dragons holeA few weeks ago I got to sit down with Patrick Austin and talk about some of the stories, folklore and places in Strange Rhode Island that I’ve found most fascinating. During the interviews, I shared some new stories and new details about places I’ve ventured, along with tips on how to get start as an explorer.

Please head over and check out WPRO’s CuRIous PODcasts

Currently posted are our talks about:

The Shipwreck H.F. Payton 

The Dark Swamp’s Resident Monster ‘IT’

Dragon’s Hole

The Haunted Mortar

If there are any of our previous adventures you’d like to hear more about in future talks with Patrick, please let us know.

~Michael

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Queen's FortIn Rhode Island there is a rocky hill known as Queen’s Fort. It was an Indian fort that was occupied by Narragansett Indians that survived the battle in the Great Swamp, and chose not to leave RI. It lives on a hill covered with glacial erratics. With that natural feature alone, this was a fantastic place for a fort. Somewhere hidden in this rugged landscape is a cave know as Queen Quaiapens Chamber.

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Proteus 1517

Proteus 1517

This weekend Richard and I made a few final touches on our OpenROV, Proteus. The camera and all the controls are functioning fine, and all the seals are good. Though we have some minor details to follow up on with the depth sensor, I’d say the build is complete!

Check out our expedition at OpenExplorer where you can see a video of us running a test on the ROV’s controls.

https://openexplorer.com/expedition/newenglandexplorers

Proteus

Proteus

 


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Asha @ TED

In October of 2014 a fellow OpenExplorer & Marine Biologist Asha De Vos did a TEDtalk and it has just been posted on the from page at TED.com. We’re very excited to see her work get the attention it deserves! Asha opens with mentioning the whales in Cape Cod bay, a place close to home for us.

 

You can see it at:

http://www.ted.com/talks/asha_de_vos_why_you_should_care_about_whale_poo

Here story at Nation Geographic:

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/12/16/poos-clues/

And her Open Explorer expedition:

https://openexplorer.com/expedition/savingbluewhalesfromshipstrike

 

Asha @ TED

Asha @ TED


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The Stern

The Stern

On January 1st, Richard and I fabricated a special rigging for the GoPro using PVC and a rail mount. The new mount would allow us to secure the camera over the side of the kayak, and position it facing in any direction using the two universal joints.

With the new camera mount, we went for a second visit to the remains of the 1873 British bark Bessie Rogers on Saturday. With the camera attached to the kayak, facing down and set to take photos every seconds, I paddled over to the wreck.

I broke up the area into four lanes. Once a lane was completed, since the camera was mounted on the starboard side, I turned around and repeated the lane. The entire wreck took about a half hour or more to cover. In the end we collected over 2000 photos

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Bioluminescence in New England

Panellus StipticusBefore the mid-1800s, most people dwelled in places where the night often brought complete blackness. If a person ventured outside at night, there would be times when they stumbled on a world of luminous organisms living in our forests and bays. Some of these instances could be frightening and have been the origin of local lore.

We now live in an age of illumination and have lost touch with the strange world of bioluminescence. The dark conditions needed are now eliminated by the light pollution around us. Because of this, most people are only aware of one of the six members of this microcosm, the firefly.

In 2015 we plan to hunt down all of New England creatures that exhibit bioluminosity. Though we will start with the familiar firefly, our journey will take us from the sea to the dark swamps and forests. Using our OpenROV and being patient explorers, we hope to capture photos and images of these amazing organisms in their natural habitats.

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A fellow explorer Asha has taken on a big project in a place where science is under funded. She’s on a mission to reduce blue whale death by ship-strike in the Indian Ocean and she needs our help. Any small contribution you can make by through a donation or helping to spread the word would be greatly appreciated!

Lets show them that we can make a difference through crowd funding important work like Asha’s! Please take the time read about her expedition & share this post on you blog or FB page.

Thanks!

Saving blue whales from ship-strike in the Indian Ocean!


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Friday, Nov. 28th at 11am, I will be appearing on “The Good American” on WEMF (http://wemfradio.com/shows/the-good-american/) in Boston, Massachusetts for an interview.

I hope you’ll all join us as we share details about what we do and how it all started. I’ll be speaking about the recent projects and expeditions we’ve been working on, including our current work on the H.F. Payton and OpenROV!

Also check out our latest update on the progress of the ROV build and the H.F Payton Expedition at OpenExplorer!

https://openexplorer.com/expedition/newenglandexplorers

~Michael


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Our weekend started off great when found what we believe might be the original Granite Monster. We met with my brother Steve and discussed the issue of the block being upside down. When we hit problems like this Steve always seems to be able to pull a solution out of his hat, and as usual he did. We have made plans to lift up the corner of the granite block using special tools suited for difficult jobs. With the block tightly seat on a bed of small rocks, difficult is an understatement. If ll goes well we’ll soon be able to see if we found the correct granite block.

We updated the rep from the Lighthouse museum on what we found. We also shared our recent 3D model we did of the blocks on the rocky shoreline. He liked the model so much he is interested in using them on a touch screen kiosk they have at the museum. We’re now shopping around for a tool that will host and display the models for the museum visitors interact with and enjoy.

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The OpenROV(#1517) arrived today! This kit was provided by David Lang and Eric Stackpole at OpenROV (http://www.openrov.com), and made possible by a sponsorship from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (http://www.moore.org). I’d like to thank them again for supporting our expedition!

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