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Lost Resorts and Submerged Artifacts of the Salton Sea

August 25 2014
The Salton Sea is below sea level, and is believed to once be a settlement that was washed out by a river. Half this ghost town is now under the water. Railroad tracks lead into the water... The salinity levels became so high that fish as well as birds drinking the water, died, creating a beach of bones. There is a rotten horrible smell over this place, and it is not a place you'd like to take a dip in. Who knows what is hiding down there.. -And who doesn't want to find out!

August 25 2014

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Just thought we might update you with the reason for our expedition to move forward a bit slowly. Let me present what could be the smallest explorer in this forum - KOSMO!
Our soon to be one year old baby has already traveled across continents together with us and is really enjoying all our adventures and ideas so far, eager to see what's next.
As you can see he was very excited to receive the ROV, and yes it is going to be named after him, of course :)
This US expedition will hopefully take off during the summer, in the meantime, we will work on the Polish expedition.
Hang on for more updates soon!

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Congrats on the new addition to the family!!

The curious eyes and happy smiles will certainly add much excitement to your expedition. Isn't it will to think that all of this accessible technology will just be "normal" to our kids :)

Thank you!
Haha, yes it is incredible! It is mind bugling. When I was a kid, there was no internet, and the first mobile devices was pretty much not so mobile again :D
He is going to be a great explorer of this universe, our Kosmo. We can guarantee that! He is already doing his best to keep us on our toes.

I am so happy that my project can continue in the planned pace. It is such an honor to be of of the winners in the ROV contest. I do look forward to get this project going! I know there are quite a few female explorers here, and I am happy to join their ranks.

I am also very happy to collaborate with other expeditions with my ROV if we can find a way to help each other out. Just send me an email at daisy.johnsson@gmail.com.

This community is fantastic, and I really enjoy reading about all of the possibilities, dreams and engagement it contains. There is such a pleasure to see everyones eager to explore the hidden, forgotten and yet undiscovered amazing treasures on our planet.

Hat off to my fellow winners, you all did a great job to promote your expeditions and gathered more explorers to this wonderful community. Hopefully we will contribute to the good of our planet and share our findings to everyone.

There are so many interesting, exciting, educational and environmental positive expeditions here in this community, I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to carry through their expeditions in one way or the other. It will be a pleasure to follow the development of them all.

To all my fellow explorers, may the force be with you as you set your course to new discoveries.

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Congratulations and WELCOME to the ranks!!!! I'm looking forward following your build and helping in any way! Hip Hip Huzzah!

I am so happy that my project can continue in the planned pace. It is such an honor to be of of the winners in the ROV contest. I do look forward to get this project going! I know there are quite a few female explorers here, and I am happy to join their ranks.

I am also very happy to collaborate with other expeditions with my ROV if we can find a way to help each other out. Just send me an email at daisy.johnsson@gmail.com.

This community is fantastic, and I really enjoy reading about all of the possibilities, dreams and engagement it contains. There is such a pleasure to see everyones eager to explore the hidden, forgotten and yet undiscovered amazing treasures on our planet.

Hat off to my fellow winners, you all did a great job to promote your expeditions and gathered more explorers to this wonderful community. Hopefully we will contribute to the good of our planet and share our findings to everyone.

There are so many interesting, exciting, educational and environmental positive expeditions here in this community, I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to carry through their expeditions in one way or the other. It will be a pleasure to follow the development of them all.

To all my fellow explorers, may the force be with you as you set your course to new discoveries.

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ROV performance in heavy saline waters.

Diving into the waters of Salton Sea with the ROV does not only mean low visibility, it also means dealing with high saline levels.
Pepole who actually dove in these waters had to be hosed down afterwards, to not get their equipment trashed. I do not know if there is the same effect on boats.
What should we expect, corrosion issues, buoyancy challenges? Anyone with any input to this are more than happy to join this discussion.

