Urbania | Beneath City Streets

Urbania | Beneath City Streets

From time to time, our work has taken us to and within the deep and dark voids that lie beneath city streets. There, worlds created by people have been lost, but very much exist and require human intervention to explore, examine, and sometimes repair.

In many cases, these bowels of our cities and industrial centers are part of human vitality, bringing us critical utilities and resources, and taking away our waste.

Other times, abandoned space and infrastructure presents unique problems for urban planning and development – and unique opportunities at the very same time.

Ocean Opportunity Inc. has a unique interest in urban exploration, particularly as many of the necessary technologies and techniques to intervene within these spaces are the very platforms that will take us to new ocean depths, and other worlds that we have yet to discover.

Donate Today!

Help OO promote and create new value in ‘space’, from urbania to oceania, and beyond.

Donate Today!

Read More about Urban Exploration

Lurking in the Shadows of September 11

Today will forever be one of those days where every American will reminisce a bit and contemplate where and how we are moving forward. In my case, today the dive supervisor reminded me that this was the 4th anniversary of Lyle passing away. Lyle Smith was the owner of Coastal Diving in Middletown, RI – the guy that gave me a chance to cut my teeth in commercial diving, and who I then worked with for a solid 15 years; or rather learned many life lessons with for 15 years while out there taking the sea head on day after day and learning how to make a living out on the water. Lyle left us the same way he lived – hitting it hard out...
Read More

Boring worms aren’t that boring

Ahh, the glamour and high life promised to we commercial divers – international travel, becoming part of fabled sea stories, mega-buck paychecks –  boils down an inconvenient truth; boring worms aren’t (or at least shouldn’t) be that boring. For every one of those fabled sea stories that turns into a reality, there are at least a hundred mundane tales grounded in the reality that commercial diving ain’t all it’s cracked up to be… There are several routine tasks inshore divers face, and certainly routine conditions encountered while performing those tasks. Last week’s (and next week’s) work involved cutting several hundred timber piles just above the mudline to make the waterfront more aesthetically pleasing for a condo development. The piles we part of a previous pier...
Read More

a diver’s life hangs in the balance

Acceptable risk. This is something that is widely variable from person to person, from diver to diver, and can ebb and flow based on the current state of affairs, and even day to day state of mind. Earlier this week, while conducting a fairly routine activity underwater – fully accepting the risk – I was left literally hanging in the balance…and there I was. To set the stage, we were out doing our routine mooring work. For those not in tune with mooring work, it means alot of diving in muddy harbors, lots of ups and downs, humping around heavy chain, breaking old rusty shackles in poor visibility, and generally breaking your back day after day. Why do it? Well, it’s some of the best...
Read More

Making waves, in Compost!

Yesterday, our local news featured a piece about Stop & Shop’s regional compost facility in Assonet, MA. This is such an amazing facility, and hopefully becomes a model of efficiency for other large companies: http://turnto10.com/news/local/stop-shop-facility-turns-food-into-energy Some might ask how in the world this seems to excite me? Well, environmental advocacy aside, I’ve been up close and personal with this place – being one of three to dive in! I’ve done some cool projects, but this one stood out, at least within the last few years…not only was it cool, but it was hot at the same time… A stand pipe located in the digestion tank had been compromised at a joint adjacent to where the pipe penetrated the tank walls through a flange. As much...
Read More

diving in the background

This week was one of those weeks – a marathon stretch of hard mud diving every day which equated to just shy of 30 hours underwater within a 5 day stretch, with one day including a 7 hour dive. I’ve had lots of weeks like this, for better or worse, and they always manage to bring forward some of the harsh realities of the trade, while leaving the glamour of diving hidden in the background. So, what the heck was I doing for 30 hours down there? Well, I was being part underwater engineer, part underwater carpenter, and part underwater trash man. We were tasked with installing several thousands of pounds of foam flotation to a new concrete floating dock to make it more level...
Read More

recollections from the bottom up

When the phone rings, it could be just about anything… I’ve answered calls that have resulted in gearing up and on a flight to Central America within 2 days, headed offshore on a rickety fishing boat within 2 hours, and asked to review a major construction project that is 2 years out. You never know what might come up next. The important thing is being ready to jump – always remaining in a state of readiness to say ‘yes’. The first time you say ‘no’, your name goes to the bottom of the pile and it could be quite some time before the phone rings again. So, that makes things interesting. While those of us living the life aquatic are always sculpting, crafting, and maneuvering...
Read More

the smells and the sounds of a day welding in the mud

As hard as the days can be, the entire experience of a days worth of diving in the mud is nothing short of value packed. And after a hard days work, the level of appreciation for having the opportunity is always elevated. This past week’s activities: wet welding. I’ve written about underwater welding a few times, but figure its worth elaborating upon a bit given that it’s fresh, and as I sit here to write I am still suffering in the aftermath. I’ll start by saying that welding is not my strong suit, but it is one of the things I enjoy the most about commercial diving. There are so many subtleties to the process in that it requires a very slow hand, patience, focus,...
Read More

Overpopulation Nation? We need a Sea Station!

Call it one of those quirky fateful twists – as I started up my truck this morning, the local radio was airing an interview with Frank Carini from EcoRI News (my favorite environmental watchdog) which was tackling the controversial subject of overpopulation. I haven’t written about this in some time, so figured that in the spirit of those fearful of what forthcoming environmental policy might look like, this would be as good a time as any to dive deep into the subject. At the surface, at face value, overpopulation is very real. Those of us who have been around for a quarter to a half a century have felt the pressure everyday – just think about something as simple as traffic. It is very obvious...
Read More