Mission Logs

NR-1 surfacing

Now on the last day of the expedition, we've rounded the eastern side of Bright Bank. We've been maneuvering with Carolyn as they are towing ARGUS along a survey line stretching around the island. 

Setup is Underway

The production crew arrived in Monterey yesterday. Most of the equipment arrived before we did and was waiting for us at the office of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Unfortunately a few pieces have not arrived, and we've bene anxiously working with the shipping company to see if they will be delivered today. By the end of the day, all of the video gear was here, but we are still waiting for the box that contains the power supply for the remotely-operated vehicle. 

Rehearsal Day

Today is the first and last day of rehearsal before the live shows start tomorrow. The mood is really good. We left the dock on time at 6:00 am and made a short transit out of the harbor to our first station which is in the kelp forest just offshore in Monterey Bay. We can see the antenna that is receiving our video feed, and the connection looks good. The production team in Rhode Island can see and hear the video and audio we are sending them. 

Lights out in the satellite truck

During the first show of the day on Monday, March 3rd, I was sitting in the satellite truck watching the show when all of a sudden the lights went out.  And so did everything else.  The monitors went out, the equipment went dark, and it got really quiet.  The power was out and we were off the air!  I thought about calling the director to tell him what happened but the communications box was dead as well. 

Captain's blog

This is the fifth day of our project with Immersion Presents, and it has been tremendously exciting to see the whole project come together. We our currently involved in ROV (remotely operated vehicle) operations, and are getting fantastic footage of the reef below. There are Vermillion rockfish, Blue and Black rockfish, Plumed Anemones, and a whole collection of other animals that we are seeing. 

Diving deeper

Today's dives were conducted in a rocky reef just offshore from Monterey. We dove in about 120 feet of water and what was really striking to me was the contrast between this habitat and the kelp forest habitat that we’ve been looking at for the past few days. At this dive site there was not much algae, as we’re below the depth at which most of these marine plants are able to photosynthesize. We also encountered huge schools of rockfish, colorful nudibranchs, large white Metridium anemones, and even gorgonian corals. It’s amazing how diverse this community truly is. And how different it is from the other habitats in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 

Reflections of an ROV pilot

I’ve been piloting Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) for nearly 3 years now, but this trip has been different because we’re using our newest ROV, the Hylas. It's much smaller than many ROVs I’ve had the pleasure of driving, but I’ve been surprised at just how well it performs its tasks. This little robot has certainly exceeded my expectations. 

Behind the lens

Live camera work is always a challenge. Add to that the cold underwater environment, communications, lighting and a host of divers, and things can get down right tricky. Any small issues that rear their ugly heads underwater are amplified ten-fold by the nature of the near-weightless environment... and another ten-fold by the unforgiving deadline of live TV. 

Behind the scenes on the Fulmar

My name is Hans Bruning and I am the Mate on the R/V Fulmar. During this past week I have had the opportunity to be on board for the Immersion Presents live telecast. I've really enjoyed seeing all the hard work as well as the goofball antics going on behind the scenes and in front of the camera. 

Newfoundland: Grand Banks Survey

Getting ready to launch EchoWe have begun our third day of surveying along our first Grand Banks transect, working our way to the northeast toward Cape Race, Newfoundland. So far we have collected about 60 nautical miles of continuous side-sonar and subbottom profiler data using our towed system, Echo. 

Newfoundland: Expedition Under Way!

We departed Narragansett, RI on the R/V Endeavor at noon on Tuesday,  15 July.  After transiting through the Cape Cod Canal and passing  Provincetown, MA, we set a course for the southeastern tip of the Grand Banks, where we planned to begin our survey. 

Explore our Expedition Locations

Browse the sites of our upcoming expeditions with this interactive map. 

Newfoundland: Grand Banks Transect Complete

Trawler marks on the seafloorWe have completed our first Grand Banks transect and have completed  several other surveys around off Cape Race, on the southeast tip of  Newfoundland. Now we are continuing our survey to the west, along the  coast in relatively shallow water, where many suspected shipwrecks are located, off Mistaken Point and Freshwater Point, near the approaches to Trepassey Bay. 

