It's been ready for a while, but now that vocals by Queen Bey have sprinkled stardust on the track, one of the most spectacular videos of the year is finally out.
And Charlie Robins' jawdropping video for Naughty Boy's Runnin (Lose It All) has to be an underwater-shot music video like none before it: a love story of a couple destined to come together by the fact they appear to live (and to run) under the sea.
As with his video for Klangkarussell's Netzwerk last year, Charlie Robins' inspiration has come from studying an extraordinary exponent of an extreme pursuit.
In this case it was free-diving world champion Guillaume Nery, and his filmmaker partner and fellow free-diver Julie Gautier, and their film Ocean Gravity.
It led to a collaboration – and this video has been co-directed by Gautier with Robins - that's a majestic accompaniment to the song.
"It wasn’t an easy video to get off the ground initially, though [commissioner] James Hackett was a firm believer from the moment we pitched Charlie’s idea to him in a brief email," explains producer Sarah Tognazzi.
"Strangely enough, James had already contacted Guillaume & Julie himself when initially hearing the track. This created an enormous synergy from everyone involved to get this video made."
There was only one place that an idea which required Nery to run along the sea-bed, and co-star (and fellow free diving champion) Alice Modolo to run upside down under the surface of the water, could be achieved.
That was a small channel off the coast of Rangiroa, a tiny atoll in French Polynesia, off the coast of Tahiti.
With crystalline waters, 27 C water temperature, a shallow depth of only 15 meters, allowing the sun to light the scene naturally, and the strongest current in the world, this was also where Nery and Gautier shot Ocean Gravity.
"These natural conditions allowed for the magical underwater effects to be achieved entirely in-camera, beautifully shot on the Dragon by Jacques Ballard, who had previously collaborated with Guillaume and Julie," explains Tognazzi.
As a result this video manages that very rare thing - to look impossible and real at the same time.
But the original idea regarding the underwater illusion of walking on water surface was initiated in 2014.
A group of freedivers in the Canary Islands have utilized their expertise to film an astonishing video of underwater illusions, in which they appear to walk on water, sit cross-legged on the ocean’s surface, and fly through the void like a superhero, before they are pulled from the sea in a scene reminiscent of a sci-fi movie.
The illusions are the handiwork of brothers Armando and Francisco del Rosario, according to the Daily Mail.
Shot by biologist Armiche Ramos, the stunning footage employs no computer generated effects, relying instead on the abilities the pair have developed as freedivers.
Though several camera tricks were utilized to create the underwater illusions, they amount only to altering its orientation.
"Walking On Water" Illusion
The trio, who call themselves the Ocean Brothers, filmed their illusions as part of an underwater photography competition, World Shoot Out.
Their entry, which was filmed in El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, won the prize for best short film.
“We didn’t use any special effects, just camera tricks and weights which were hidden inside the wetsuits,” Ramos said.
“People who watch it usually don’t know what’s happening, they think that the images are made by computer.”
The illusions took three years to record, as the freedivers were forced to wait for optimal conditions, according to Barcroft TV.
At one point, filming was suspended for a year, due to an active underwater volcano in the region.
“The location is not always calm and we had to wait for the correct moment for several months at a time,” Ramos noted.
As the video begins, one of the divers can be seen running on the surface of the ocean, though in reality he is inverted underwater. In another segment, a diver sits cross-legged on the water in a similar fashion, before one of them is filmed flying through the underwater world wearing a Superman-like cape.
In the final scenes of the video, one of the divers walks along a rock face, and is pulled out of the sea in a scene reminiscent of the iconic portal from Stargate.
Earlier this year, a group of freedivers in the Atlantic filmed a far different experience while underwater.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, one of the divers was rammed by a whale shark, unaware that the animal was behind him until the last second.
The underwater illusions created by the Ocean Brothers reveal not only the astonishing beauty of the world below the surface, but also the full potential of their skill as freedivers.
The cult Finnish yacht maker Nautor’s Swan seduces sailors with sleek and speedy designs. Come aboard its latest, most ambitious vessel, Leonardo Ferragamo’s Solleone
ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO, Paul Glimcher, a New York City neurobiologist and lifelong sea dog, was halfway across the Atlantic Ocean when a storm hit his 54-foot Nautor’s Swan sloop.
Even such an experienced sailor, who already had a round-the-world tour under his life vest, had to give this storm some consideration.
“Here we were 1,500 miles from land. The seas were running 16 to 18 feet and the wind speed was 40 knots [46 miles per hour],” remembers Dr. Glimcher.
So what did he do?
“We went below and baked bread.”
An ideal yacht exists in two worlds: the exterior one, in which the
bow gracefully slices through the “restless wave” of which the Navy hymn
sings, and the interior one, which is so comfortable that when the
going gets tough, the tough can bake bread.
Such wind palaces are rare,
and so are the owners who can afford them.
As a result, the names of
certain cult yacht makers—Oyster, Perini Navi, Wally, Royal Huisman,
Nautor’s Swan—are whispered with the same hushed pride that 0.1
percenters exhibit when saying “my Gulfstream” or “my Picasso.”
The distinctive teak deck features boards laid in parallel lines.
Photo : Martien Mulder for WSJ
rarefied world, not just for the price tags, which can easily surpass
$10 million, but also for the costly upkeep, which involves a half-dozen
highly specialized crew members.
The gladiatorial communities that
gather around each brand are as competitive about their choices as they
are about the business endeavors that afforded them these boats in the
Nautor’s Swan’s club includes tech billionaire and
philanthropist Thomas Siebel and fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier.
“It’s a very strong boat. Both technically and aesthetically it’s great,” says Demarchelier, whose 53-foot Swan is called Puffy.
“Its lines are beautiful. I’ve used it for several shoots.”
can tell a Swan just by the feel of the wheel—they’re incredibly
responsive. They carve the water really well, even in a squall,” says
California oil magnate Donald R. Macpherson Jr., who, as a boy, sailed a Nautor’s Swan with his father and who recently spent a year and a half overseeing the construction of Freya, his 90-foot Swan.
