife? Other ideas on when to choose an ROV over a human?
Bill Belleville wrote a book about the American Submersible Expedition to my dive site. This will be a great place to start researching background on these deep reefs. I intend to read it during this April expedition, but is by no means an all encompassing history of research in the area. Mostly i'm excited to get down there and explore.
I'm going to an 850 square mile marine reserve in the Caribbean. It was a favorite spear fishing ground of some surprisingly amphibious government leaders. The shallow reef is full of way more cool creatures than I can identify. So I'll be posting photos and video and together we can compile a database. In May I plan to take an OpenROV with me and examine the deeper coral structures which are unreachable by scuba.
Phantom has a few new hiccups. I think the sharks took a few too many swings at her in the Caribbean. It seems the camera servo is now pretty broken, and one of the motors doesn't operate at full capacity, so with forward signal, Phantom turns in circles to the left. The little white end cap plugs are stuck, my favorite pair of pliers is busted. Haha, all good signs of use. I also fought with powering up yesterday. I tried many combinations of batteries until I found a set that actually worked, though not well enough to go on a serious dive. So after two weeks of dives in Lake Crescent, three weeks in the Arctic and two more weeks in the Caribbean, Phantom needs a serious tune up. All of this being said, WE HAD A BLAST. The giggles of DiverLaura rang out over the water every time an ROV came up and tickled her. We tried out Screencastify for Chrome, which is a great! Though I accidentally recorded the setup but not the dive. It was sort of a chaotic morning :)
It's a nice day for a drive! It's a bit of a trek, but meeting up with Laura James and taking phantom out to stretch her motors will be a nice way to spend a morning. Micro expedition!
When trying to travel with an ROV through questionably rigid US customs the question is: Do I keep ROV protected in standard yellow pelican case, smiling, obvious, and open about it? Or do I tuck it into a backpack and try not to look like a sneaky teenager?
Hmmm, looks like water levels are at 33% of the reservoir's capacity. This is from the California Data Exchange Center through their water resources dept. What we really need is a friend with a boat and an altimeter to find out what this means for actual depth.
Ta Da. Cozy. I brought the game pad controller though last time I tried to use it out on that ice berg it was a no go. It seems pretty sturdy, doesn't seem like travel would be an issue. I suppose it could have gotten salty... I think I'll re-upload the firmware and see if that solves the problem. Thoughts?
Greenland, Iceland, Seattle, Home. I arrived home from Iceland late on July 30th, but woke up early to take Phantom to the last day of Jr. Oceanographer Camp in Port Angeles, where some of Phantom's build team were competing with ROVs in the swimming pool. They were just so gosh darn proud. It makes it all worth it. ROVs return to their Makers
We've run late into the evening, it's hard to tell when the sun never sets... now it's time to pack up trusty Phantom and head home. Victorious.
Nice work Emily, Faith, and Porter. You built this. Phantom in the Arctic. Photo: www.sednaepic.com - Jill Heinerth
The arctic ROV team met for the first time at the Feiro Marine Life Center yesterday. We started off by exploring the local boardwalk pilings with an existing ROV and then got down to serious planning for operations and engineering. The young ROV engineers even made it to the front page of the Sunday Paper, Talk about a polar bear dip!
Metadata: Davis Straight Transit Saglek to Greenland Day 1 Clear skies, 65 degrees Bumming around the deck today doing odd mechanical jobs. One of the battery chargers for our Nickle Metal Hydride Scooter Batteries came detached from the crimped terminal. I set up a little soldering station in the engine room, put on bright yellow earmuffs to drown out my singing, I mean, the engine, and got to work fixing it. One of the ship radios was inop. and Captain Kim asked me to take a look. I've never disassembled a marine radio before, it was very much like the inside of anything else electronic. Then we fixed the pilot house door. Then we played with our navigation charting software….
