A Busy Weekend ROV -ing

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Throughout the weekend, our Global Reef Expedition research team continued to crank out dives and surveys in the far northeast corner of Cay Sal Bank.  Tomorrow afternoon, following our team’s morning dives, the M/Y Golden Shadow will leave its current anchorage at Dog Rocks to move westward on to new survey territory.

Early yesterday evening, Executive Director Phil Renaud brought out the foundation’s Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) for a test run off the stern of the Shadow. Along with NCRI’s Dr. Sam Purkis and the Shadow’s Electronics Officer Brian Meskell, Phil prepped the ROV for its first deployment of the expedition. Slowly, but surely, the entire expedition team made its way to the aft deck to watch the activities as Phil drove the ROV along the reef.

Phil drove the ROV along the reef

The ROV is a very useful addition to our expedition toolkit. The Seabotix LBV-150 ROV has a maximum operating depth of 150 meters, or roughly 500 feet, so it can survey the area below diver depth and it also allows our team to continue exploring the reef in the evenings when our SCUBA diving is finished for the day.

It was a gorgeous night on Cay Sal Bank with flat, calm water and clear skies, so it was nice to gather outside and check out the happenings on the seafloor below.

You can see how calm the waters were in the image above: the ROV is a few feet underwater with its lights on and the yellow streak is its tether back to the monitor and steering controls.

During the day, our newest expedition members are getting their fins wet and have quickly become part of the team. AGRRA experts Judy Lang and Ken Marks have been working with our new divers in the evenings on coral and fish identifications, so they can survey sites with the rest of the team in the mornings and afternoons.

This afternoon, the team dove again off the M/Y Golden Osprey. In the photo above, Dive Safety Officer (DSO) Tim Payne assists Bahamian Alannah Vellacott with her giant stride into the water. Alannah is a biology student at The College of the Bahamas and we’re excited to have her aboard on our survey team.

We also now have a two-person film crew on board, so we welcome Charles Kinder and Bill Mills to the team. They have been filming all of our activities as well as diving with the survey teams to capture the action underwater.

In this shot, Bill films as the Golden Osprey arrives back at the Shadow after a day of diving. In the background, another team of divers is also arriving back at the Shadow at the same time. With Chief Officer Andy Breach driving the tender, Living Oceans Foundation Fellow Dr. Sonia Bejarano and Dr. Bernhard Riegl return from a quick trip to pick up Sonia’s underwater cameras off the seafloor.

To follow along and see more photos, please visit us on Facebook! You can also follow the expedition on our Global Reef Expedition page, where there is more information about our research and our team members.

Post by Liz Smith

(Image credits: Liz Smith)

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