“I wanted to re-create the experience I had with my father with my own family,” he says.
many other yachts are, like iPhones or high-end watches, amalgamations
of state-of-the-art components supplied by other companies, including
the latest push-button winches and sail trimmers, almost everything you
see on a Nautor’s Swan—from the deck hardware to the bilge pump
system—has been customized first in 3-D graphics on the company’s
computers and then by Nautor’s Swan’s own craftsmen in the remote
Finnish town of Jakobstad.
“You are creating self-contained worlds with
each boat,” says Heini Gustafsson, the senior designer of Nautor’s
Swan, where the smallest of the seven models currently offered is 54
“It’s a unique place—where else can you get the chance to
design everything from the sheets to the cutlery?”
Teak samples from the
interiors of every yacht built are stored at the boat works so that
repairs and modifications can be made later.
The Swan 115 S, the new flagship of the SwanLine, under sail in the emerald waters of Sardinia
So it’s no surprise that the boat builder’s newest owner is the chief executive of a luxury fashion and lifestyle brand.
Leonardo Ferragamo, one of the six heirs of Salvatore Ferragamo, recently built one of Nautor’s Swan’s most audacious boats yet for
“I am so intrigued with it,” says Ferragamo, 62, his usually
calm boardroom voice rising with excitement.
As he sits in his Milan
office, his new racing yacht, the first Swan 115, Solleone, is
undergoing its initial trial in the northern Finnish seas near
“It’s already sailing at 15 knots [17.3 mph]—but I think it
will reach 25 knots [28.8 mph],” he says of the boat. (An average
sailboat usually cruises along at five or six knots.)
Jakobstad is a spotless, typically Scandinavian modernist town, built
around a 17th-century core of buildings, yet it’s an outlier in Finland.
It’s located on the Gulf of Bothnia, across the gulf from Sweden, and
most people here speak Swedish.
Visitors rarely hear the town called by
its official Finnish name, Pietarsaari.
Locals pronounce “no” with an
easy and joyous nej and “yes”—jo—with a hesitant
Blessed by tall forests of raw material and protected granite
coves, this area has been a popular boat-building spot for three
“Everyone here has a boat project in their backyard,” one local woman
“My father built our family’s 26-foot sailboat on our lawn.”
But the town was put firmly on the nautical charts in 1966, when paper
salesman and serial entrepreneur Pekka Koskenkylä launched the yacht
company that was to become Nautor’s Swan.
He had a vision of applying
Finnish functionalist design to making the speedy yet comfortable boats
that are today responsible for the private jets parked at the tiny local
Using his formidable salesman’s skills, Koskenkylä
convinced the world’s best-known naval architects, New York–based
Sparkman & Stephens—which is responsible for eight America’s Cup
winners—to work for his fledgling company.
Together they created yachts
that could sail with the best on the regatta circuit.
In 1974, a Swan 65
won the first-ever Whitbread Round the World Race—an annual Phileas
Fogg–type event, hatched by a group of thrill-seeking English tycoons
and now called the Volvo Ocean Race—earning Nautor’s Swan instant
That inaugural half-year odyssey is still legendary among
sailing aficionados: Despite facing epically challenging conditions that
included 300-foot icebergs and 50-mile-an-hour winds, the Swan
In 1980, Germán Frers—a one-time Sparkman &
Stephens chief designer who had left to found his own eponymously named
firm—took over as Nautor’s Swan design guru, a position he retains.
had already created renowned crafts of the day including Beau Geste, Wizard of Paget, Quest of Paget and Simba,
and soon he designed a new Nautor’s Swan.
Its shallow hull, vertical
bow and narrow fin keel made the boats into clean and efficient sea
Now, a half-century since its founding, Nautor’s Swan
has produced, hand-screw by hand-screw, some 2,000 boats, from the
relatively chubby cruising yachts of the ’60s and ’70s to the more
recent distinctive flush-deck, blue-banded boats.
But it hasn’t been all
In 1972, after a fire in the boatyard that proved
costly, Koskenkylä was forced to sell his company to the local paper
mill, and by the late ’90s it was suffering losses.
In 1998 Ferragamo,
the chief executive officer of Palazzo Feroni Finanziaria S.p.A, the
holding company for the family’s diverse businesses, stepped in and
bought a controlling interest in Nautor’s Swan.
A passionate sailor, he
already owned two Swans before taking over the boat works, and he has
since added another six to his stable.
“When I first got married, my
wife wanted a summerhouse and I wanted a Swan—I bought the Swan first,”
says Ferragamo, who visits the yard every two or three months.
“So when I
acquired the company, I already had such respect for the brand. I
recognized the enormous pride and craftsmanship that went into building a
Leonardo Ferragamo on board Sailing Yacht Solleone
After he became chairman, “initially there might have been some
suspiciousness from the Finnish side,” says Ferragamo.
“They might have
thought that I was just a decorator rather than someone with a long-term
plan.” Since he has arrived, more than 15 new Swan models have been
introduced, such as the popular yacht Swan 45, which was unveiled in
2001 and could be built in under a year, faster than the average Swan.
Meanwhile, carbon fiber soon replaced the older fiberglass hulls.
were some rough patches,” agrees Marcus Jungell, the company’s sales
“We Finns might seem a little introverted. They bring Italian
The carbon fiber mast of a Swan 115 measures more than 150 feet
Photo : Martien Mulder for WSJ
The new 115-footer, of which Solleone is one of four thus
far, has been the most ambitious project resulting from the
A yacht of such enormous size is
challenging to design to racing specifications, and each one will cost
$16 to $22 million.
(But the company seems confident of its
success—there are already plans for a 130-foot Swan.)
I drove to Kållby,
8 miles inland, to have a look at one of them in what must be Finland’s
most unusual sauna: a long white-painted hangar where boat hulls and
other carbon fiber elements are electrically baked in the vacuum of
giant temperature-tolerant plastic bags.