Bergy bits (yes that is the official term) are notoriously dynamic, and have a tendency to flip over and break apart. That being said, I really really really wanted to climb out on one with the ROV. Dressed in my drysuit, to mitigate the danger of sudden immersion, I hopped off the zodiac onto a floating hunk-o-ice! Surrounded by huge ice bergs and the golden sun that never sets, playing with a robot from a floating island of ice. It was dreamy.
Headed out in a zodiac to deploy Phantom closer to the ice. Our filmmaker Brad came along to witness the action.
After the fishing boat scare, I stuck close to home and did some test dives on the hull of the ship. The hull of the Cape Race is plated in ribs of steel to punch through ice. In the middle of the night, transiting through ice fields, it's crazy to hear the gigantic thuds of contact a mere foot and a half from my head on the pillow.
As other things were happening on deck, I deployed Phantom on this hunk-o-glacier. The ice was moving so fast I never quite made it over there though. I brought Phantom back just in time too, because a local family in a small fishing boat, curious about this big boat at anchor next to their homes, came whizzing through between us and the ice chunk. In the understatement of the century: A collision at sea can ruin your whole day.
Metadata: Anchored at Klausehaven S of Disko Bay Overcast Air temp: Just right for my wool undies on deck Water Temp: Just right for sending a robot instead Between snorkeling endeavors today, I pulled out Phantom and got ready to dive underneath some bergs and ice. When the girls and I began this process in Port Angeles, this was the one big goal. So today, i'm making good on my promise.
Metadata: Nuuk, Greenland Cold enough for arctic jacket, 44 degrees on land At 0930 this morning Team Beluga splashed down with Team Narwhal as deck crew. The 5 women of Team Beluga snorkeled 7.1 nautical miles, about 13 kilometers in 2.5 hours of active snorkeling with the dive propulsion vehicle. After much practice, this has become a standard and sustainable speed for our snorkel relay. By 1500 we arrived in Nuuk and found ourselves docked next to the M/V Sea Adventure. A couple of us ventured over to visit our neighbors, the 83 high schoolers part of the Students on Ice program. Their trip consists of awesome adventures led by by teachers and experts, including my own personal hero Don Walsh and his son. Later in Nuuk I found myself gasping for breath as I laughed and laughed and laughed alone in the middle of a street after seeing this sign. I think it was the lack of sleep.
Transiting through thick packed gigantic icebergs. This is so cool. Disclaimer: This photo is from M/V Cape Race files. But it's all pretty much the same.
Metadata: Air Temp: 55F Water temp: Like a freezer 21:00 It's been a long day transiting up to Disko Bay. We are nearing the arctic circle. We get suited up in record time. The captain puts a colander on his head and waves various kitchen implements majestically. Acting ruler of the arctic, he and his lovely wife, the other captain wearing socks on his ears among other creative fashion statements, invites us into the arctic realm ceremonially. Then he shoves us off the boat and away we go to snorkel across the arctic circle!
Meta: North of Nuuk, Greenland Air Temp: 60-65 Water Temp: 33-34 degrees F GIGANTO GLACIERS Each woman snorkeled in 45 minute segments today. This is longer than we have gone before though is still feels short after all that gearing up. So far the cold has not been an issue. Under our dry suits we're all wired up in heated vests and gloves. The vest is great, it gets super warm, but the gloves just barely take the edge off frozen fingers. With current and wind in our favor we traveled approximately 18 nautical miles with 9 snorkelers in the water for 45 minutes each. With 5 dive propulsion vehicles and 10 women in various states of dive readiness on deck, things were surprisingly calm, collected, and efficient. We've minimized transfer time between snorkelers down to 6 minutes with a scooter change out.