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You should be fine with plastics, but any exposed metal or rubber like o-rings might be an issue. You might want to do some research into sacrificial metal, like zinc tabs on your ROV. Saltwater vessels use and replace these all the time. They might reduce your corrosion issues, but you will have issues in that environment.

You're going to need substantial weight. In the caribbean I had 4-6 ounces on my robot. You might need 8 or more.

As for corrosion protection, @kevin_K has a good point about the zincs, but I don't think you'll be in the water for long enough for this to make any difference. The biggest issue is with the motor mounts (aluminum) corroding. A really solid fresh water rinse tank (rubbermaid tote) to run the robot in IMMEDIATELY after coming out of the salt water is the best thing. Really spin those motors for several minutes and let the robot soak in fresh water for 15-20 minutes before packing up.

Thanks guys for great input. I will make sure to keep the ROV safe and sound, the project might be slowed down though, as the competition to win one has increased heavily these past hours. I will keep my fingers crossed!

Who wants to dive in the Salton sea?

Well, I looked around to see if people actually got in this goary smelling waters with an approximate 6in visibility. I found a few clips on youtube and a lot of questions wether it was safe, but hardly any serious material. Then I stumbled upon this article from National Geographics that I wanted to share with you all. The article also has a well written approach to the environmental issues connected to the Salton Seas future, but more on this in my next post. I have pasted a shortened version below, to read the full article please visit ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0502/feature5/fulltext.html
Happy reading.

"If I didn't know better, this would seem the perfect place to toss a beer can, bury nuclear waste, or hop in a big monster truck and drive wherever the hell I want. I am standing 227 feet below sea level on the desert shore of California's largest lake and this country's strangest backwater: the Salton Sea. It's prettier from afar, a broad blue lens lapping at the base of rust red mountains. Up close the beach, if you can call it that, isn't sand but layer upon layer of barnacles and bones from the millions of fish that have expired here in mass die-offs over the years. The blue water is an illusion as well, a reflection of the desert sky. The sea actually looks like dark beer, and carries more than a whiff of sulfuric decay. Gobs of foam line the shore. Stringy mats of algae float in it as if it were some kid's science project gone horribly wrong. Just the place for a swim.

The sea has more fans the farther north you go, though everyone seems to have a different reason for the attraction. Even in Bombay Beach, a hard-luck development on the east shore, hope stirs among the few hundred residents. Rising lake levels in the 1970s turned their lakefront into a flooded junkyard, with salt-encrusted trailers and cars slowly dissolving into the ooze. But in the cold dark recesses of the Ski Inn bar, retiree Barbara La Clair sees a silver lining.

"You're out of the smog, out of the city," she says. "It's a nice place for retired people. It just grows on you." La Clair started coming in the early 1960s, camping and fishing with her husband and four daughters, and retired here in 1990. In the '60s, she recalls, Bombay Beach had five bars and five restaurants. Campers jammed the nearby state beach four rows deep, and you had to make reservations at the boat ramp.

"Does anyone swim in it anymore?"

"Yuck," says Paulette, the bartender.

"I don't even know how to swim," confesses La Clair. About then a young couple walks in the bar, and La Clair's face lights up. "You should talk to Bill and Thelma. They're in it all the time."

Bill and Thelma Leslie love the sea. They fish, ski, and just mess about in the water with their four kids every chance they get. "I never got sick from swimming in the sea," says Bill, who has lived here for 27 of his 35 years. "I got strep throat from swimming in the [Coachella] canal once. But in the sea, never."

"I tell the kids, keep your mouth shut tight," says Thelma. "We just hose them down when they get out."

In summer the sea hits bathtub temperature, but in February it hovers in the 50s. Finally, with no more excuses, I pull on a wet suit and walk past a playground into a man-made lagoon dug out to allow boats to launch. I take one step into the cold blackness and sink to my knees in the muck. Finally committing, I launch into the water, which smells like a thousand old pilings drying in the sun.

I try the breaststroke—my forte on the swim team those many years ago—only to learn that in hypersaline lakes, the parts of the body with greatest subcutaneous fat float higher than others. My butt is bobbing like a life preserver, so I switch to the sidestroke and make a mental note to start climbing stairs at the office.