Workmen in overalls were
carefully stretching out mats of laminate on the hull before wrapping
the whole thing in plastic, pumping out the air from beneath and warming
the ovens to 195 degrees.
It was as if Arthur Treacher had captured
This baking process is one of the first steps in a
115’s 20-month design and construction schedule. Carbon fiber is the
material of choice for anything designed for speed, from Formula One
cars to racing yachts, thanks to its enormous strength-to-weight ratio.
However, air is the great enemy; bubbles can create cracks and weaken
the overall structure.
“The old-fashioned way of hand-basting laminate
will still have 7 to 8 percent air content, even if you are good at it,”
says Thomas Lill, who oversees Nautor’s Swan’s composite process.
“Baking our hulls like this can reduce the air content to 0.5 percent.”
Down at the company’s harbor facility, Solleone
is tied to the harbor dock, its hull dwarfed by the 151-foot mast.
Workmen are still sanding the already-smooth teak deck.
the yacht’s project manager, pointed at our feet.
“See this? The planks
all line up straight. They don’t curve with the boat like others do.”
Indeed, the entire deck is lined like a bowling alley from stern to bow,
across all hatches.
This unusual aesthetic flourish, coupled with white
caulking, gives the deck a gleaming, elegantly minimalist feel—a
fantastical white saucer that floats a few feet above the choppy
There’s also a practical reason for the smoothness of
the deck: fewer rope snags—the bane of sailors.
For the interior,
Ferragamo worked with his frequent collaborator, the Florentine
architect and interior designer Michele Bonan, to add Mediterranean
touches: Glossed teak paneling with customized wood shutters set off by
silver picture frames; door latches and drawer pulls cushioned with
stitched leather; stateroom headboards done up in red and blue percale;
and the all-important galley, set in the prime spot just forward of the
Perhaps most important, Solleone’s 11.5-foot keel can be
raised, allowing the boat to enter the shallower waters of most
The 450-horsepower Scania diesel engine is muffled thanks to a
complex system of insulation—not even the silverware vibrates when it’s
Ferragamo would doubtless like to have the same sense
of stability in the current world financial markets, which are choppy
waters for sales of super-yachts.
“Traditionally, our market was evenly
divided between the U.S., Northern Europe and the Mediterranean,” says
sales director Jungell, who adds that the current Mediterranean economic
climate is pushing them to pursue emerging markets like Russia and
But looking at the new 115, one can’t help but suspect that this
newest venture is about something more than quarterly financial
There’s comfort in the fact that both Ferragamo and Nautor’s
Swan hail from cultures that take very long-term views of the business
“My family has a saying,” says Ferragamo.
is the foundation for the bridge you want to build.’ You need to
respect it but not just maintain it. With Nautor’s Swan, we want a
stronger drive toward evolution—never a revolution.”
Sailweb : Swan In the Begining - Swan 36 Tarantella
Every day for sixty million years, seabirds have performed mind-boggling acts of derring-do: circumnavigating the globe without rest, diving more than 200 meters in treacherous seas for a bite of lunch, braving the most unpredictable weather on the planet as if it were just another Tuesday and finding their way home in waters with few, if any, landmarks.
The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) undertakes the longest known migration of any animal, travelling from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back each year.
The IUCN Red List considers the species as Least Concern, but its population is in decline.
Photograph: Ben Lascelles/Birdlife International
But now seabirds, like so many other species, may have met their match.
Conservationists have long known that many seabird populations are in decline, but a recent paper in PLOS ONE finds the situation worse than anticipated.
According to the researchers, seabird abundance has dropped 69.7% in just 60 years – representing the deaths of some 230 million animals.
“I was very surprised with the result, it was considerably greater than I’d expected,” said Edd Hammill, co-author of the paper, with Utah State University.
“What we should take away from this is that something is serious amiss in the oceans.”
Ben Lascelles, a Senior Marine Officer with Birdlife, who was not involved in the study, said he found the research alarming because the decline appeared practically indiscriminate, hitting a “large number of species across a number of families.”
The Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) is listed as Least Concern and is found throughout the pantropical oceans.
However some populations are suspected to be in decline owing to disturbance and unsustainable levels of exploitation.
Photograph: Ben Lascelles/Birdlife International
Seabirds, which include any bird that depends largely on the marine environment, comprise nearly 350 species worldwide – an astonishing variety of extreme-loving birds.
For example, the indefatigable wandering albatross, which sports the largest wingspan on the planet; the child-sized Emperor penguin, the only bird that breeds during the Antarctic winter; and the tiny storm petrel that practically capers on the water as it feeds – they are named for St. Peter after all.
But, given that seabirds inhabit both the open ocean and the shoreline, this eclectic mix of birds faces a litany of threats: overfishing, drowning in fishing lines or nets, plastic pollution, invasive species like rats in nesting areas, oil and gas development and toxic pollution moving up the food chain.
And as if these weren’t enough, the double-whammy of climate change and ocean acidification threatens to flood nesting sites and disrupt food sources.
“Seabirds are particularly good indicators of the health of marine ecosystems,” explained lead author, Michelle Paleczny with the University of British Columbia and the Sea Around Us Project.
“When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems. It gives us an idea of the overall impact we’re having.”
Bu with such a large number of species across such a wide variety of environment one is left asking: how did the scientists count so many birds?
The Near Threatened Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) is a species at risk of accidental bycatch in fisheries of the North Pacific.
However, simple mitigation measures have proved to be very effective at keeping seabirds off the hooks.
Photograph: Ben Lascelles/Birdlife International
First, the team of researchers scoured all the population data on seabirds available.
They found demographic data on 3,213 populations.
But they couldn’t use all of theses counts, since conservationists had surveyed many of these far-flung populations just once or twice – not enough to show a real trend
The team eventually selected 513 populations that had been counted at least five times.
In all, these populations represented about 19 percent of the world’s seabirds.
Still, Hammil said he believes the team’s findings “are an accurate representation of what is happening worldwide.”
He added, “although we did not include every population, all seabird families were included, and we included populations from every major coastline in the world.”