Metadata: 100 miles West of Greenland Clear skies Mountains in the distance Questions for Tanis: 1) What is one that that is affecting you since your last post? Positive or negative? I am alone in the golden light of this arctic sunrise. This is my time for reflection on the past and searching myself for answers about the future. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depends who you are talking to) I find it easiest, and most relaxing, to live in the moment. Reflection is difficult for me, it takes concerted effort. And thinking is hard. I'm an early riser, 6am for the most part. But this is the first time on this entire trip I have woken up specifically to come look at the sunrise. It gets earlier and earlier the further north we go and less people come on deck to watch it each morning. Now that it's only a few hours past midnight, everyone is asleep, and I find myself drawn to the solitary experience of dawn watching. I did not take any photos early this morning, I was in my pjs and didn't grab a camera. However, it looked something like this:
Meta: Davis Straight Transit Day Three It's HOT out here Sea State 1.5 "Stay with the Whale!" I'll embed a link to my National Geographic Explorer's Journal article about this, juuuust as soon as I finish writing it. Here's what we've got so far: We are not yet in Greenland, nor are we near Canada. We’re right smack dab in the middle of Davis Straight. The water is nearly 9000 feet deep and I’m suited up like an astronaut in a dry suit though I’ll be surface bound for this journey. I’ve plunged into the arctic waters to chase a dream of snorkeling across Davis straight. I spend a solid forty minutes face down in the arctic water mesmerized by the light rays dancing for a hundred feet below me in the icy blue waters. The only evidence of life are the small ctenophores glistening as they float along. I imagine myself as migratory beast, transiting long distances through my pelagic environment. That’s when I encounter a real one. Photo courtesy of: www.sednaepic.com - Francoise Gervais
Metadata: Saglek, Labrador Full sun, 70 degrees! On deck in shorts Saglek is the aquatic entrance to Torngat Mountains National Park. The bay is so thick with sea ice there's no way we can make our way in. So we have anchored the boat to conduct our first ice snorkeling tests right here in the bay. It was outrageous. Lesson #1: Dive propulsion vehicles (DPV) are a must. The sea ice is packed and it moves fast. After scouting a path through the ice, you put your head down for 5 seconds and when you look up again the opening has disappeared. The ice pack will quickly pin you in and separate you from the dive safety officer (DSO) in the zodiac. It's crushingly heavy and has a lot of momentum. The DPVs give us a chance to escape dicey conditions. Having a DPV is like riding a motorcycle through heavy traffic. It take an extensive amount of situational awareness to operate but it gives us a big enough power boost to dodge "that driver who is texting while merging into you". With the DPV I can navigate around the ice pack with some authority and keep myself in the safer open patches. Lesson #2: We need helmets! This ice is no summertime sno-cone. It's like snorkeling through wet concrete laced with big bricks. With one hand out in front of my face, swiping the tiny stuff away, even small pieces of ice are too big and dense to push away. So I kept slamming my noggin on it, over and over again. Not fun. But the go pro videos of this are hilarious. Photo courtesy of: www.sednaepic.com - Jill Heinerth
At 0600 this morning I went on watch for 2 hours. There's nothing I like better than being alone on the bridge of a big ship. The click and clack of the autopilot harmonizes with the low thrum of the caterpillar engine. Hot black coffee keeps me company. I've asked the Capt. to write me a sea time letter for my 14 days aboard, i'll be adding it to the sea time i've compiled to upgrade my captain's license to a higher tonnage vessel. M/V Cape Race is registered at 180 tons.
Meta: Davis Straight Transit Day 3 Clear skies, 75 degrees F We spent the morning transiting with a plan for a 3 o'clock snorkel splashdown. I was the 1st in, followed by Susan, Renata, Becky, and Charlene. On deck we have developed positions to keep things moving as smoothly as possible. Deck Boss: Oversees all Deck Hand: Strong Backed Youngin To lift scooters and people in an out of zodiacs Recorder: The pen is mighty. The note taker. Dressers: Assist divers in an out of gear
Metadata: Davis Straight Transit Day Two Clear skies Scattered Bergs Is this the Arctic or the Caribbean? Ruby, Francoise, and I are barefoot in t-shirts conducting bird surveys on the sunny bow of the Cape Race. I'm learning interesting tidbits about spotting seabirds versus land birds. Way offshore seabirds do not have access to fresh water for drinking, so they have evolved small tubes that run from their tear ducts to their beaks. As they process the fish they eat, they "cry" fresh water and drink it. COOL. We are transiting in surprisingly calm conditions, sea state 2 at the most. For planning your next expedition, take a look at wind charts and familiarize yourself with the Douglas Sea Scale. We are now beyond transmission radius for Coast Guard transmitted Marine Forecasts on the radio, but a good wind almanac coordinated with barometric readings indicates we'll be in a low pressure system the whole way across Davis Straight.
