Equipment | Bowcam
Now seriously folks, this is a cool idea, totally home-grown and pretty successful...
For about US$100 you can purchase a tiny colour video camera with infra-red capabilities and infra-red LED's surrounding the lens that automatically turn on in low light. They are mass-produced for property surveillance, are moderately tough and waterproof (intended for outside use) and produce standard TV output (PAL or NTSC).
We purchased one of these in Singapore and had our good friends at Techmaster Engineering Pte Ltd make up a simple underwater housing for it out of an aluminium tube and a base plate. The tube is cut at a sharp angle and welded to the base plate. It is positioned a little back from the bow on the starboard side, facing forwards. The housing is bolted to the hull around its periphery with 3M 5200 as a sealant. It has a threaded cap at the front end with a clear plexiglass viewport, sealed with an 'O' ring. Only a tiny hole is required through the hull to accommodate the power and signal cables. We view the output on our 'Bohemian Rhapsody' PC laptop, using a small external USB hardware box that is intended for road warriors to watch TV while on travel (why on earth would anyone want to do that?).
The idea was to see what we could see, on passage and at anchor, maybe some interesting creatures drawn to the infra-red lights at night?
So far we've got some footage of the Remoras at Cargados Carajos and a pod of bowriding dolphins while on passage.
© JIOQ 2004, 2005