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Expedition Endless Winds: Looking for lost Steamboats in Brazilian fresh waters

August 15 2014
Searching for clues and evidences, and looking for the remains of forgotten shipwrecks, is the great adventurous journey The Daicelo Adventures Team is about to take. Keeping their memories alive for the generations to come is the reward we await for. For that purpose, we had research a lot of sources, such as books, old newspaper and magazines and talking to local residents in the south of Brazil region. This region is known by a vast net of lagoons, lakes, cannals and rivers, used for commerce between towns since century XVIII. The waters berth the the second largest lagoon of South America, which rests shipwrecks from varied ages and types. Our next goal will be creating a search grid and start our navigation using an inflatable paddled boat, once local authorities don't allow the use of motor boats. So a ROV would play a fundamental role to achieve the expedition goals.

August 15 2014


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Preparation Stage

Here you can see some pictures of our headquarters and assemble experience!

Thanks a lot!!!

Hi Team. Hope all is going well! I'm putting together a piece on all the shipwrecks being explored on OpenExplorer, is there anything you'd like me to include from your work in Brazil?

Assemble phase done! Now we are going to do some additional tests before our first dive!


Good luck guys! Can't wait to see what you find!

Well done and congrats you made it! Can't wait to hear from you about your 1st dive and what you are going to find =) All the best to The Daicelo Adventures Team! Keep up the great work! Dorian

Nice! Excited to see the video!

Congratulations! Would love to see Expedition DIacelo Headquarters! Do you have any more photos from your build days? OpenROVs are built in so many parts of the world, it's kind of fun to compare garages, workshops, and living rooms where they were constructed. Who knows, maybe we'll have to make a coffee table book out of all the photos.

Many thanks to Kevin, Dorian, David and Erika for their comments!!! We always appreciate your support and words of encouragement!

Following Erika's suggestion, we'd like to share some pictures of our OpenROV kit assemble on the link below. Hope you enjoy our headquarters (Marcelo's room)

We wish the best regards for you all!!! Welcome 2015 and lots of experiences and advancements on science made by citizens!

All ready to start assembling our OpenROV!


After a period over three weeks stopped in Brazilian Customs, finally we received our OpenROV at home.
It was a mix of joy and excitation when we opened the box. Now we are putting together all the extra tools to begin the assemble.
As soon as possible, we will conduct some initial experiments.
Thanks for the support of all followers and The Moore Foundation.


We'd like to thank all the followers for their interest on our project. Because of their support, we won an OpenROV kit to resume our exploration toward the goals previously presented.

Just keep connected with Daicelo Exploration Team and Expedition Endless Winds. We are going to share every detail, picture and result coming from the use of OpenROV, as well as our assembling experience, as soon as we receive the kit.

This victory is ours, and you contributed to make it possible!

We congratulate and thank David Lang for his brilliant ideas and hard word. OpenROV is a great way to incentivize the exploration for everyone. It will change the world any way!

According to Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-residence: "I wish they (OpenROVs) were in every hardware store in the world."

We believe in Sylvia Earle's words, David. OpenROV is a fantastic initiative.


Hey guys, just wanted to say congratulations. We won one of the ROVs as well, and are looking forward to putting it to good use! I am sure a lot of people are looking forward to seeing updates from you guys. If you ever make it over this way, please let me know, and I would be happy to help you out :)

Best regards,

Jakob Kosmider

Nothing could bring more inspiration to us, sea explorers, than the fantastic discovery of a boat sailed by Sir. Franklin's lost expedition, when he tryed to reach the northern passage in canadian waters back in 1848.

We wish the spirit of exploration never dies among all of us...

For further reading go to


In addition to our future exploration in Patos and Peixoto Lagoon to search for forgotten wrecks, and to collect video recordings to study local marine echology, we are aiming to use an OpenROV for educational proposals.

Today, talking with the head director of Farroupilha City's high school, we could feel his enthusiasm when we told him details about our Project of exploration.