Metadata: Tucked into port aft bunk in fo'c's'le Sat down to write a blog post for the SednaEpic.com and emailed it (which cost a whopping 0.08 cents via satellite) to the web manager. Empowering Exploration
Metadata: Hebron, Labrador Partly Sunny, surprisingly warm Port Aft Fo'c'sle Bunk, Cape Race Hebron: An archaeological site with decades of rich Histor....phlegshdft, son of a...MOSQUITOS. When I set off for the Arctic, there are two things I did not pack. 1) Enough shorts 2) Bug spray. I don't know, I just thought they would unnecessary around so much ice. Think again.
Metadata: Hebron, Labrador Partly Sunny, Approx. 65 deg F MOSQUITOS Surrounded by Loose sea ice Among the numerous projects we are scheduled to work on over the next few weeks, there is one which I had never considered as part of an expedition before. One of our advisors, Tanis Angove, though she is not in the field with us, studies group interactions under stressful, high risk, or closed environments. These groups are rarely, or god forbid :) entirely made up of women. Our subject group will be a unique part of her research. She has posed four simple questions for each women to answer as often as possible. They are: 1) What is affecting you since your last entry, Positive or Negative? 2) What is affecting the team dynamic? Positive or negative? 3) If you could repeat an experience, what would it be and why? 4) What are your hopes moving forward? These sound simple, and let's be honest, pretty touchy feely. Something I typically avoid (I bottle, I'm a bottler), but when I really got down to the nitty gritty of answering them for the first time, they provided some enlightening looks into myself. Without divulging my deepest darkest secrets, I'll paraphrase some of these entries for the sake of full disclosure. This is terrifying. I'll need your support to share some of this stuff. Is it even interesting to you? Helpful?
Metadata: Overcast skies, approx. 65 degrees F Sitting on my caboose on the wooden deck of Cape Race After huffing and puffing and humming and hawwing the past few days, I finally got Phantom to boot up! I followed Eric's recommendation and held the reset button on the network adaptor for over 12 seconds and everything came back to life! It was such a simple solution after the near complete disassembly Phantom went through in the attic room of our hotel in Nain. Ruby and I had soldered the tether leads directly to the homeplug adaptor, tried every combination of batteries I had brought, and did some voodoo dancing around the robot to no avail, until NOW! I was pretty sad on our last day in Nain when I had to pass over the ROVs as an outreach tool. So many young people had come down to the dock asking if they could fly the robot after hearing about their sibling's and friend's experiences the day before. Alas, all lessons learned. Once on the Cape Race, I took the first opportunity possible to open up my case and test out the ideas you all shared on my last OpenExplorer posts! Thanks for those! The camera guys thought it was the bee's knees. Here's phantom's first sight upon this new awakening.
