What Lies Beneath

When we bought our boat ten years ago, it had a very old depth sounder that crapped out on us during our first week of cruising. It was several years later that we invested in a Lowrance chart plotter/depth sounder. Accustomed to relying on paper charts, we use the  Lowrance to confirm locations determined on the paper chart.

However, my favourite view is the fish finder view where you can see not only fish, but the contours of the ocean floor. Until we started boating, I had never given much thought to what lies beneath the ocean.

If you like to explore Google Maps, drag the cursor into the Pacific Ocean and zoom in to see the numerous mountain ranges and canyons underwater. Fascinating!

And now, thanks to the incredible research being conducted by Neptune Canada at the University of Victoria, we can see some of the remotest places on earth; the last undiscovered frontier with crazy looking creatures who call the deep ocean home.

Remote submersible cameras are placed at several locations on the ocean floor. The deepest observation station is at a depth of 2600 metres ( 8,530 feet) where the ocean is blanketed in complete darkness. Lights are programmed to come on for brief periods of time so that we can take a peak at what is going on without disturbing the animals. From the comfort of my boat, during my first visit to Neptune Canada’s website, I saw a Humboldt squid pulse by. Cool! You can login to the site or view some of the videos on YouTube.

Aquatic plants and animals that thrive near sea vents, are just a few of the things that you will see on Neptune Canada’s extensive website. One of my favourite pages is the Sound Gallery where you can hear the underwater calls of the Pacific White Sided Dolphin. We were escorted by a pod of these dolphins one day in Haro Strait- an incredible experience.

Pacific White Sided Dolphins


There are still many things we do not know about our planet.  Technology and Neptune Canada are helping us develop a better understanding of what lies beneath the Pacific Ocean.


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