MiniROV and ROV Doc Ricketts

February 26, 2015

Today was another very successful day aboard the Western Flyer, with nearly six-hour dives with both the MiniROV and ROV Doc Ricketts. Working with both ROVs lets us cover a greater depth range than with one alone. As I mentioned in the February 22 post, ROV Doc Ricketts is capable of very deep dives (up to 4,000 meters), but is not easily maneuverable at depths shallower than 200 meters. The MiniROV, on the other hand, can easily work at the surface and down to 1,000 meters. The MiniROV is small and due to its electric power, it is very quiet compared to the Doc Ricketts, which uses hydraulic power. The Doc Ricketts is large and powerful, but loud, which can affect the animals we observe. Using each ROV for half of the day allows us to thoroughly survey the deep midwater.

Dale Graves stands on the back deck using a “belly pack”, a remote control for the mini ROV. You can see the MiniROV at the surface in the distance and its tether trailing back to the ship.

Dale Graves stands on the back deck using a “belly pack”, a remote control for the mini ROV. You can see the MiniROV at the surface in the distance and its tether trailing back to the ship.


Captain Andrew McKee operates the crane on the back deck during the recovery of the MiniROV.

Captain Andrew McKee operates the crane on the back deck during the recovery of the MiniROV.


Kim Reisenbichler operates the MiniROV’s tether winch during the recovery.

Kim Reisenbichler operates the MiniROV’s tether winch during the recovery.


Karen Osborn retrieves the suction bucket from the mini ROV after it is secured on deck. The vehicle’s suction sampler has eight buckets for collecting samples.

Karen Osborn retrieves the suction bucket from the MiniROV after it is secured on deck. The vehicle’s suction sampler has eight buckets for collecting samples.


ROV pilots Knute Brekke and Bryan Touryan-Schaefer stand by as the crane lifts the Doc Ricketts into the moon pool.

ROV pilots Knute Brekke and Bryan Touryan-Schaefer stand by as the crane lifts the Doc Ricketts into the moon pool.


ROV pilots Knute Brekke and Bryan Touryan-Schaefer stand by as the crane lifts the Doc Ricketts into the moon pool.

ROV pilots Knute Brekke and Bryan Touryan-Schaefer stand by as the crane lifts the Doc Ricketts into the moon pool.

Everyone on board the ship is involved in the daily operations during the expedition. We are very grateful for the crew and pilots, who make doing our research not only successful, but fun, too!

Just in case you were disappointed that I didn’t include any beautiful images of deep-sea animals…here you go. This gorgeous shot was taken with ROV Doc Ricketts’ high-definition video camera.

This comb jelly, Bathocyroe sp. has a red gut to hide the bioluminescence of the animals in its gut!

This comb jelly, Bathocyroe sp. has a red gut to hide the bioluminescence of the animals in its gut!

—Susan von Thun