Seafaring moves beneath the surface

The Maritime Museum of B.C. has expanded its mandate from seafaring history

Tatiana Robinson

In launching its biggest exhibit to date, the Maritime Museum of B.C. has expanded its mandate from seafaring history to include ocean exploration.

Its move to showcase cutting-edge ocean science comes at a good time for both the museum and its exhibit partner.

The museum is keen for a higher profile after recently announcing its intention to pursue a more prominent location on the Inner Harbour. Its partner, Ocean Networks Canada, is also keen to raise its public profile for its world-class underwater observation stations. Called VENUS and NEPTUNE, these systems are located off of Vancouver Island, and employ 800 kilometres of fibre optic cable which brings power and internet access to the depths.

“Everything we do sits on the bottom of the ocean, so it poses a bit of a problem,” said Rick Searle of Ocean Networks Canada. “People say, ‘wow, we hear you’ve got this fantastic facility, can we come tour it?’”

This partnership with the museum provides just that public face, he said. The exhibit, which launched Jan. 12 and runs through August is called What Lies Beneath.

The ocean covers 72 per cent of the earth but less than five per cent of it has been explored, Searle said.

Through a number of censors, cameras, hydrophones and robotic arms, VENUS and NEPTUNE are able to track water salinity, pressure, oxygen and other factors in real time. The purpose is to better understand the ocean, such as whether dead zones, or oxygen deprived zones, are man made or natural.

Oceans are endangered by many different threats, Searle said. “What we need to be focused on is how can we turn this situation around?”

Science is incredibly important, but it must be translated to the general public and to inform public policy, he said.

The exhibit attempts to do more than highlight these research projects, however. It also presents the history of ocean exploration, starting with a reed for breathing below the water’s surface and ending with remotely operated vehicles on the bottom of the ocean.

For viewing is a recovered early dive suit and an Aqua-Lung, the first free-swimming breathing set from the mid nineteenth century.

What we can learn from the past is “that spirit of exploration, wanting to learn about an environment, which as humans were not particularly well suited to stay under water,” said acting curator Tatiana Robinson. “They show the stepping stones to where we are now.”


Mark your calendar

The following lectures take place at the Maritime Museum of B.C. at 28 Bastion Square:

Exploring the Ocean Frontier: We have much to learn. Jan. 25, 7-9 p.m.

Artificial reefs: Paradise or pollution. Feb. 22, 7-9 p.m.


Just Posted

Rebels season over after loss in Cullen Cup Final

Westshore had won ten straight games prior to championship game

More than 900 new units planned for Langford Lake development

Council still has to sign-off on rezoning application

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

Art has become a lifestyle for local resident

Coast Collective’s latest exhibit celebrates all things late fall

Deadline looming for youth transitional housing

Province says funding for 10 units not available at this time

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

EDITORIAL: It’s time to change the sexual assault conversation

The words “Me Too” are taking social media by storm this week,… Continue reading

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Event puts pets in the picture for Halloween

Pets West holding Halloween party Oct. 29 at its Broadmead Village location

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Most Read