A gannet grabs a fish by its beak, 2014, in Shetland, Scotland.
Gannets, and other seabirds, depend on abundant fish populations to survive.
Photograph: Richard Shucksmith/BarcroftMedia/Richard Shucksmith/BarcroftMedia
Paleczny also said that when the researchers looked at the differences between monitored and unmonitored populations, they saw “no evidence that the monitored populations are declining more.”
The findings are also bolstered by past research. In 2012 a paper in Bird Conservation International found that 28 percent of seabird species are threatened with extinction with 47 percent in decline.
This meant, in all, seabirds were about twice as likely as land-based birds to be threatened with extinction.
“The trends for many seabird species have clearly been downwards for a number of years, and this paper provides further evidence of this,” Lascelles said.
Still, Paleczny and Hammil’s research arguably paints an even more alarming picture of the state of the world’s seabirds.
For example, according to them, the tern family has fallen by 85%, frigatebirds by 81%, petrels and shearwaters by 79%, and albatrosses by 69%.
Such dismal findings point to one of the study’s patterns: open ocean birds – such as albatrosses, frigatebirds, petrels and shearwaters – are generally faring worse than birds that stick near the coasts.
“[Open-ocean] seabirds are hit especially hard due to their large geographic ranges. Because these species travel so far, there is a greater chance they will encounter threats,” said Hammill who noted that coastal birds “in some cases” are doing better because of improved management of breeding areas and improved fishing gear.
But even when threats were minimized, Lacalles noted that recovery requires diligence and patience.
“Most seabirds are long-lived and slow reproducing, this means even quite small increases in mortality can lead to significant population declines, which they take a long time to recover from.”
And even some widely-dispersed coastal birds are undergoing heavy declines.
For example, the study found that cormorant and shag populations have fallen by 73%.
Laysan Albatross adult and chick on nest dwarfed by pile of marine debris collected on Midway Atoll coast by volunteers.
Plastic poses a major threat to the world’s seabirds and other marine species.
The Laysan Albatross is categorised as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.
Given all the threats facing the world’s seabirds, it’s fair to ask: where do we start when it comes to conservation?
“We already have solutions to many of the threats...it’s just they need scaling up and implementing across industries and geographies,” Lascelles said.
“Increased efforts should be made to rid seabird colonies of invasive species, reduce bycatch in fisheries or the ensnaring of birds in fish nets, and setting up conservation areas.”
Paleczny also called for the creation of international marine protected areas to cover the wide ranges of seabirds.
No other bird breeds further south than the Near Threatened Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae). Numbers are increasing in the Ross Sea region and decreasing in the Peninsula region, with the net global population increasing overall.
But other penguin species aren’t faring so well.
Photograph: Ben Lascelles/Birdlife International
Protected areas in the oceans lag far behind those on land.
Currently, only 2% of the world’s oceans are under some form of protection and less than half of those ban fishing altogether.
In contrast, nearly 15% of the world’s terrestrial landscape is protected.
With so little of the ocean theoretically closed to fisheries – less than 1% – it’s hardly shocking that many seabirds are suffering from overfishing.
Indeed, an illuminating study from 2012 found that whenever fish abundance dropped below one-third of maximum levels, seabird populations began to fall in response.
“What this is saying is that [seabirds] have evolved to exploit average to above-average feeding conditions,” co-author Ian Boyd told Mongabay in 2012.
“This isn’t really very surprising, but some things don’t become obvious until the evidence is right in front of you.”
The accidental bycatch of huge numbers of seabirds in a variety of fisheries (e.g. longline, trawl, gillnets) is one of the main threat facing seabirds and has driven the declines in many species, particularly albatross.
However a number of simple mitigation measures are available, and where they have been implemented the reduction in bycatch has been dramatic.
Photograph: Ben Lascelles/Birdlife International
At the time, Boyd said their findings should result in a new campaign to save “one third for the birds” (and other marine predators) from the world’s fisheries.
But to Hammill the “most pressing issue” is plastic pollution.
Long neglected by environmentalists – perhaps due to the intractability of the problem – the issue of plastic pollution in the oceans has been slowly getting more notice.
A paper released last month found that 90% of the world’s seabirds likely have plastic in their stomachs.
“I have seen everything from cigarette lighters...to bottle caps to model cars. I’ve found toys [inside seabird guts],” co-author Denise Hardesty, with CSIRO, told the Associated Press.
The razorbill (Alca Torda) is a member of the puffin family restricted to the North Atlantic.
They nest on rocky cliff faces in huge colonies, in some location reduction in sandeel, their main prey item, has caused reduced productivity and declines.
Photograph: Ben Lascelles/Birdlife International
Seabirds continually mistake plastic for fish eggs, devouring large amounts.
Plastic in animals’ stomachs not only release deadly toxins, but can also lead to slow starvation by obstructing the animals’ bowels.
Birds even feed plastic bits to their young, killing their fledglings en masse.
In the end, large-scale actions to help seabirds could also go a long way in cleaning-up our increasingly trashed marine ecosystems.
“The oceans are still woefully under protected and fisheries need greater management and enforcement. All of these activities need investment and support of governments around the world to make them happen,” Lacalles said.
“These actions will build resilience in the seabird populations in the short term, which they need in the face of emerging threats such as climate change.” Links :
The September 2015 equinox happens on September 23 at 8:21 Universal Time,
which translates to 3:21 a.m. Central Daylight Time for us in the
So as you read this, the exact moment of the equinox may
have already happened for you.
It’s often said that – at each equinox –
the sun rises due east and sets due west.
And that’s true.
How can you conceptualize this?
First you need to know this. An equinox occurs when the sun crosses the celestial equator.
No matter where you are on Earth, the celestial equator intersects
your horizon at due east and due west. See the diagram below to try to
At its highest point in your sky, the celestial equator
appears high or low, depending on your latitude.
The imaginary celestial equator is a great circle dividing the imaginary celestial sphere
into its northern and southern hemispheres, so, from the equator, it’s
directly overhead, for example, wrapping the sky directly above Earth’s
For purposes of today’s visualization, though, the height of the
celestial equator in your sky doesn’t matter.
