RELATED CONTENT: How Dave Rowland’s robotic journey began
After three years of underwater filming, Dave Rowland and colleagues are ready to reveal the secrets of Batemans Bay to the world – and the view is mesmerising.
On Wednesday, January 10, Mr Rowland, Ian and Kieran Holmes will reveal their robot’s-eye view of the bay and Clyde River in all their underwater glory.
In summer thousands of motorists drive across the river and appreciate its beauty – but only a handful of divers know just how stunning the ecosystem is – until now.
Mr Rowland’s work was featured in the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner in November 2015 – but the trio has since invested – at considerable expense – in more sophisticated robotic video cameras.
“I and my colleagues at UnderseaROV are just so pleased to now have the opportunity to bring our three years’ of work to visitors and locals and show they have a truly amazing underwater world at their doorstep,” Mr Rowland said.
“People will see the remotely operated underwater robot submarines (ROVs) we have used to capture video, and watch one operate in a tank. We will take people on a journey through the river and bay and out to sea, based on the 2000km of sonar data and video we have acquired, and talk about different species of fish and how they live and travel.”
The trio has produced a video – Islands in the Sea – set to original music, showing grey morwong and kelp, gardens with sea tulips and sponges, and a magnificent gorgonian fan. The trailer below shows just a snippet of their work, which will be shown and discussed in more detail at an event this week.
“There are also kingfish, bonito and sponges, sea fans and soft corals reefs in 60-80m water depth past the Tollgate Islands,” Mr Rowland said.
“When I started filming underwater Batemans Bay in 2015 with robotic submarines, I began coming across breathtakingly beautiful scenes with stunning colour and forms I never knew existed.
“I often had the feeling, ‘why wasn’t I told about this underwater world? How can it be so beautiful and interesting and yet so few people know about it?’.
“I would often pull up at the boat ramp and show curious anglers video I had taken with the ROV and almost always the first response would be, ‘is that really in Batemans Bay?’”
Now, Mr Rowland thinks the images could transform the way we think about Batemans Bay.
He’s come a long way since building his first robot, nicknamed Pipe Dream for its PVC pipe frame work, which could dive only 40m.
The trio is now importing and building ROVs “capable of reaching 300m”.
They hope residents and summer visitors will join them this week at the Coachhouse Marina Resort, Batemans Bay, to see their film.
The Robots and Reefs production is showing twice daily from January 10-14.
Visit Undersearov on Facebook.
“If there is enough interest we will continue these events until the end of the school holidays,” Mr Rowland said.
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