From that conversation, we had the idea to employ the OpenROV for students education, motivating them to pursue careers in science and technology.

We are planning to visit regional schools to show for both teachers and students how the use of external resources might assist their classes. To have this effort succeed, we will criate a presentation for lectures and will demonstrate the physical forces behind OpenROV displacement, using an inflatable 2-thousand-liters swimming pool to dive the device, mounted in school's backyard.

That's just another employment of OpenROV we would like to come true in our community.


That's great!! I think you'll find that working with students and kids is the best part of the whole project.

Some days ago, we received a comment on our expedition project from a researcher working with National University of Rio de Janeiro. She talked about her scientific research in Patos Lagoon, where she is studying the consequencies to pristine environment of an invasive mollusca specie known as golden mussel (Limnoperna fortunei), whose large reproduction in the past years is infesting the lagoon.

Therefore, we rise a secondary objective to our expedition: using the OpenROV to record specimens of golden mussel in wild.

Such mussel came from Honk Hong around 1999, inside a ballast water tank of merchant vessels, which discharged her water ballast too near from the lagoon's bay, where is placed a vast estuary. As a result, the following years saw an explosion of golden mussel's population, once they encounter an environment without natural rivallity.

This infestation is provoking an unbalance on local ecosystem and, consequently, affecting fishers from local communities due a crescent shortage in fisheries and other natural resources. Besides, the mussel cause several problems to shipowners once they attach along the hull and other underwater structures, as pipes and columns. Is represents a big sum of money to keep structures clean and functional.

So, an OpenROV would prove vital for data collect to better understand the phenomena and take the corrective actions.
We expect to win an OpenROV kit to use it, in addition to our primarily object, on the benefit of scientific advances (for National University of Rio de Janeiro), social demand (for local fishermen) and economic relief (for shipowners)
The following figure shows an exemplar of Golden Mussel, found in 2000 in Patos Lagoon.

Go beyond at


Very cool! Excited to see the collaborations that come from this.


As we reported on a past post, steamship Bubi wrecked in 1910, at Patos Lagoon, Brazil.
By reading old newspaper and talking with local residents for clues, we have drawn our primarily search grid.

The point (I), marked on figure below, represents the aproximately spot where Bubi's captain sent his last communication, reporting to port authorities Bubi was adrift and making water. The position was latitude 30 degrees 27.7 minutes South; longitude 50 degrees 47.5 minutes West.

The captain's intention was deviating from the waterway towards a small city located on the east coast of the lagoon (point II in the figure), in order to deliver correspondence from capital Porto Alegre and recharge the boat with extra coal.

According to the official reports, that night the wind was blowing from north at about 12 knots and the current was running west at about 3 knots. The same source informed that after the steamboat became adrift, it lasted almost 2 hours to local authorities lost visual contact, from the point (III).

Based on such clues and physical forces hitting that night back in 1910, we concluded that the steamer went to lagoon's bottom in some point of an area of 670 square kilometers and a perimeters of 78 kilometers.

So we created a search grid divided in 16 quadrants, from A1 to D4, according to the figure. In addition, in order to make it easier, we waypointed three different places on soil, to set our campsite (headquarters). From there (marked as stars in he figure), we will organize stuff and data collected, rest, eat, and departure with our inflatable boat towards the quadrant for the day.

Each quadrant measures 17 square kilometers and its perimeter is 16.2 km. We will divide the search in four stages. The first stage will cover quadrants A1, B1, C1 and D1 which we expect to finish in three weeks.

Although we are currently in the Organization and Planning stage of this project, please remember that the actual "start" date is contingent upon acquiring the hardware (OpenROV unit).

The video presented in the link below shows us an extreme weather condition on Patos Lagoos, reported in 2009. According to visual testimonials, it was suposed Bubi faced some similar natural force back in 1910. Such phenomen was considered a mith by local communities.


That's quite a tornado! Could've thrown the ship a good distance. Grid patterns are the only way to do it. Have you read "Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea"?