What matters are these
One, the sun is on the celestial equator at the equinox.
Two, the celestial equator intersects your horizon at points due east
and due west. Voila.
The sun rises due east and sets due west on the day of the equinox, as seen from around the globe.
Where does the celestial equator intersect your horizon? The imaginary celestial sphere surrounds Earth. Seen from Earth’s
equator, the celestial equator is overhead. Seen from Earth’s poles,
the celestial poles are overhead. But from northern mid-latitudes, for
example, the north celestial pole appears at a height in your northern
sky that depends on your latitude. Likewise, the path of the celestial
equator across your southern sky depends on your latitude. Meanwhile,
no matter where you are on the globe (unless you are at a pole), the
celestial equator meets your horizon at points due east and due west. Due east and due west are like the “pivot points” from which the
celestial equator appears to shift to various heights in your sky,
depending on your latitude.
Why does the sun rises due east and set due west at the equinoxes? The blue line is the celestial equator (always at your due east and due
west points). The purple line is the ecliptic, or sun’s path. At the
equinox, these two lines intersect. The sun is on the celestial
equator. So the sun rises due east and sets due west, as seen from all
points on the globe (except the poles). Illustration via JCCC Astronomy.
This fact – the sun rising and setting due east and west at every
equinox – makes the day of an equinox a good day for finding due east
and due west from your yard or other favorite site for watching the sky.
Just go outside around sunset or sunrise and notice the location of
the sun on the horizon with respect to familiar landmarks.
If you do
this, you’ll be able to use those landmarks to find those cardinal
directions in the weeks and months ahead, long after Earth has moved on
in its orbit around the sun, carrying the sunrise and sunset points
southward or northward.
The north face of an equatorial sundial receives sunshine in spring and
summer, and the south face receives it in autumn and winter.
equinoxes, sunshine should hit neither side of the sundial, but only the
Now let’s think about what an equinox really is.
It’s an event that
happens on the imaginary dome of Earth’s sky, but each equinox also
represents a real point on Earth’s orbit.
What happens at every equinox
is very real – as real as the sun’s passage across the sky each day and
as real as the change of the seasons.
Our ancestors couldn’t have understood the equinoxes as we do.
didn’t understand them as events that occur in the course of Earth’s
yearly orbit around the sun.
But if they were observant – and some were very observant indeed –
they surely marked today as being midway between the sun’s lowest path
across the sky in winter and highest path across the sky in summer.
And that’s where we are, in orbit, at this equinox.
We’re midway between the two extremes of the sun’s path in your sky.
The seasons result from the Earth's rotational axis tilting 23.5 degrees
out of perpendicular to the ecliptic - or Earth's orbital plane.
An equatorial ring was used in ancient times in an attempt to determine the equinoxes.
The ring plane is set parallel to the plane of the Earth’s equator.
If the equinox happened during the daylight hours, the inside of the ring was expected to be completely in shade at the equinox.
Entering the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory hangar is akin to
stepping onto the set of a Spielberg film.
The dull metal shell, perched
on the Makai pier along the Windward Coast of Oahu, is nondescript, but
the inside bristles with Zodiac boats and a dizzying assortment of
hoists and tools, and the walls are festooned with 30 years of
At the center of it all, two 20-foot-long Pisces submarines
sit atop skids like alien spacecraft, their robotic arms outstretched,
beckoning for another mission.
The laboratory, part of the University of Hawaii and better known as
HURL, has been the sole submersible-based United States deep-sea
research outpost in the mid-Pacific since the 1980s.
At its helm is
Terry Kerby, perhaps the most experienced submersible pilot alive.
crew of five, Mr. Kerby and the Pisces subs have discovered more than
140 wrecks and artifacts, recovered tens of millions of dollars in lost
scientific equipment, and surveyed atolls and seamounts whose
hydrothermal vents and volcanoes were unknown.
The Pisces IV and Pisces V research submarines could soon be mothballed.
Kent Nishimura for The New York Times
very unusual to have a facility that large and well-equipped in the
middle of a large ocean basin,” said Robert Dunbar, a Stanford
“They’ve done a remarkable thing over there, largely due
to Terry’s expertise.”
today, Mr. Kerby faces the possible mothballing of his fleet.
forces at play are the same as in many other realms of science —
dwindling budgets, of course.
subs can stay down for days and reach extraordinary depths, instantly
relaying their finds to scientists and an Internet-connected global
But they cannot go everywhere, and many scientists argue that
studying the deep without direct human observation yields at best an
“You can’t replace a Terry Kerby with a robot,” said Andy Bowen, principal engineer at Woods Hole. “It’s not possible.”
65, Mr. Kerby is tanned and fit, thanks to daily two-mile ocean swims.
He has been piloting submersibles at Makai for better than three
decades, starting in the mid-1970s harvesting corals.
He shifted to the
University of Hawaii and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, which had bought the Makai facility to expand the
nation’s deep-sea capabilities.
1985, Mr. Kerby found the Pisces V submersible idled in Edinburgh and
persuaded the university to spend $500,000 for it.
Relatively big, it
could dive to 6,500 feet.
“She cost $4 million to build in 1972,” he
said. “And would cost $50 million to build today.”
V came with no instruction manual, but Mr. Kerby found it was highly
maneuverable and could hover motionless, even in strong currents.
also operated untethered from a mother ship, allowing exploration of
caves and overhangs. Coupling Pisces with the University of Hawaii’s
research ship, the Ka`imikai-O-Kanaloa, and a home-built submersible
platform enabled Mr. Kerby to carry out missions from 60 feet down,
during surface conditions too rough for any other submersible.
racked up discoveries, beginning with exploration of the Loihi seamount
off Kona. Eighteen years of return missions have revealed that an area
once thought dead is a vibrant world of myriad ecosystems and volcanism
still shaping the Hawaiian Islands.