Metadata: Kauk Harbor, 4 miles (ish) North of Nain, Labrador Light Rain Fo'c'sle of M/V Cape Race Port Aft Bunk Welcome to a Russian Expedition Ship. The M/V Cape Race is a fishing boat built in the 70's, with a steel hull reinforced with ribs every 4 inches for punching through thick sea ice. It has now been refit for travelers. The owner has outfitted the boat with an air compressor, SCUBA tanks, and weight belts for the diving operations of Team Sedna. We left Nain this afternoon waving goodbye to our lovely friends on the dock, and settled into what will be our home for the next two weeks. My bunk in one of four in the forward part of the boat. We divvied up bunks based on each woman's proneness to getting seasick. Those women least likely to get nauseous set up camp in the four forward bunks where the movement of the ship is likely to be the most...sickening. I'm happy up forward. I like feeling the hull pitch and yaw like a corkscrew, it puts me right to sleep. The vessel is equipped with two zodiacs, a crab pot puller, some jigs for fishing, a russian sauna, and four crew. The crew consists of two captains (required for 24hrs operation) an engineer, and a cook. We anchored the boat a short distance from Nain and launched a Zodiac to go ice fishing. And by ice fishing I mean, fishing for ice. We picked up a hunk-o-sea ice and brought it onboard to melt for tea and coffee. Mmm, I've never tasted anything quite as smooth and refreshing as glacial tea. Here's my bunk.
Ack! After a fantastic day of outreach yesterday, the ROV now refuses to boot up. Here's what's up: The topside adaptor has three led indicators, one for power, one for ethernet and one for homeplug. The homeplug lights on the topside adaptor and the corresponding light on the ROV are not turning on and subsequently the ROV is not connecting. After hours of effort troubleshooting, I tried every combination of batteries I have (some of which are questionable) and soldered the tether leads directly to the homeplug board. No change in either circumstance. The same issue is present on both of my home plug adaptors. It's just a bummer because a lot of kids from yesterday were bringing all their friends down this afternoon to fly the bots. It could be: Humidity Proximity to Salt water Not rugged enough for operation around running happy kids Other thoughts?
This is Charmine, she's a rock star pilot. She was quite shy to take the controller at first, but once she got her hands on it she was a pro!
Operating on 6 hours of sleep out of the last 48. Please forgive my poor typing. Our flights today from St. John's Newfoundland to the tiny and beautiful town of Nain, Labrador culminated in taking a twin otter across the stunning Gross Mourne National Park. This meant the ROVs had to be more robustly protected in their case to go through as checked bags in some places. In preparation for this, I stayed up till 3 am this morning (last night?) being a very type A personality and meticulously plucking pick-and-pull foam into a wondrous labyrinth of ROV comfort. Eat your heart out OpenROV HQ. Just wait till you see photos of all the secret chambers... This awesome new Nanuk case (shameless plug :) now holds: Two ROVs Two tethers on tether management reels Three sets of batteries Three chargers Two topside adaptors and cable sets The pelican case now holds: Save-A-ROV dive repair kit X-Box controller Erika's sparkly blue Sperry Topsiders I went to bed just in time to get 1 hour sleep before our 4am wake up and departure for flights.
Slept for a couple of hours. Woke at 7 am ready to roll out to our 10 am press conference at the Petty Barbour mini aquarium. Kids flew ROV! Condensation was a big problem. There water here is crazy cold! And again, the air is absurdly warm. Will consider ice bath for bot.
Did some evening test on Phantom in the OceanQuest training pool. Was really excited to get the gals flying the ROV and did not, repeat, did not check both plugs. One was not installed. Flood. Dang. Pull ROV out, drain water. Pretty substantial amount of liquid. It was just less than a quarter cup. Make light of situation. Secretly admonish myself harshly. Gorammit Erika we haven't even left Newfy! Find hair drier, find rice. Dry everything out immediately. An hour and a half of gentle hair drying later, reinstall electronics components. Test ROV. Nope. Spend next 4 hours trying every combination of beagle one, tether adaptor, Arduino available between Matt, Phantom, and back ups. Troubleshooting seems to reveal that Phantom's Arduino is fried. By about 3 am have settled in a working combination of Phantom's beaglebone with Matt's e-chassis. Tested in pool. Check. Pack all for tomorrow's press conference demonstration and girl's workshop in afternoon.
