Category Archives: underwater

End of another diving season

model-t 1932 Ford Deluxe Roadster. (07/24/2007)

The end of another diving season is here.  I made my last dive for the season last weekend in 35 degree water in Lake Minnetonka.  It’s a shame to end the season as I had 35 foot visibility!

It was another year of exploration and discovery with Maritime Heritage Minnesota, where I have been a volunteer for the past 9 years.  We continue to dive on anomalies that were discovered during their side scan sonar survey of Lake Minnetonka from a couple of years ago.

My personal stats for the year:

  • 87 dives completed
  • 9 shipwrecks including the passenger vessel White Bear in Lake Minnetonka and the Fleetwing in Lake Michigan (Door County)
  • 2 antique cars — the body from a Ford Model T touring car and a 1938 Ford Deluxe Roadster
  • Water intakes, pipelines, and other artifacts in Lake Minnetonka

Most of these finds have been  documented via video — search for my YouTube channel (K7ALE) to take a look.

 

 

Navdive for research

I’ve been a volunteer diver for a number of years at Maritime Heritage Minnesota (MHM), a marine archeology firm here in the Twin Cities doing underwater survey work in the state,  Over the past few years, we have been working at Lake Minnetonka to search for sunken wrecks and determine what they are and how they got on the bottom.

We’ve used Navdive (our GPS-based navigation system for divers) on many of our survey dives, including yesterday when we spotted a possible wreck on our surface-based side scan sonar in the dive boat.

NavDive unit

With Navdive, we were able to:

  1. Preprogram GPS coordinates that were obtained using the side scan sonar on the boat, allowing the diver to navigate to each point while remaining underwater.

Sonar image

2.  Capture GPS coordinates of underwater features that are discovered during the dive for cataloging later.

3. During the post dive analysis, we were able to show the path our divers swam during the entire dive.

NavDIve dive trace

The results?  More efficient use of our underwater time, better data for our research, and the ability to integrate all of our data sources (i.e. surface-based side scan sonar, Navdive data, and Google Earth) to produce reports documenting our findings.

For more info on Navdive, see our web site here.

Almost a record ice out

First dive for 2016 in Lake Minnetonka today.

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The ice went out in the middle of last week — almost an all time record for the earliest ice out in this Minnesota lake.  I did have to dive in Wayzata Bay today — St. Louis Bay was still covered in ice.

Water temp was right at 32 degrees, but great visibility.

The season has started!

End of a great season

Exce;lsior

Normally, my diving season would have ended over a month ago, but because of our late “ice in”, I have been able to dive in Minnesota into December — 35 degree water, but at least there was no ice.

The numbers for 2015:

  • 112 dives completed
  • I was able to dive on 14 new wrecks, including the following passenger vessels on the bottom in  Lake Minnetonka:
    • Saucy Kate
    • Hopkins
    • Como
    • Hercules
    • Excelsior (shown above)
  • 1 car
  • 1 snowmobile

My thanks to Maritime Heritage Minnesota for allowing me to make many of these dives as part of their research.  I’ve learned quite a bit about underwater archeology and, in particular, the history of Lake Minnetonka and its rich maritime past.

Many of these dives were documented by video — search for the K7ALE channel on YouTube.

Looking forward to 2016.

New season starts with Maritime Heritage Minnesota

Yesterday marked the start of my eighth year as a volunteer diver for Maritime Heritage Minnesota, a non-profit involved with the research, exploration, and documentation of Minnesota’s underwater resources.

LM3

We spent the day yesterday on Lake Minnetonka diving on three different “anomalies” that were discovered during MHM’s side scan sonar study.  The first anomaly proved to be elusive and after two dives, we didn’t find anything.  So we moved over to anomaly two and found a small fiberglass runabout (1970’s vintage).  The third site we dove on looked promising on the sonar, but turned out to be a very long log sitting next to a metal trailer frame.

Always interesting and always a lot of fun. LM8

ALE supplies remote camera control to Woods Hole Oceanographic for BBC special

In a follow up to their landmark series, the BBC has begun filming “Blue Planet 2” in conjunction with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). Together, they are using deep water manned submersibles to produce spectacular underwater footage for this project.

alvin

WHOI has been using Applied Logic Engineering’s controllers and software for years to provide remote control of their underwater camera systems. Our controllers and software allow the camera operator inside the submersible the ability to control functionality of the cameras mounted outside the sub. For this project, we added some new capability for the operator located in the submersible — specifically, WHOI’s operators wanted to access a wide range of camera functionality using a video-game style controller versus using the standard PC keyboard.

