OpenROV Flies with Pod of Melon-Headed Whales at Palmyra Atoll in North Pacific Ocean


Stanford undergrads Evan Clark and Jacob Winnikoff recently returned from an expedition to several land masses in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where they were studying the relationships of "Marine Snow" and oxygen minimums in the water column. As part of their research, they built an OpenROV (that they named Beepity Beep) which would allow them to drive through the regions they were studying and count particles. During one of their dives, they captured this amazing video of Melon-Headed whales swimming right in front of the ROV (the best footage is in the first few minuets). Evan said he'll write more about what he was doing on this trip later, but in the mean time... check this out!

Here's what even writes about the video:

Deployment of OpenROV near the channel opening at Palmyra Atoll, 1000 miles south of Honolulu. Test run in shallow water to determine handling dynamics in current before deployment to the reef, when suddenly we realized we were surrounded by a pod of 40+ melon-headed whales!

The ROV was pulled out of the water at about six minutes to fix a loose piece of trimming foam, and to reposition the boat towards the moving whale pod.

Major thanks to Kydd Pollock of The Nature Conservancy for taking us out on the water and for his excellent boat handling skills.


Amazing footage!

How deep was this/how deep are you taking BB?

Is the camera the on board camera or something else?

Who ever heard of a melon-headed whale?


This was maybe 25ft deep at the deepest point during the dive. During our project studying marine snow, we took Beepity Beep to approx 40m, but then had a small flooding incident and didn't go down that far again. The camera is a gopro hero 3 silver edition, mounted on top of the ROV, with recorded video downloaded post-flight. The picture quality wasn't quite as good on the live video feed ;).

Melon headed whales: :)



could you add a video of the 40m dive or send it via