Behind the scenes

Covered in anchovies


When the remotely operated vehicle Ventana returned to the surface, it was covered in anchovies, some of which were stuck on the lights and instruments (above) and on a grate at the bottom of the vehicle (below).

October 7, 2015

When remotely operated vehicle Ventana dove near the head of Monterey Canyon yesterday, in the area of intense whale activity, the vehicle was surrounded by the very thing attracting the whales—an incredibly thick school of anchovies. While the whales were breaching around the research vessel Rachel Carson at the surface, the ROV pilots were having a hard time installing a seafloor instrument below because the anchovies attracted to the vehicle lights were hindering visibility. The pilots turned off all the main vehicle lights and only used a small LED intermittingly. That was enough to clear the anchovies and allow the pilots to complete the mission. When the ROV was brought back onboard the ship, about 250 anchovies were stuck in a grate at the bottom of the vehicle and another 50 were stuck on the lights, instruments, hose clamps, hoses, and other parts of the vehicle.