SkiMonkey III - Revealing the seabed between Prince Edward and Marion Islands

 

SkiMonkey III - Revealing the seabed between Prince Edward and Marion Islands.

 

 

A sample of the first images of the epibenthic seabed communities between Prince Edward and Marion Islands, photographed by Dr Charles von der Meden from the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) Egagasini, has arrived in Cape Town. Although the sample is limited by the bandwidth restrictions of the ship-to-shore communications, we are able to get an idea of the exciting images being collected by Charles.

Charles is currently aboard S.A. Agulhas II, where he has successfully completed 14 survey stations using the Sea Technology Services designed and built deep benthic towed photography system, SkiMonkey III.

Congratulations Charles!

SkiMonkey III is able to capture HD video footage with overlaid high definition still photographs at depths down to 1000m, with the ability to send real-time video, oceanographic and control information up a standard copper cored conductor towing cable. This unique communication feature allows SkiMonkey to be used on any ship with a standard conductor cored towing cable and does not specifically necessitate expensive optical cables and winches.

SkiMonkey III’s high quality photographs and video can be attributed to:

  • The stability of the touch-and-go stainless steel seabed landing skis, even in rough weather
  • Full user control of all camera functions from the surface
  • Ultra-fast wide angle camera lens behind an optically matched pressure dome
  • Real-time, through-the-lens video feedback to the surface
  • Continuous control LED lighting and flashes
  • Surface readings of altimeter, depth, pitch, roll and heading for close proximity seabed flying
  • A three-laser ranging and measuring system for piloting and photography perspective

 

SkiMonkey III also has the ability to send data to the surface from a Sea-Bird SBE-37 CTD.

The original SkiMonkey Benthic Camera System was developed by Sea Technology Service for the United States’ Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) program and was used to identify Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VME's) in Antarctica.