Took a sunset walk and spent some time taking with Expedition assistant leader Emily about my goals on in the coming weeks. Among all the other roles we inevitably play on expedition (cook, marine safety officer, science consultant) Here are my personal action items: 1) Encourage each member of team Sedna to write 1 post on this OpenExplorer expedition. It doesn't sound like much I know, but it should be just about attainable with everything we have going on. 2) Have 3-10 people/girls/students fly the ROV at each event or town. 3) Act as pilot/technician of all robots. 4) Dive off an ice flow in my skivvies. 5) Oh, and snorkel to Greenland.
The afternoon was quiet, only a few team Sedna ladies had arrived, so it was the perfect time to wake up and test the ROVs After a series of flights. Phantom's wire harness, right at the external bend by the epoxied through hull "fitting," was chaffed by the edge of the "L" shaped cradle piece. It makes me nervous considering the salt water we'll be diving in, but for the time being everything woke up and worked like a charm!
Our accommodations for the next two nights are within a dive school facility called OceanQuest in St. John's Newfoundland. The rooms have two or three twin beds. I picked one by a window because it it astonishingly hot here! Mosquitos and humidity surprised me for how far north we are. Emily did some grocery shopping and I cooked us up a nice veggie taco bar for dinner. Most important things to keep ANY expedition running smoothly: 1) is everyone fed? 2) does everyone have somewhere warm and dry to retreat to? 3) are restrooms readily available? After that it's all clockwork.
Day 2 Arrived last night at about 4:30-5 am Newfoundland time, just as the sun was coming up. Traveling for over 24 hours, have decided to sleep till 12, then get restarted.
"Can you fly a Copter?" "I have. I'm certainly not licensed in any way shape or form." "Great, let's go."
Step One. Wake up at 3am. Drive. Wait at bridge for world's slowest tug and tow. Drive. Wait in traffic. Arrive airport, get close, have gate slammed in face. Reschedule. Fly to Vancouver. Beautiful! Fly to Toronto. Also Beautiful! Fly to St. John's Newfoundland. Oh yeah, and get kids in airport super de duper excited by magic yellow box.
These girls right here, built Blue Meaning and Phantom. On our final afternoon together Porter, Emily, Faith and friends met up at Lake Crescent to fly around. I also brought a white marker to get their autographs on the vehicle they built! We leak tested Blue Meanie, and as predicted, we were not able to pull any vacuum. It seems the tolerance on the housings are still variable from the manufacturing process. The o-ring was not forming a good seal, and after switching out for a newer housing, and still fighting leaks we opted to fly Phantom. That. Went. Swimmingly. We ran the computer ran down to 1% battery, the ROV down to 8.0V, and my cell phone into oblivion. Then the sun started to set. It was the most glorious way I could imagine to start off on this Arctic Journey.
We ask ourselves, what is a gathering of robots called? A gaggle (like geese)? A school (like fish)? A murder (like crows). The answer, according to google, is a pod. Behold, a pod of robots.
These amazing families showed up and together we piloted Phantom to 30 meters! I'm trying to decide if I want to risk going as deep as the model a right before I need these ROVs functional in the Arctic See Arctic Expedition I might shoot for 50 meters on Sunday and come back to the Model A the first week of August. Thoughts?
Last night we put on the adventure music and headed back to Lake Crescent with Phantom and Matt (the ROVs). My goals were: a) Test drivability of Matt (known errants: drives to the right, outdated operating system) b) Depth Test Phantom It was pretty clear that Matt will not drive in a straight line, but with some creative handling I made it down the slope to 16 meters. Then the telemetry cut out, and the camera stopped... Uh Oh. I waited a bit, then restarted cockpit, then decided to pull the ROV in. By this point the dock was full of eager onlookers and my parents and I were busy explaining ROV systems and the ideas behind exploration to them. So once Matt was back on the surface, I took a quick glance in the electronics housing. No water, no smoking gun. Instead of troubleshooting it right then and there, I put it aside to pull out my shiny new Phantom. That's when the clouds opened up and the sun shone down and the angels started to sing. Ok maybe not, but we put it in the water and the kids drove it! There were logs and a huge mooring block (or piece of a dock with some scary metal features) and trout!