Hello David! Nice to receive a comment from you.
Actually I didn´t read "Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea" yet, but I've heard about it a couple of times. Thank you for your suggestion! I'm downloading the book right now (audiobook version) to listen it on my ipod along the day.
In a past post we shared another interesting reading as well, about the same subject: "The Sea Hunters - vol I and II", by author Clive Cussler. Have you read them?

In addition, we congratulate you for the article highlighting OpenROV, published in Outside Magazine almost a year ago, which I have just read.

Thank you for your words and support!

There are a variety of search techniques that are applicable to the underwater environment. While in theory, some patterns based on land or air search patterns should work. . . . in practice they prove to be inadequate underwater due to such factors as limited visibility, chaotic bottom contour, and submerged hazards. Experience has shown that to be efficient underwater a search pattern must be simple. The simpler - the better.

The most used methods of searching for an underwater object are the following patterns:


Source: Ventura County Sheriff's SAR Dive Team, available at search

Our search grid, based on the researched clues on old newspapers, might indicate the following pattern for the three lagoons where we are going to use an OpenROV:

1 - Patos Lagoon: circular search pattern
2 - Marcelino Lagoon: semi-circular search pattern
3 - Peixoto Lagoon: grid search pattern

On the next post, we will explain the reasons behind such choises.


The Secchi disk (SD), as created in 1865 by Angelo Secchi, is a plain white, circular disk (30 cm in diameter or approximately 12 inches) used to measure water transparency in bodies of water. The disc is mounted on a pole or line, and lowered slowly down in the water. The depth at which the disk is no longer visible is taken as a measure of the transparency of the water. This measure is known as the Secchi depth and is related to water turbidity. Since its invention the disk has also been used in a modified, smaller 20 cm diameter, black and white design to measure freshwater transparency.

he Secchi depth is reached when the reflectance equals the intensity of light backscattered from the water. This depth in metres divided into 1.7 yields an attenuation coefficient (also called an extinction coefficient), for the available light averaged over the Secchi disk depth. The light attenuation coefficient, k, can then be used in a form of the Beer–Lambert law,

We are going to measure water transparency in situ in three different lagoons, in order to rise data for future planning.

Source: Wikipedia, at

Below is an interesting on-line simulator developed by Maine Lake Monitors, which allow to practise the Secchi Disk visualization on the five different classifications of water transparency:


Alright! Cool simulator, thanks for the link!

This is a simple photograph of a sightseeing where we are going to spent a good time, either inside a tend or sailing through the waters.

It will be due when the next step of our exploration beggins, which make us excited every time we think about it.

we express our gratitude for all the support, even a comment of encouragement left here. We also thanks the OpenRov initiative, which gave us an unique opportunitity to apply for our own ROV. It is a dream, possibly to come true.


Today, we'd like to share one of the most relevant source of inspiration for us to do what we are supposed to.

Since 15 years ago, we are fans of the north-american writer Clive Cussler. His hero, the diver and marine engineer Dirk Pitt, is a source of great inspiration himself. But when we bought and read his non-fictitious books, such as The Sea Hunters I and II, is was a delight to further know about the almost 60 discoveries of important historic ships, accomplish by Cussler and his team.

Under the leadership of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), Cussler gave us interesting insights and encourage us to start our own research and efforts towards the discovery of shipwrecks in our geographical region.

Through his books and real work, Cussler has got to immerse our souls into a new concept on adventure and exploration.

That's what we are aimed to do doing for ourselves, with the resources we are pursuing.

All support will be welcome, even words of encouragement.


We are looking forward to win a OpenROV to employ it on the following effort, as well:

Shipwreck at Patos Lagoon in 1910.

