OpenROV | Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico
Depart: St. Thomas – BVI
Arrive: Spanish Virgins/Puerto Rico – St. Thomas
Length: 9 days 8 nights
Focus: Building and Using an ROV
Bioluminescent bays teeming with tiny neon-flashing animals. Colorful and little-known mesophotic coral reefs just out of range for recreational scuba diving. We’re building our own underwater robot to explore some of Puerto Rico’s most intriguing marine habitats!
We’ll build an OpenROV 2.8 kit while on anchor and in port, modifying to changing conditions and experimenting with add-ons like plankton tows or water samplers. Once the OpenROV is built, we’ll identify possible dive targets for visual surveys, and have an opportunity to exchange local habitat knowledge and compare ROVs with a student robotics group in Puerto Rico.
Sailing from the US Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico, we’ll snorkel and scuba along the way to get a baseline understanding of the coral reefs and help support existing citizen science projects. Using coral mapping and photo transects in shallower reefs, we’ll compare our observations from deeper reefs collected with OpenROV visual surveys.
With Sea Dragon as a perfect platform to launch, test and iterate on our OpenROV, we’re looking for students, citizen scientists, explorers, makers, programmers and anyone ready to set sail on a build-it-yourself ocean exploration expedition!
Activities (dependent on weather and adventure conditions):
– OpenROV build: soldering, acrylic welding, electronics, propulsion
– 3-D Coral Mapping techniques to add to The Hydrous global coral database
– Take measurements for Secchi Disk Study
– REEF fish surveys
– Scuba diving, snorkeling
Main photo credit: Patrick Webster
Imogen Nash – Skipper
Imogen is a crew member on her local RNLI LifeBoat and loves to spend her days in the ocean; diving, surfing & kite surfing she also has a true love for photography. Holding her MCA/RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, MCA/RYA Cruising instructor, MCA Ship’s Captain Medical & PADI Rescue Diver.
Harry Robinson – First Mate
Harry has a recently got a workshop on the south coast of the UK, restoring traditional boats & building bespoke wooden surfboards. He has covered many miles all over the world & built up an extensive knowledge and passion for environmental issues, his heart lies within the ocean; sailing, surfing & kitesurfing.
Thomas ‘Owen’ McMahon – Deckhand
Samantha Wishnak – Mission Leader
November 26: Crew arrives on board in St. Thomas, boat intros; Start OpenROV acrylic housing build
November 27: Motor to St. John’s, clear out customs, sail to West End, clear in, on dock at West End; continue OpenROV build and soldering on dock
November 28: Sail to Sandy Spit or Norman Island; Final OpenROV assembly, calibration
November 29: Depart early AM for Vieques, Arrive Vieques, clear customs/immigration; First OpenROV freshwater/saltwater tests
November 30: Sail to Puerto Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay; Start exploration with OpenROV
December 1: Explore Bio Bay or nearby reefs; shallow coral reef mapping
December 2: Identify and explore mesophotic reefs with OpenROV
December 3: Early AM departure for St.Thomas (STT), arrive STT, clear STT
December 4: Crew Departs from St. Thomas
*Itinerary subject to change based on weather and willingness to ‘say yes more’ to spontaneous possibilities 😉
– 8 nights accommodation on Sea Dragon
– All meals, snacks and drinks on board
– Sailing Instruction
– Training and Education covered in the syllabus
– Safety equipment and foul weather gear
Contribution does not include:
– Transportation to from St Thomas
– Transportation to and from the boat
– Additional nights spent ashore
– Personal expenses while in port
For specific visa information visit www.travel.state.gov/visa.