I felt a little bit like the Pied Piper yesterday. I headed to Lake Crescent to do Phantom's first depth test and hadn't even made it to the dock yet when a group of kids, decked out in their beachy swimwear, flocked together behind me. "What's That?" "It's an underwater robot, wanna fly it?" I never even had to touch the controls, they jumped in and figured it out like it was nothing. We made it down to a whopping 14 feet, Phantom's deepest dive yet! The water was crystal clear, and even though the kids had been swimming off the same dock all afternoon, there were a lot of excited oo's and ah's. Robots are like magnets.
The first thing that happened when I came home from OpenROV HQ, was explode. Not literally, but I did have suitcases (yes plural) full of robot bits and I managed to cover every inch of the dining room table with electronics boards, tether reels, propellors, etc. I started plugging things in to see if I could get them all working and just about had a heart attack when my primary ROV 'Phantom' started making high pitched squealing noises from the arduino and refused to boot up. I plugged in the electronic's board for ROV 'Matt'...and same deal, same squeal. My brain thinks in diesel mechanics: If the engine doesn't work there are only two things that could be wrong. Either the motor isn't getting air, or it isn't getting fuel. In the case of a little electric rov, the fuel is in the batteries. So, I took the batteries out of the rov, threw them on the charger, and then I made a sandwich. A little while later, I hooked up the fresh batteries, and voila! No more squeal, and everything booted up like a champ!
Let the building commence! My emerging engineers Porter, Faith, and Emily showed off their mad skills with tricky acrylic welding solvent at the Feiro Marine Life Center in Port Angeles, WA. We assembled the entire frame of the first ROV in record time AND INVENTED A NEW RULE. Every time I say something technical that needs explaining, they yell "Hashtag Jargon!" and I have to give a rapid-fire 10 second explanation. Then it just got silly, "Blackhole" was fun.
From July 12th – 28th, 2014, the all female expedition will snorkel several hundred kilometers from Labrador to Baffin Island to Greenland. When I was invited to join Team Sedna, I thought about why I would undertake such a monumental challenge. I came up with one simple answer. This swim is the perfect excuse to teach engineering and exploration to girls who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Leading up to the expedition, and along the route itself, I will run a program teaching girls how to build underwater robots, and use them with confidence. Let's tear down the barriers in their way, and show these girls the potential they have to go outside and be explorers at this very moment! They will dream up things to explore that I can't even imagine. It's going to be so cool to find out what questions they will ask the world.
So much exploration just happened!! After our morning dives we headed out of the wind and up to the cabin to update software bugs, charge batteries (human and ROV) and have dinner. At 2200 hours we re-deployed for a night dive on the sunken sailboat! The hero of the evening was Dominik's ROV #463 which dove on the wreck for over an hour. See #463 pictured here inside the wreck! You can also follow along with this little bot's adventures on twitter @rov463 Two brave scuba divers jumped in with alacrity to take some photos of the sub on the wreck. Meanwhile the surface support crew bundled up against the cold evening winds to deploy the robot and manage the tether. There may have been a lot of singing...you know, to keep warm.
The sun was newly up and the wind was howling at 15 knots. Gusts from the southeast stirred up a good chop on the water, but we made the decision to head out one last time to answer a final question. How deep can a standard 2.6 kit ROV go? We had a simple mission, to deploy ROV #666, an off-the-shelf 2.6 ROV with no modifications or upgrades, to a full tether length and confirm its operational depth. The wind was coming at us in gusts so we made our way well east of our target depth of 100 meters. We knew the wind would quickly blow us back into shallow water, so we gave ourselves a good margin by deploying the ROV in 200 meters of water. We zip tied a 1 lb. clump weight to the aft bar on the underside of the ROV so that it would descend quickly. We deployed the bot and payed out the tether quickly with an ingenious three person method to avoid tangles. The boat drifted as we expected, but using the motor we held station directly above the tether to get ROV #666 as deep as possible. SUCCESS!!! Eric holds up ROV #666 which dove to 87 meters without a hitch!