Newfoundland: Geology of the Coast

We are currently surveying along the coast between Mistaken Point and Drook Point, a little west of Race Point. The geology of this area is quite spectacular. 

Newfoundland: ROV Survey & Whales!

The morning fog burned off slowly, revealing waves crashing high on the coastal cliffs.  Late in the morning we deployed Hylas to take a look at some of the targets we identified with Echo over the past two days. 

Newfoundland: A Treacherous Coastline

Newfoundland coastlineThe area along the southeastern part of the Avalon Peninsula in the vicinity of Cape Race is notorious for shipwrecks for several reasons.  Over the past three centuries the waters along this coastline has been heavily trafficked by ships traveling between Europe and North America, as well as fishing boats plying the fertile waters of the Grand Banks. 

Newfoundland: Expedition is Finished

At 8am this morning we will be pulling into the harbor at St. John's,  Newfoundland to offload people and gear, and break down our equipment  on the ship.  The mission was very successful, the weather cooperated  during all our survey work with the side-scan sonar and ROV system,  especially while working in shallow water to the west of Cape Race. 

Thunder Bay: Live Webcasts September 12

How do you find shipwrecks and underwater sites?  What tools do archaeologists use to find and then document these mysteries beneath the waves?  Join scientists live from Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary as they explore site in the waters of Lake Huron September 12, 2008.  Three live broadcasts highlight three field projects from the 2008 field season.  Half-hour broadcasts take place at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm EST.  Viewers can submit questions for expedition scientists to answer during the programs. 

Newfoundland: Trawling

Fishing is a large part of the culture in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) and has been ongoing for hundreds of years.  A common fish harvesting technique used within the province is otter trawling, which is used to catch different species such as Cod, Shrimp, American Plaice and Yellowtail.

Thunder Bay: Technical Diving

Many divers who visit the shipwrecks in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary use air in their SCUBA tanks. Air consists mostly of oxygen and nitrogen--you are breathing these gases right now. But did you know that oxygen and nitrogen affect a diver differently under water than above water? This is due to the pressure exerted on the diver by all the water around him or her. The deeper divers go, the more pressure they experience. Using air in your SCUBA tanks work great when diving wrecks up to about 40 m (130 ft) deep. Beyond that depth, divers use a mix of different gases to eliminate some of the safety hazards that oxygen and nitrogen can present during deep dives.

Ocean Exploration Overview

photo of Dr. Ballard Immersion Presents founder and chief scientist Dr. Robert Ballard once said, “Half of my life is exploring, and the other half is building tools to do it better the next time.” As part of Immersion Presents Ocean Exploration, you will learn about Dr. Ballard’s newest tools and explorations. You will also get a chance to build your own tools and explore the area where you live.

Thunder Bay: AUVs in the Sanctuary

The Iver2 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is a commercial AUV system manufactured by Ocean-Server Technology of Fall River, MA. The University of Michigan owns and operates two custom Iver2 AUV systems. These systems serve as a multi-vehicle testbed for conducting underwater robotic navigation research. The vehicles have been customized to include advanced navigation and mapping sensors typically found on full-ocean depth AUVs. For example, the AUVs have down-looking camera systems for taking pictures of the sea floor. They also have acoustic sonar sensors for mapping large areas of the bottom. The two vehicles can work together by talking to each other with underwater acoustic modems.

Thunder Bay: Reflections from Cathy Green

As a marine archaeologist, I get the opportunity to see incredible things and go amazing places as part of my job. However, one of my favorite parts of my job is sharing what we find and the stories we uncover with other people. With a background in history and art, it’s the stories and images of these shipwrecks that I find most compelling. Don’t get me wrong--being among the first to ever see a new site and getting to spend the day on the water instead of behind a computer screen is pretty cool, too!


JASON Learning: A Partnership of Sea Research Foundation and National Geographic