BAUE Project Overview

BAUE Project Overviews

BAUE Projects

Partnered Projects

Cordell Bank

Updated: Mar 13, 2014
Cordell Bank is a plateau located approximately 20 miles offshore of Bodega Bay, which rises up from thousands of feet to roughly 300 feet. Many shallower pinnacles lie atop of the bank, the shallowest of which reach around 120 feet at their tops. In addition to the dramatic topography, the bank is fabled to have amazing biodiversity, which led to its protection as a National Marine Sanctuary.

The idea for the 2013 project came from a BAUE planning meeting in late 2012, where we discussed the idea of a project that would put to use the club’s technical diving skills. BAUE’s previous annual projects have helped us to hone our skills to work as a team to document sites, while our frequent tech charters have allowed us to gain facility with conducting dives in deeper depths. We wanted to combine these two skill sets to conduct a documentation project in technical diving depths. With that in mind, we set our sights on a project at Cordell Bank.

Visit the Cordell Bank project page for more information.

Project Baseline

Updated: Sept 14, 2012

Project Baseline is a grassroots, environmental conservation initiative. Our organization exists to support people who are invested in water quality and availability by providing a platform that gives voice to otherwise under- or undocumented aquatic areas. We started as an organization built around underwater cave and open water divers.

Project Baseline encourages people to use pictures, video, dive logs, and observations already being collected for personal records, and upload that data into our database. Observations that are cataloged in an accessible, defensible and consistent manner can be used over time to gain a deeper understanding of each place visited by everyday adventurers. We are thrilled to be part of the Citizen Scientist movement that, when managed effectively, can be extremely influential in any number of scientific or public policy applications.

Visit the Project Baseline page for more information.

Mating Amtracks Survey

Updated: Jan 9, 2013

The 2012 project took place at the Mating Amtracks, a well-known local dive site in Monterey Bay, where two amphibious tracked vehicles sit, one on top of the other. The project consisted of several months of planning, including a reconnaissance dive, a project meeting, two project practice days, one day of setup dives, and two days of survey and documentation dives. Participants contributed in a variety of ways, including planning, research, surface management, diving, and data processing with the goal being to produce a 2D site survey, as well as photo and video documentation of the site.
Visit the Mating Amtracks project page for more information.

Point Lobos Trail Map Project

Updated: Jan 26, 2012

The 2011 BAUE projects objective was to identify various popular sites in the Point Lobos reserve that new divers could access by swimming to them. Create an above and below water map and instructions that would allow the divers to find the sites without a guide. The information on the site is an evolving one, with more pictures, video, and descriptions being added on an as needed basis.

Visit the Point Lobos Trail Map Project for more information.

Middle Reef Survey Project

Updated: July 15, 2010

BAUE’s 2010 Project took place at Whalers Cove within the Point Lobos Marine Reserve at a common dive site known as the Middle Reef.  Over three months of planning, one day of setup and two days of survey works were conducted for the purpose of collecting data about the site.  Results of the project were then compiled to produce a web page for the state park and BAUE.

Visit the Middle Reef project page for all the details.

Thumbs Up Project

Updated: Dec 30, 2008

This year's project consisted of mapping and collecting data very similiar to the 2007 project executed at the Great Pinnacle. The main goal of this project was to provide training for developing skills and mentoring new project participants.

Visit the Thumbs Up project page for a complete view of the project and data collected.

Great Pinnacle Project

Updated: December 21, 2007

BAUE's 2007 Great Pinnacle Project took place at Point Lobos, where we conducted a series of dives for the purpose of collecting data and photographic documentation of the Great Pinnacle. Results of the project were compiled to produce a web page for the state park and BAUE.

For more information, please visit the Great Pinnacle Project Page.

Nudibranch Project

Updated: September 21st 2007

The BAUE Point Lobos Nudibranch Survey is an ongoing effort to quantify opisthobranch mollusc populations inside the diving areas at Point Lobos State Reserve.

For more information, please visit the Point Lobos Nudibranch Survey Project Page.

Point Lobos Mapping Project

Updated: Dec 18, 2006

Here are some of the activities we have done as part of the mapping of middle reef:

1) A survey session was conducted in Redwood City. This session was presented by GUE instructors Chris and Danny from Mexico ( They are some of the most experienced cave instructors within GUE and have surveyed many cave systems in Mexico. They gave us an overview of team communication, guide line work, and survey techniques using the compass and line. One day was spent at the Redwood City pool and the following day at Point Lobos were the divers surveyed part of the reef.