Ranging from 4 to 61 meters depth, the Patos Lagoon's waterway has registered, since century XIX, a number of uncountable shipwrecks.
Searching for them, we have found, in an old newspaper (1910), at Caxias do Sul Library, an interesting reporting about the flooding of steamship BUBI, whose remains are somewhere near Itapuã Lighthouse at a depth of 38 meters.
Fortunately, nobody died, thanks to a towboat navigating less than a nautical mile far.
After this preliminary research, The Daicelo Exploration Team is going to visit a crewman survivor, in order to ask for clues about the shipwreck position.

Source: CORREIO DO POVO Daily News. Shipwreck at Patos Lagoon a century ago. Edition September 27, 1910, pp 07.

Since Bubi was a woody boat, no way of using a magnetometer to get her magnetic signature. So we hope to win an OpenROV, which would allow us to further investigation in-loco, through visual images. Once we have found the shipwreck's position, a team of archeologist divers, from Rio Grande University, will drop to rescue what is possible.
We scanned the original publication (see figure below).


If you don't think you can pick anything up with a magnetometer, you might want to look into some of the recreational side scan sonars from Lowrance or Garmin. These might help you pick out some relief, if there is any structure left.

Thanks for your comment, Kevin. We appreciate your ideia, about using side scan sonars to search for a possible structure. Unfortunately, we don't have fund enough to buy such device. That's the reason we'd like to use an OpenROV. Our best regards.


Daicelo Team


Once local authorities don't allow the use of motor boats, we achieved an inflatable boat with a pair of paddles. A pair of lifevests and equipment for camping were also included.

Once our search grid is planned, we look forward to use an OpenROV in order to have acess to the lagoon bottom viewing.


That's a fantastic dive operations vessel! I can't wait to keep reading!

the water looks a little murky. Have you taken a secchi disk reading? I'm curious how far visibility is?

Hello Erika! Firstly, we express our gratitude on receiving our comments and for sharing your ideas. The picture above was not taken where we are going to look for shipwrecks. The picture showns a lake, near from our home. That opportunity we only tested some equipmentos, such as an inflatable boat, a 70-feet sail boat, and some equipments designed for camping. On the next step, when we effectively go to the lagoons where the wrecks are (about 400 km from our home) we will conduct the Secchi Disk evaluation and publish the results on a specific post.

Thanks again.

The Daicelo Team

September 20, 1947
It was late in the morning when the steamboat Bento Gonçalves, a passenger and cargo ship, was moored in a berth of Lacustre Port, Osorio City, south of Brazil. The local population was celebrating the anniversary of the 1835 Revolution War, a long time armed conflict between the south and the central government of Brazil.

A small steamboat, used as a towboat as well, whose dimensions were 14.8 meters lenght, 6 meters width, and a draft of 2.85 meters, were propelled by steam. It had a 44 HP motor, reaching a maximum speed at 12 knots. Departing from Osorio Harbor at 11h20 local time, transporting 13 passengers and 7 crewmen, its destiny was Maquine City, 38 km far.
After sail through four lagoon, the Bento Gonçalves headed for Pinguela Lagoon, where was winding a lot. The force of the wild created gales and waves up to 2 meters high.

About at 12h30 local time, a strong gale turned the steamboat upside down. Eighteen people, among crewmen and passengers, lost their lives. Amongst them, the former major Sr. Candido Osorio da Rosa and the state politician Sr. Osvaldo Bastos. Only two survived: Sr. João Clemente, a musician and fisherman, who swam a long distance to land; and Sr. Alzeviro Viana Negreiros, who climb the boat's funnel which was partially out of the water.

Other Forgotten Shipwrecks from 1827 to 1920:
They are yatchs, sailboats, and steamboats from maritime trade companies and Naval Forces. All lost in Lagoa dos Patos. The list is impressive.

  • Sete de Março (1827);
  • Sete de Setembro (1827);
  • Liberdade do Sul (1827);
  • Maruí (1839);
  • Monteiro II (1889);
  • Amazonas (1899);
  • Novo Brite (1904);
  • Novo Brilhante (1911);
  • Silveira Martins (1920).