Along Loihi and other slopes, the
team discovered living corals that predate even California’s bristlecone
In part 1 of a two-episode look at the submersible operation at the Hawaii Undersea Research Lab, we meet Terry Kerby, a legend of the underwater world. Terry has been piloting submarines for over 30 years. He and his team recently redeployed an old technology to help them save money in times of reduced funding for scientific research. The LRT-30a is a barge that transports the sub out to its dive site. A team of divers then takes the barge underwater with the submarine still attached and proceeds to launch the sub while it is underwater. see part II
2000, Mr. Kerby acquired a sister sub, the Pisces IV, from Canada for
Exploring in tandem made diving safer and enabled film crews to
show discoveries in the context of the submersibles.
The subs have
appeared in more than 20 documentaries, including National Geographic’s “Fires of Creation,”
in which the oceanographer Robert Ballard, whose discoveries included
the wreckage of the Titanic, descended with Mr. Kerby to the caldera of
Besides plumbing geological and ecological mysteries, the Pisces subs have made dives that sharpened views of history.
A little more than an hour before the first bombs fell in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the American destroyer U.S.S. Ward
reported that it had sunk a tiny submarine near the harbor entrance.
But in a blunder that still fuels conspiracy theories, the report never
reached far enough up Navy command to initiate a mobilization of
The Ward’s claim was disputed, even in the official Pearl
Harbor investigation report.
The sub thus became a holy grail for marine
archaeologists and historians.
Pisces V lauched from R/V KoK
August 2002, Mr. Kerby lay across the bench of the Pisces V, 1,200 feet
down, gazing at the dark, frigid world beyond his porthole.
he had been sweeping the seafloor four miles south of Pearl Harbor,
hunting for the mythic sub amid three dozen potential sonar targets and
fighting a rising sense of futility.
“We were chasing our tails down
there,” he said.
But then, looming out of the darkness, Mr. Kerby faced a torpedo shape three times as long as the Pisces. It was a 78-foot-long submarine
bearing the exact damage – a four-inch hole punched just beneath its
conning tower — described by the Ward’s crew.
“We’d searched for 10
years,” Mr. Kerby said.
“I just couldn’t believe it.”
that find, NOAA directed Mr. Kerby to further document the wreck-strewn
waters off south Oahu.
In another National Geographic project, the team
discovered four mammoth Japanese I-series submarines captured by the Navy at the end of World War II and scuttled to keep them out of Soviet hands.
Experience the first view of a World War II-era Imperial Japanese Navy mega-submarine, the I-400, lost since 1946 when it was intentionally scuttled by U.S. forces after its capture.
It now sits in more than 2,300 feet of water off the southwest coast of O'ahu.
the Pisces program has done, mostly underfunded and unappreciated, over
the years is unmatched,” said Sylvia Earle, former chief science
officer for NOAA.
“It’s baffling to me that more understanding and
funding hasn’t been heaped upon them.”
years ago, piloted deep-sea exploration appeared on the verge of a
boom, funded by wealthy explorer/entrepreneurs.
In 2012, after spending
$10 million building his Challenger Deep submersible, the filmmaker
James Cameron became one of three humans to reach the 6.8-mile depths of the Marianas Trench, the deepest ocean spot on Earth — and the only one to do it solo.
The Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson
promised a new era of exploration with his $17 million Virgin Oceanic
And Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chairman, joined with Dr. Earle
on the $40 million Deep Ocean project.
all those programs have withered.
And by fiscal year 2014, the deep-sea
budget for NOAA was down to $26 million.
For comparison, NASA’s
exploration budget was $4 billion.
The United States Navy has abandoned
piloted submersibles with the exception of Alvin, which it owns jointly
with Woods Hole.
In 2013, NOAA said it would no longer fund the Pisces
program, leaving the United States with no Pacific deep-sea facility.
HURL has money to last until the beginning of 2016.
After that, the
university may be forced to sell the submersibles.
“There are only eight
deep-diving submarines left operating in the world” that can go 6,500
feet or deeper, said John Wiltshire, director of HURL and a member of
the Woods Hole submersible scientific advisory committee.
about to lose a quarter of the world’s fleet.”
To hear Dr. Ballard tell it, the shift began during a 1977
dive aboard Alvin off the Galápagos Islands.
About 8,000 feet down, Dr.
Ballard noticed a colleague paying more attention to the camera monitor
than to Alvin’s tiny windows.
“He turned his back on me to look at the
screen,” Dr. Ballard said.
“I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘I can get closer.’ I
said, ‘Then why the hell are you here?’ ”
Dr. Ballard said he realized fundamental truths of piloted deep-sea
exploration: It’s cold and scary, time in the deep is limited, and
robotic vehicles might do the same work for less money.
He persuaded the
Navy to fund two remote exploration vehicles, Argo and Jason, for use
by Woods Hole.
On Sept. 1, 1985, Argo first filmed the wreckage
of the Titanic.
Since then, remote deep-sea vehicles have proliferated
in exploration, mining and drilling. Dr. Wiltshire estimates perhaps
10,000 are in operation.
NOAA’s deep-sea efforts
are focused on two ships: its own Okeanos Explorer, based in Rhode
Island, and the E/V Nautilus, a joint project with the Ocean Exploration
Trust, founded by Dr. Ballard and based in Connecticut.
Nautilus has an
autonomous underwater vehicle that follows a programmed route and two
tethered remote submersibles.
Dr. Ballard’s ships carry just one or two senior oceanographers;
engineers and technical staff deploy and monitor the submersibles,
which, via satellite link, deliver real-time images across the world via
Terry Kerby and his Pisces subs have discovered more than 140 undersea wrecks and artifacts.
Kent Nishimura for The New York Times
Ballard described a recent Nautilus expedition that sent its
submersibles two and a half miles down into the Cayman Trough.
piloted dive, the descent and ascent would take six hours each, leaving
mere minutes for seafloor exploration.
“Now we’re going down to 20,000
feet and spending days,” he said.
“And we have the entire world
most marine scientists, including Mr. Kerby, robots have clearly won
the deep-sea war.