2) We conducted a practice session in Portola Valley overlaying the practice survey on top of GoogleEarth using the GPS coordinates captured during the survey.

3) We're in process of making station identification tags for our upcoming surveys at Lobos. The idea is to use these to temporary mark the main survey station at Middle Reef until we have full and accurate pictures.

Shale Island Project

The objective of the Shale Island Project was to expand our group capacity to explore and document off-shore sites from a boat, while using more complex and sophisticated strategies for collecting data and documentation information. Results of the project can be found on the Shale Island Project pages.

Monterey Barge Project

The main objective of this project was to survey and map the position of the barge located off the breakwater in the Monterey Harbour. This small project is being executed to build the required knowledge that will be needed for larger future projects. 

Surveys of the barge have been completed and a graphic which shows the results is available on the Barge Project Page. Also available on the Barge Project Page is historical information, theories regarding the wreck, and various pictures of  both the wreck and the team members who were involved.

Underwater Mapping of Point Lobos

The objective of this project is to develop an understanding of the structure and location of the different reef systems at Point Lobos. This information could be used to build maps, help protect the reefs, and increase public awareness of the incredible ecosystem that Point Lobos State Park has to offer.

The approach will be to collect a group of GPS coordinates which represent the location of notorious features of the reefs, and use those points as anchors for underwater surveys.

The activities of this project include:
  • Selecting a group of anchors points on known reefs and pinnacles
  • Gathering their GPS coordinates
  • Surveying the different known reef system
  • Collecting survey information
  • Developing maps
  • Creating a list of good anchoring locations
  • Exploring new pinnacles and reefs
  • Connecting different pinnacles

Please visit the Pt Lobos project page for more details and to follow our progress.

Big Sur Bank Exploration

Big Sur Bank is a unique offshore reef system located 3 miles out from Big Sur Point, California. Originally explored by a group of scientists from 1988-1991. Details about their initial expeditions can be found at Cordell Expeditions. Based on the descriptions of what they saw and data available from MBARI, BAUE decided to embark on an exploration and research project to learn more about this site.

The goals of the project include:

  • Exploration of the bank to better understand the topology and geography of the area. The results will be documented, along with noteable features of the bank.
  • Photographic and videographic documentation of the bank and the life encountered there.
  • Determine if there are any undescribed species, as well as range extensions on known species.
  • Basic documentation of abundance of certain species of vertebrate and invertebrate life.

Please visit the Big Sur Bank Project page for more details and to follow our progress.

Deep Water Marine Life Research

We have begun discussions with local researchers to determine how we might use the skills and resources of the BAUE group to assist researchers in their pursuit of deep water marine life analysis.

The shallower depths are easily accessed by marine researchers through standard diving practices. Very deep water research is generally conducted with the use of ROVs and submarines. The depths in-between, often referred to as the "fly over zone" are rarely researched, due to the complexity and difficulty of running dive operations in that range. It is this area where we believe BAUE can provide a significant contribution to the body of scientific work.

Cordell Bank Research Expedition

From Ecology of an Underwater Island by Robert W. Schmieder:
The existence of this underwater island was known since shortly after the California gold rush. But Pendleton, like hundreds of real 19th century mariners, could not know how exotic it really is. They could not know that it presents one of the visually most spectacular underwater sights in the world. Or that it harbors an extraordinarily lush community of algae and invertebrates that in turn supports a huge number of larger animals, including fish, seabirds, and marine mammals.

Cordell Bank lies within sight of San Francisco Bay, yet it has been mantled in mystery, and remains so today. Indeed, until a few years ago, this exquisite site had never been seen by humans, even though it lies only a few hours by boat from a major metropolitan area. Only recently have we begun to explore its erosion-remnant topography, to catalogue the little creatures that inhabit its craggy peaks, to observe the great birds and mammals that frequent the surface waters, and to apreciate its pristine isolation. And although we are at the very beginning of our understanding of the complex processes at work on the Bank, we have learned enough to give a rough picture of its ecology and biogeography.

We are currently in discussions with Rob Schmieder about performing an expedition to Cordell Bank and to continue the research that he began years ago.