Assembling a set of tools to explore the aquatic environment from a small boat:
Macro and micro biology, treasures, benthic topography, & hull inspection
One of the strongest motivations behind the Datawake project is to extend my human sensorium, letting me see into otherwise invisible realms. This takes many forms: data collection systems fed by environmental sensors, embedded probes that report conditions I would never otherwise detect, optics for long-range peering, scanners and software-defined radios for keeping my ear to the ground, infrared camera for seeing in the thermal domain, and a whole toolset for exploring the aquatic realm atop which I float. For a quarter century I have been building, cruising, and living aboard boats… yet have never really had much of a sense of what is down there until now.
When I began the Microship project in 1993 I was inspired by the oceanographic community, and hung out whenever possible with friends at Scripps and MBARI. I always knew I’d have a sensor sonde, meteorological probes, underwater camera, and hydrophone… but the holy grail of an ROV (Remote-Operated Vehicle) was clearly just a fantasy, with daunting size and cost. But a lot has changed since those days, and Datawake now has a nice little marine-biology and undersea exploration lab (and not just for ogling the critters… we can also inspect ground tackle, check running gear for fouling, and recover dropped tools).