I can swim out the channel into the open lake, but it seems wiser to climb out on the far side and walk over to the swimming beach. I reenter the water next to a grime-encrusted buoy. Barnacles crunch underfoot. I wade out about 50 yards and it's still only knee-deep, and I keep running into rocks with my shin. Algae shifts back and forth, oozing up in jellylike fronds. OK. That's enough absolution for one day. "

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Well, it will be black water diving in Salton Sea, as we thought.
Just read an article from 99 where the Navy stumbled upon a crashed Avenger plane from WWII, looking for a more recently disappeared Piper Cherokee.They think that at least 24 planes crashed in or around the Salton Sea during WWII training.

This is the only diving activity I have found for the Salton Sea so far.

I found some facts about visibility, saying from six inches to two feet. That should be no problem for the ROV I think. But to dive around there among old spooky planes, buildings, bodies and more is not the most tempting challenge.

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Searching for more information about the sunken city, I found this article around a Spanish Galleon. The story tells that it was stuck in the Salton Sea and abandoned.
A nice pearl necklace would look great on me! :)

But it also proves that there is a sunken city down there, with homes, factories and other stuff.

No luck yet in finding any pictures or videos from below surface. Are we the first?

I can't wait to see what else is down there!

articles.latimes.com/2003/jun/08/local/me-then8

The lost city of Salton has been underwater for nearly 100 years -- not as long as Atlantis, but a long time for California.

Fifty feet below the surface, the old wooden buildings of a saltworks factory, a few homes, telephone poles and miles of railroad tracks have been gathering moss, snagging fishing lines and providing a hiding place for corvina, croaker and tilapia.

But another myth, perhaps because it remains a myth, is the one that engages the imagination.

A 16th century Spanish galleon, laden with pearls, is said to have sailed up the Gulf of California into what is now the Salton Sea. A landslide or sandbar apparently blocked its escape, forcing the crew to abandon the ship and its precious cargo and walk out of the desert. As the water dried up, the hulk gradually sank beneath the shifting sands.

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I've been following the "Lost ship of the desert" story for quite some time. Here is the most recent story of the supposed galleon: http://crwd.mp/1zZpwo6

The most interesting aspect is the petroglyph of the sailing ship. There were only a handful of ships that were in the San Diego region before 1769, when Junipero Serra arrived in San Diego.

Good luck with the Salton Sea and anything else you may look for out in the desert!

Thanks Kevin_k this is really interesting stuff. I will definately dig a bit deeper into this and share anything I'll find with all of you.

Expedition Background

In 1905, heavy rainfall caused the Colorado River to form a dike which was built to provide water for the farms and the formerly dry Salton Sink, creating an artificial lake.

The town of Salton and a Southern Pacific railroad siding were completely submerged. This is one of the most mysterious places in California.
The Salton Sea is below sea level, and is believed to once be a settlement that was washed out by a river. Half this ghost town is now under the water. Railroad tracks lead into the water...

The fall of the Salton Sea was due to the salinity from local farming. The salinity levels became so high that fish as well as birds drinking the water, died, creating a beach of bones.
There is a rotten horrible smell over this place, and it is not a place you'd like to take a dip in. Who knows what is hiding down there.. -And who doesn't want to find out!

Follow us in this this exciting quest below the surface of the mysterious Salton Sea.

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Whoa cool! Is there a problem with alkali flies? I think they are one of the only insects which can live in super saline water so they have almost no competition.

Hi Erika
I really don't know. But it is worth checking up on. The Salton Sea has a large bird population though so they might definately be there. I know they populate Mono Lake, which also have a high salinity.

yeah! that's the one I was just learning about. I re-watched "Insects," narrated by David Attenborough. Don't we just love those BBC specials? I can't wait to hear more!

Very cool! Keep us updated as much as you can.

Hello. Is your project still going? I'm really interested in hearing more about it?