“As you may be able to guess, opening up and using the laptops in the small subs has become a big issue and we are trying to find access to the things we need without using the laptop”, commented Evan Kovacs, a member of WHOI’s Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory.   With this request in mind, Applied Logic created a software interface that utilizes a Microsoft Xbox controller in conjunction with our Deluxe LANC Control software running on the laptop. Now the operator can plug the Xbox controller into the laptop, allowing the laptop to be closed and set in a convenient position inside the submersible while the operator uses the controller for filming.

Holding_Xbox_One_Controller1

“This is a great example of how we can adapt our technology to suit a particular customer’s needs” remarked Kelly Nehowig, President and CTO of ALE. “Working together with WHOI, we developed this solution quickly to allow for implementation in their submersibles for their next shoot with the BBC in June. We’re thrilled to be able to support WHOI on their various projects and we’re pleased that our controllers and software provide solutions for them in this very challenging underwater environment”.

ALE’s control systems used by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in deep water research project

Last month, we were excited to learn that our remote camera control systems and software were being used by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) during their most current research work in Papua, New Guinea.

This research project involved deep-diving manned submersibles that were chartered with research and filming of specific deep ocean fish species in this unique locale.

WHOIWHOI

 

High definition cameras were mounted to the exterior of the submarine, with the monitoring and control of the cameras being managed by the camera technician aboard the sub.  Applied Logic’s remote camera controller provided the interface between the tech’s laptop PC (being used to control the camera’s operation) and the cameras on the exterior of the sub.  In addition, our remote camera control software was used by the tech in the sub to remotely control the camera’s functions, such as starting/stopping recording sessions, camera settings, still photography, and other mission critical functionality.

“Everything worked great during the recent PNG cruise, so thank you!”, reported Luis Lamar, the lead camera operator at WHOI who was responsible for operating the equipment during each dive.  The team successfully recorded important video and still images that will be used for WHOI’s on-going analysis of the marine life in deep water trenches.

“We are thrilled to continue to support WHOI’s work” said Kelly Nehowig, President and CTO of Applied Logic.  “Woods Hole Oceanographic has been a customer of Applied Logic for several years and we are excited to be able to supply our technology solutions for their use on these types of ground breaking research projects”.

Wreck hunting with openROV

David Lang, co-founder of openROV (www.openrov.com) and I had a chance to get out on Lake Minnetonka yesterday to do a little wreck hunting.  I’m very interested in how ROVs can help make the survey work we are doing with Maritime Heritage Minnesota more efficient (as compared to deploying divers to investigate every anomaly).

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I was impressed by this little ROV’s capability and I believe it can be used in a number of ways — quick investigations of anomalies,  video/photo documentation, and diver support during survey dives. Very cool!

Marine archaeology update

For the fifth summer in a row, I have been volunteering with Maritime Heritage Minnesota, a non-profit marine archaeology firm researching Minnesota’s submerged resources.  This summer, we have continued our work in Lake Minnetonka, diving on sites that have been identified during a previous side-scan sonar survey of the lake.

So far this year, I have been able to dive on five wrecks, including a new discovery.  I have video of all of these wrecks on YouTube (search for K7ALE for my channel) — I am also linking to a couple of the more interesting videos here.

Nereus – a great loss

It’s the risk that comes with exploring the unknown: Saturday afternoon, 6 miles under the sea, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s remote-controlled robot probing one of the coldest, deepest ocean trenches on Earth imploded.

rov

The one-of-a-kind Nereus, built by WHOI, had just embarked on a three-year project to explore deep-sea ecosystems and the weird, unknown critters that inhabit the ocean’s most remote trenches. Researchers said the loss of the $8 million sub is a huge disappointment for the expedition’s scientists and a major setback for ocean science.

Applied Logic had supplied camera control technology for Nereus and we support our good friends at WHOI — you have a difficult job in the most challenging environment on Earth.  Keep going.