This is incredible! I love these old photos. Excited to be following along!

Thanks for your support, David!

Hey guys! Very nice you are creating an expedition for southern brazil! I'm catarinense, but I live in Rio now!
Are you really going to dive the ROV in the Patos Lagoon? I work with an invasive species known as Golden Mussel which infest this lagoon!
While you are diving the ROV, if you film some Golden mussels in the wild, would you let me know?
Thanks so much! I'll be following it up!

Hi Marcela! Thanks for your comment! Yes, as soon as the next phase of our project starts, and as we will get important viewings of Golden Mussel, we will share them with you. Please, let us know your e-mail for further communication. Best regards!

Here we present the story behind the scene, a text resulting from our research. The following paragraphs tells what happened with a famous tragedy, adapted from local sources.

November 02, 1895
Soon after the dawn, in the Dead's Memorial Day, the steamboat Debize gave the first paddle with its two wheels built both the sides of the hull (other important information about ship dimensions and deadweight were lost, as well as registrations).
Having some accommodations for passengers, the steamboat was carried with grains and a horse, inside a small canoe, towed by the bow.

In addition to crewmen, there were 8 passengers going to disembark in Itati, a small town about 29 km far. Departing from Armazém Azul, a harbor facility built in Lagoa da Pinguela, the Debize was violently pushed to starboard due a furious wind known to local residents as Minuano. Coming from the west, its strength was amplified by a small passage between hills, speeding right towards the lagoon.

After a more prolonged gale, the horse towed at the stern jumped in reaction toward portside, which made the steamboat lost stability. The first to fall was the horse, which lead to more instability, resulting a violent crash with the lagoon's bottom, once they were passing through a sandbank. The engine room quickly made water, flooding every compartment in few minutes. The boat turned upside-down and the passengers, almost all non-swimmers, desperately asked for help. But all they found was a frigid water and the last bright of the stars. Gustavo Voges, sun of the ship owner, and the only swimmer aboard, heroically tried to save himself and a couple of elder passengers, but all three died due fatigue. The only survivors were a rating and the engine fireman, who got to climb the canoe where the horse was before.
On the coming days, a cemetery was built, in honor of the fallen men and women, whom had a terrible fate that night.
Nowadays, even a hundred and twenty years later, local fishermen and residents swear they have seen, every year on the same day, a shinning boat above the waters, sailing towards nowhere.
Ranging from 2 to 12 meters depth, Lagoa da Pinguela holds mysteries and hide the Debize remains, which totally or partially dug by mug, rests in silence.

Expedition Background

Well-known nationwide by a complex of almost thirty lagoons, all connected through a wide net of both artificial-built and natural canals, totaling almost 600 km of navigational waterways. Its fresh waters testified the advent of commercial navigation from XVIII century to 60's, when politicians yet thought the way European's - unfortunately, the progress bring roadways, which made all maritime companies to decline in the following years, but it's other story!

Thanks to waterways in those glory years, communities and cities had a great opportunity to trade, fish and travel themselves and with the capital, strengthen the boundaries and territories of the south during Brazilian colonial age. Additionally, insert along this vast net of waters, is the Guaiba River, connecting the cost to the rest of the territory, and the Lagoa dos Patos, the largest lagoon of Brazil and second of Latin America, which connects the capital to Atlantic Ocean.

Apart the benefits to local population, due to violent and frequent winds, its waters may hide stories of horror and death, if sailed without caution. It was precisely in the perilous Lagoa da Pinguela, that two of the most intriguing and remarkable tragedy of the Brazilian's fluvial navigation history took place. Dozens of other shipwrecks were lost in Lagoa dos Patos.

Searching for clues and evidences, and finding the remains of this forgotten shipwrecks, is the great adventurous journey The Daicelo Adventures Team is about to take. Keeping their memories alive for the generations to come is the reward we await for. The following posts tells the history behind such most important tragedies, and all the details behind the expedition planning, equipments, methods and search grids.