May 8, 2007

MBARI’s ROV Ventana completes 3,000 science dives

Launching the ROV Ventana on board the research vessel Point Lobos. Launching and recovering a 2-ton, 10-foot long ROV (remotely operated vehicle) is a tricky business in the open waters of Monterey Bay. After literally thousands of dives, the crew is well-practiced at handling the ROV cable (which contains wires and optical fibre) so that it does not stretch or kink.

MBARI’s first remotely operated vehicle, ROV Ventana, reached a new milestone today with the completion of its 3,000th research dive. Outfitted in 1988, ROV Ventana still navigates the deep waters of Monterey Bay four days a week and has completed more dives than any other scientific ROV. Over the years, the robot submarine has been modified so many times that almost no parts from the original vehicle remain. Thus it is now considerably stronger, more adaptable, and has better “eyesight” (cameras) than when it was first purchased. Ventana and its host vessel, the research vessel Point Lobos, have provided scientists with an unprecedented views of the geology of Monterey Bay as well as its midwater and bottom-dwelling animals. Under the meticulous care and handling of its pilots and the crew of the R/V Point Lobos, ROV Ventana will no doubt provide, as its name suggests in Spanish, a “window” on the bay for many years to come.

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett