Mission Logs

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. 

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. 

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