After a successful tour in Asia and traveling 6,000-miles across the Pacific aboard a cargo ship, the Undersea Voyager Project’s submarine “spots” returned to California for a dip in Lake Tahoe, and is now traveling via trailer across the county to the DEMA (Dive Equipment & Marketing Association) show in Orlando, which takes place November 6-9.
Earlier this summer, after completing a series of test dives in California’s Pinecrest Lake, the custom built 2-man submersible was shipped to Singapore as a part of the “Luminox Crystal Time Save The Seas II Campaign”. The campaign’s purpose is to educate consumers about the importance of preserving the health of the ocean ecosystems in the Coral Triangle – a region off the coasts of Southeast Asia recognized as the global center of marine biodiversity. The team included Undersea Voyager Project’s Founder and CEO Scott Cassell, Chief Enginner Scott Reed, and UVP Executive Director, Kerry Franciscovich.
After being displayed in Singapore, the campaign visited China and Tioman Island, Malaysia, where the sub made 31 dives, taking 33 journalists underwater with them, one of Brunei’s Ministers, and other concerned citizens of the country. They even found and removed some abandoned nets found during the dives. The team was interviewed by many other journalists from Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Sumatra. He very pleased with the growing environmental awareness in Asia. (We’ll be publishing a story shortly on their visit and campaign – stay tuned).
While the warm, tropical waters they dove in are incredibly beautiful and abundant with sea life, the heavy usage of the submarine in a saltwater environment does require care and maintenance and a thorough flushing in fresh water was in order. On October 27, the sub was trailered the submarine up to Lake Tahoe for a final dive of the season in fresh water – literally a day before the first snowfall.
Before launching the sub at the Tahoe Keys Marina, Scott found that the return trip across the Pacific had resulted in a few complications – at least one high-pressure air valve had become fouled (cause unknown) and malfunctioned as a result. In a submarine environment, all systems need to perform flawlessly on the surface before attempting a dive, and after nearly 3 hours of troubleshooting and repair, the sub was ready for her final dive of the season, and a well-deserved fresh water rinse.
After the delayed launch, UVP Director Tom Loomis gently towed “Spots” out into the lake, to an area about 25 feet in depth for a dive and run-through of all instrumentation. All systems online, the sub performed almost flawlessly as Chief Engineer Scott Reed ran the sub through her paces. Scott Cassell and Tom Loomis worked outside the sub, including time spent breathing off the sub’s onboard tanks through the tethered umbilical system – a nice feature which is both convenient and can significantly extend the diver’s mission time underwater. UVP’s Youth Ambassador and pilot trainee Zane Kampton provided additional surface support and radio communications during the dive.
As the afternoon wind picked up, the sub completed her dive and was towed back to the Marina for a final look over and retrieval back to the trailer. One day later, Lake Tahoe was dusted with the first snow of the season, and the sub was on her way to Orlando.
Editor’s note: The Undersea Voyager Project’s submarine will be on display at the DEMA show in Orlando in booth #2335 with the Blue Steel company.