August 20, 2013
Pacific Important Ecological Area Expedition
Kicking off our 2013 Pacific Expedition, our Oceana crew arrived yesterday in Portland, Oregon, from Chile, California, and Alaska and united with our Oregon expedition leader, Ben Enticknap. Today in Newport, the Port was bustling with activity.
While we loaded Oceana’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and supplies aboard the Research Vessel Miss Linda, the fishing boat next to us offloaded thousands of pounds of troll-caught albacore tuna. Thirty-knot winds and high seas kept us and many others in the bay. Miss Linda is 76’ and would have no problem in stiff winds and high seas, but the real challenge is to safely deploy the ROV without damaging the equipment, or more importantly, the eight of us onboard.
So instead, we made the most of the day in Newport setting up the ROV equipment, testing our survival suits and conducting a full practice run through the mechanics of launching and retrieving the ROV off the stern of the research vessel. Our ROV is a brand new Mariscope “Commander” equipped with a high definition camera, and two additional cameras used for navigation, a major step up from our last ROVs. It can dive to 550 meters and is connected to the research vessel with a fiber optic umbilical cable. Oceana uses this ROV to document important ecological areas off the Pacific coast of Chile and the U.S., and in the future, many more ocean areas.