Lake Phoenix

December 3 2016

This expedition will be used to test ROV kits and expedition setup/execution for a future dive in the Chesapeake Bay area. Lake Phoenix is a flooded quarry, containing boats, planes and other interesting bits of purposefully placed hardware, primarily for diver training and recreation. Swimming and boating are also welcome, as well as camping and hiking. Located in Rawlings, VA, Lake Phoenix offers a unique test area for ROVs as the water is exceptionally clear with a maximum depth of 21m (70ft). Goals of this expedition: 1. Area exploration in regards to ROV testing and procedures. ROV test site. 2. Tether management and topside ROV workstation. 3. On-board depth and temperature data collection and calibration. 4. BlueRobotics 1.5 kit tests 5. Trident test plan 6. Payloads - CTD 7. Archaeological Test Procedure (target TBD) It is planned to perform tests over 2 days. The first day is general setup and dive tests, and archaeological target ID. The second day will catalog the previously identified target to test video and SfM techniques.

Read background

December 3 2016


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Preparation Stage

An interesting note. We've discovered that there is a Geocache hidden in the depths of the Lake that, until now, only certified scuba divers have been able to locate. Though we are divers as well, I am pretty sure no one has done geocaching with an ROV before. This is now an exploration target after we've checkout out our gear.

From Blue Octopus Scuba:**

**"Certified Divers headed to Lake Phoenix for fun or skills practice should stop by the Admissions Desk and obtain a laminated map of the lake. There is a hidden underwater Geo Cache only reachable with SCUBA equipment, if you can find it. You'll have to plan your dives carefully to reach the Geo Cache and the mystery item..."

One thing we didn't design for was salvage. Looks like we may have to rig up a gripper of some kind.

Cache #GC2VPD7

From the

Geocache Description: "You must be a certified scuba diver to seek this cache located at Lake Rawlings Quarry in Rawlings, Va. Check in at the quarry. The cache is located at of the Mystery Boat (#11 on the quarry map).

The site is not marked by a buoy so it is recommended to reference the map. The cache is a plastic box with DAN stickers on it. When you find the cache, sign the log secured to the top of the inside of the box. Take one of the FTF prizes and leave another trinket for future cache seekers. After you have found this cache, send us a photo of you with it and tell us the story of your adventure! "

N 36° 56.984 W 077° 46.003 UTM: 18S E 253639 N 4092873**

This is great fun. It also happens to be near the Blast Hole Whatever that is...We will find out!

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We've talked with Lake Phoenix and they were very supportive of our testing and even want to see the videos of our results.

Our next available window is this coming Saturday, Jan 14th.

Attach are some pics of the vectored kit we will be using.

High level equipment List:

  • vectored ROV x1
  • boat x1
  • topside PC x2
  • tether system x2
  • repair kit x1
  • batteries x2
  • charger x1
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Lake Phoenix Navigational Chart.

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Continuing Preparations:

Greetings enthusiasts. Update on the test expedition to lake Phoenix. We've been prepping two ROVs for the trip. The standard BlueROV 1.0 and a older development version of the 2.0 -- the 1.5.

Little did we know that the winter hours for the lake are by appointment only ( palm to face, duh! ). Now with that knowledge, we are working out a date with the facility to schedule dive time. We will update the expedition page as soon as we have a date scheduled.

Some more background on lake Phoenix:

Attached is a dive map and photo of one of the planes sunk. There is a helicopte, computer graveyard, PADi wagon, cabin cruiser, a bus, car, and much more.

Great for equipment checkout!

A very interesting looking place is the blast hole. We have no idea what this is. Quarry mine entrance?

More come!

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Expedition Background

The purpose of this expedition is to evaluate the BlueRobotics BlueROV kits and build dive setup and procedure for doing marine archeology/exploration with both a land based and boat based ROV topside station. Logistics are the biggest hang-up in small ROV expeditions and this 2-day adventure is set to develop the ConOps for marine work and kit evaluations for public dissemination. We also intend to collect CTD data (it's freshwater so not expecting mush on the salinity) and water samples for payload testing and fidelity datum points. We will publish all data and add videos as soon as they are collected.

Depth – Maximum 62 feet (19m)

Water Temp – Varies from 70 to 85 F (21 to 29 C) in the summer and 45 to 55 F (7 to 12 C) in the winter. There’s a stiff thermocline year-round and the water at depth is always quite cold.

Visibility – Varies depending on number of divers

Location – Rawlings, VA

Dive Types – Freshwater, Shore, Wreck, Night

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