It’s now a question of whether lingering advantages to
piloted exploration should be discarded.
Mr. Kerby described a recent
robotic mission that Pisces might have done better.
2012, Ric Gillespie, a retired naval aviator, and Dr. Ballard announced
a sonar hit off Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific that might
represent the wreckage of the Lockheed Electra flown by Amelia Earhart.
Mr. Gillespie requested Mr. Kerby for the expedition, but the Pisces
subs were down for maintenance, so his team instead relied on robotic
The tethered sub was unable to explore the near-vertical sea
walls and could not deploy over days of rough seas.
untethered robotic vehicle became lodged in a reef overhang and had to
be rescued by a tethered robot.
The recovery nearly required the
University of Hawaii’s Ka`imikai-O-Kanaloa to deploy perilously close to
a horrible way to search,” Mr. Gillespie said.
“It’s like you’ve lost
your car keys at night in your backyard and you’re looking for them
through a toilet paper roll with a flashlight.”
the university, Dr. Wiltshire cited plans for bringing Alvin and the
Nautilus rovers to explore newly created Pacific marine monuments.
for Nautilus are in the range of $35,000 to $40,000 a day, while Alvin
and its support vessel Atlantis II cost $60,000 to $70,000 a day.
can deploy both Pisces subs for $48,000 a day, “and that’s not counting
the transit time and expense to get there,” Dr. Wiltshire said.
takes us 15 days, but it takes two months to bring those ships over from
the East Coast.”
Ballard countered that comparison must take into account the time his
rovers can stay submerged — days at a time, as opposed to eight hours or
so for Pisces or Alvin.
Dr. Bowen, who oversees the robotic and piloted programs for Woods Hole, says piloted exploration still has plenty of benefit.
Operating two of only eight deep-diving submersibles in the world, the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) at the University of Hawaii - Manoa provides science and engineering communities with safe and efficient, cutting edge submergence capability.
A regional center in the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, HURL supports proposals to conduct undersea research in offshore and nearshore waters of the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and waters of the central, southwestern, and western Pacific, including the new marine national monuments.
no question that the strong suit for robotics is that you can engage a
larger number of people in the process of exploration and discovery,”
Dr. Bowen said.
But taking in all the undersea factors — currents,
sounds, land forms, interactions between animals and their environment —
humans are still far better at synthesizing what’s going on in the deep
sea, he said.
“We hear that all the time from researchers who have
looked at the video monitors and data screens from Jason, but then also
gone down in Alvin.
It’s stunning how different their perception of the
to Craig McLean, the assistant administrator for oceanic and
atmospheric research at NOAA, decisions about HURL’s future were mainly a
matter of budget constraints and emerging technology.
HURL was funded
as part of NOAA’s National Undersea Research Program.
competed for NOAA-backed studies, and the agency maintained and provided
the equipment — like Pisces submarines — to the winners.
was phased out in favor of an unpiloted, Internet-connected virtual
model that includes on-call scientists around the world.
realized we can’t afford to do it all,” he said.
“So we had to ask,
what are we doing and how can we have it be inclusive? So scientists who
can’t dive — they have a presence through telepresence.”
addition to making headlines with discoveries of bizarre creatures,
surveys with the Okeanos have, he said, had more practical applications.
A fisheries survey, for example, resulted in the recent protection of
38,000 nautical square miles of ocean off the East Coast.
McLean said that should a scientist bring a proposal before NOAA or the
National Science Foundation that Pisces was well suited for, Mr.
Kerby’s team could still get funding on a mission-by-mission basis.
further agreed with a sentiment expressed by Dr. Earle, that in a time
of dramatic changes in the climate and ocean itself — some 90 percent of
which remains completely unexplored — he would prefer that NOAA had a
wider arsenal of discovery at its disposal.
“We’re doing as much as we
can,” he said.
“But we have to get into these difficult situations where
we have to make our priorities.”
the meantime, Mr. Kerby and his maintenance chief, Steve Price, have
Mr. Price has been funded to compile a database of all
Pisces discoveries for use by NOAA.
A World War II documentary project
has kept Mr. Kerby busy lately, and a series of geology, undersea cable
and sewer outfall surveys will keep HURL funded through year’s end.
says he is confident more work will materialize, preventing his crew
from having to follow the route of many former colleagues into oil
and gas exploration.
He’d love to secure the resources not only to keep
his subs running, but to add a full-time robot sub to HURL’s fleet.
associate of mine at Woods Hole upper management said, ‘HURL doesn’t
stand a chance,’ ” Mr. Kerby said.
“ ‘They’re too far from the
flagpole.’Well, we are. We’re way out here on the ocean frontier, in
the prime spots, and we’re one of the most cost-effective operations
around. With all the new and unexplored monuments in the western
Pacific, and all the groups that need to do that exploration, we’re the
only viable tool with experience in these environments.”
After four years designing and piloting underwater drones, we've
taken everything we've learned and completely re-imagined what an
underwater drone could be.
Trident has a unique design that combines the
versatility and control of an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) and the
efficiency of an AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle).
It can fly in
long, straight survey lines called "transects" as well as perform
delicate maneuvers in tight spaces, all while maintaining a sleek and
powerful form factor.
Trident is easy to use and comes ready to
Most importantly, it is incredibly fun to fly.
(Flying really is the
best term, because that's exactly what it feels like when you're
You may remember us.
We came to Kickstarter three
years ago and shared our dream of building a low-cost underwater robot
that would allow anyone and everyone to explore the world below the
We have come a long way since that initial Kickstarter video.
were working out of Eric's garage at the time, building the original
prototype to explore a cave in Northern California with rumors of lost
treasure (the full story can be heard in this TED talk).
We never found the gold, but we received messages from people all over
the world who wanted to help us and improve the robot.
project was the springboard. Since then, we've shipped thousands of
OpenROV kits to people all over the world.
The OpenROV community is the secret sauce.
our project open source in order to facilitate faster innovation cycles
and allow others to improve on our initial designs.
Thousands of people
have gotten involved.