The morning is full of surprises! 0930 Launch surface support vessel. Paddle out 200 feet from shore. 0937 ROV is deployed. 0957 ROV is searching lake bottom. We're searching for the sunken sailboat which should be in 20 meters of water. 1000 Haul in ROV and move to new location. 1012 Re-deploy ROV 1014 Dive Dive Dive Searching....searching...found some logs... 1022 WHOA Jaguar shark?!
Sunrise was 0537 this morning, by 0630 we were down at the beach prepping the surface support vessel for launch. Our 12 foot, heavy duty inflatable is outfitted with a Honda 15 hp four stroke motor, a danforth anchor, and the electronics package for ROV data Tx. The giant black pole attached to the stern is the mounting bracket for the omni-direction antenna.
We have arrived! Seven of us left OpenROV head quarters in Berkeley and hit the road yesterday at 1500 hours, only 30 minutes behind schedule! The first thing we did upon arrival was set up our Mobile Command Center in the cabin to test the ethernet bridge. So here's the deal with an ethernet bridge. It consists of two antennas, each one can transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) at an operating frequency of 5170 MHz. Our sector antenna is mounted at the mobile command center, whether that's in a cabin or the back of a van. It spans a 90 degree angle horizontally and a 12 degree vertical sector. This means that it must be pointed quite close to the dive site. On the surface support vessel an omni-directional antenna is plugged straight into the ROV data stream. The omni-directional antenna then TRANSMITS OpenROV Cockpit and Controls straight to the ROV pilot at command central on shore! Whaaaaat, So cool.
-Deep cycle Batteries are charged for our mobile command central (Eric's van). -Checklists are checked. -Packing is underway. Plus, we had two inaugural tank tests for new ROVs yesterday! #463 and #1074 are ready for action.
Here's the dive plan. Will someone let me know if you can open and view this file on box.com? Dive Plan
Hey team, Here are the some environmental parameters I wanted to give everyone easy access to before we head out tomorrow.
We have so many things going on during this Tahoe trip. So many people are jumping on board to come out and explore! We've got engineering tests, Motor control tests, New camera and ESC testing, Newly built ROVs going in for their inaugural dives, Some scuba divers who want to jump in and film the bots in action, Not to mention exploring a sunken sailboat! Here's a rough dive plan template, I'll be posting it as a template to blog as well, so you can download it and fill it in for your own expedition.
After delving deep into the Lake Tahoe chart last night, Eric, Walt, and I came up with two potential dive sites for Sunday's engineering tests. The first is off the northwestern shore of Lake Tahoe on the southwestern edge of Flick Point. Pro's: 1) Beach Access 2) Potential shipwreck target Con's: 1) It's shallow. Depth is between 14 and 21 meters near to shore. 2) No contacts in the area to hook into an internet server. The second is Hurricane Bay. Pro's: 1) We know where there's a small but sufficiently interesting sailboat wreck. 2) We have a friendly neighborhood internet connection. Con's: 1) The thick tree line between the internet enabled cabin and the lake may be too thick for the ethernet bridge to function. We are also considering Emerald Bay for Sunday or Monday testing. Have any thoughts on what you'd like to explore in Tahoe?
Lake Tahoe is pretty much just the coolest lake near enough to HQ to make it a good test bed for all things OpenROV. We're going to head out there on Saturday, stay somewhere, do something, and then come back knowing more than we knew when we left. One of the things we'll do is test out these new propellers. They are more powerful in reverse which is going to help the ROV ascend at a rate closer to the rate it can descend.