You can see and follow along with the community
expeditions on OpenExplorer.
We've also assembled a small team that works from our
OpenROV HQ in Berkeley, CA to manufacture, ship and support the robots.
The combination of community wisdom and the commitment of our internal
R&D team (many of whom were original Kickstarter backers) have been
the drivers in creating Trident.
At OpenROV, we talk openly about our desire to maximize "Return on
We want to make sure that everyone who comes in contact
with our project - community members, customers, employees, whoever -
feels that their world is more interesting and more exciting because of
We want to give people a sense of wonder about how much out there is
yet to be explored and make it possible for anyone to be a part of
Trident is our best attempt yet to fulfill that promise.
Every aspect of the Trident design has been painstakingly
thought out in order to optimize performance and usability in any
One of the secrets of its versatility is the unique,
hydrodynamically offset thruster design.
This configuration allows you
to move through the water fast and efficiently when you want to rapidly
search an area or run a transect, but also allows you to maneuver very
delicately when in tight quarters or while looking at a particular
By taking advantage of drag's exponential relationship
with velocity, the off-center vertical thruster of the ROV can cause it
to pitch at high speeds but also hover or change depth without pitching
while operating at low speeds - similar to the way a traditional ROV
We've designed Trident to be ultra portable and ultra durable.
factor is small enough to fit in a backpack or fit under an airplane
The side panels are overmolded with a strong, rubber coating,
which gives it protection from underwater obstacles as well as rough
handling when being transported.
Depth: Capable of 100m (will ship with a 25m tether - longer tethers will be sold separately) Mass: 2.9 kg Top Speed: 2 m/s Run Time: 3 hours
The data connection to Trident is a major evolution from the
connection set up of the original OpenROV kit.
It uses a neutrally
buoyant tether to communicate to a towable buoy on the surface (radio
waves don't travel well in water) and the buoy connects to the pilot
using a long range WiFi signal.
Using a wireless towable buoy greatly
increases the practical range of the vehicle while doing transects and
search patterns since a physical connection between the vehicle and the
pilot doesn't need to be maintained.
You can connect to the buoy and
control Trident using a tablet or laptop from a boat or from the shore.
Our goal is to make the easiest, most intuitive telerobotic control
We have embraced the latest emerging internet
standards from HTML5 and webRTC to WebVR and WebGL to deliver a rich
piloting experience through just a browser that runs on laptops,
tablets, and modern mobile devices.
The software that drives Trident is a living open-source project (https://github.com/openrov/openrov-software).
The same software that drives our previous ROV has been continually
updated by both the community and our software team. Some of those
Software plugins that allow any ROV enthusiast to deliver improved
ROV capabilities to the whole OpenROV community via small Internet
delivered update packages.
UI Themes so that you can change the look and feel of the piloting experience.
Depth and Heading hold. Until recently, only a feature on high end industrial ROVs, now available to everyone.
With Trident we are focused on an amazing out-of-the-box
We are reviewing every bit of the user experience regarding
our software to ensure the most simple and intuitive experience
In each of the reward levels for a Trident, the basic package will include:
Trident. The actual drone, ready-to-dive.
A 25m (82 ft) tether. There's a lot to see in the first 25m of
depth. For many people, that will be enough. Tethers will be removable
and upgradeable if you need to go deeper.
A wifi topside buoy. The tether connects to a wifi topside buoy.
You can use this to control the ROV remotely by setting it on the water
or just leaving it on the boat or dock.
Batteries. Trident comes with onboard LiFePO4 batteries, providing a run time of over 3 hours.
ADVENTURE SET ADD ON* (add $350 to any pledge level): *You can always get this later if you're not sure. Or only add for either the hard case or longer tether.
Hard Case. ($100 Add On) Trident will come in a sturdy package/box, but the Adventure Set will have a hard case for travel and shipment. AND/OR
100m Tether. ($250 Add On) Know you want to go deep? Get the 100m tether right out of the gate.
We built Trident to be the ultimate
tool for explorers.
But we also wanted to make sure that it was useful
for a whole host of utilities.
One of the most interesting new features -
something that sets Trident in a class of its own - is its ability to
conduct long transects, meaning it can run lawn mower patterns over
The benefit of this type of coverage is that you can
create visualizations of what the seafloor looks like using
photogrammetry software to create a 3D model of the work area.
example from the Fiskardo Greece Expedition run by our friends at OCTOPUS Foundation and Novalta:
Mission Fiskardo 2015 (Greece) In the Northern part of Kefalonia island in the Ionian sea, Ocean71, Novalta and Fiskardo Divers
When overlaid on top of aerial drone footage, these visualizations create a "window on the sea."
It's also a great tool for boat owners and fishermen.
Whether you want
to inspect an anchor line or look for shipwrecks, Trident gives you eyes
underwater and adds a whole new dynamic to the experience of being on
Sponsor a High School "The OpenROV project was a winner -- igniting my inner city
students' enthusiasm for exploration, taking on academic and technical
challenges and developing resilience to over-come set-backs." -Katie Noonan, Oakland High School
of the most exciting parts of the OpenROV project has been the number
of high school classes and students that have taken part.
provides an incredibly well-rounded education experience: mechanical and
electrical engineering, programming, physics, biology, ecology,
contributing to an open source community, and just getting outside into
The OpenROV kit
(not Trident - the previous model of kit) is still an excellent tool
for education (and other uses that require the hack-ability).
We have a
long list of well-deserving classrooms that can do wonders with a
donated OpenROV kit. The reward pledge at the $1,000 level will further
our efforts here.
It will allow us to send a kit and build materials to
one of these schools.
If you're a resource-constrained teacher
who'd like to be added to this list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with
the subject "I'm a teacher!"
Where We're At
We have spent the last two years developing the Trident, engineering
dozens of prototypes to get to what you see today.
We are currently
working on refining the final design and tuning it for manufacturing
with veteran mechanical engineers and industrial designers.
developed relationships with manufacturing partners for the components
and subsystems of Trident and now we need your support to help make it a