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Lost GoPro Hero2 found after a year underwater

Updated: Feb 28

During our Seal Snorkeling trips to Duiker Island, Hout Bay, we offer rental GoPro Hero 2 camera’s for our excited guests to snap away some happy memories of the fun and beautiful Cape Fur Seals darting around you and playing away. After some time in the chilly waters, even with the thick 5mm Dive Gloves that you are kitted out in, your fingers may not want to listen to you. Occasionally, this means one or two of our cameras can accidentally find their way to the bottom of the ocean. The camera's are very hardy and can survive a depth of 40m (120ft) underwater. Our beautiful little snorkeling spot is only 5m, so the GoPro will easily survive the depth, but for how long? We immediately etched the location where the GoPro was dropped in our minds, and after a little searching, and knowing that we would be back the following day, we headed off home. The next day we returned, with much searching, to no avail. The bottom composition is mainly rocky, with quite a bit of short seaweed, so it’s rather easy to slip into a gap between the rocks and get covered up. We always have kept an eye out for the Blue handle of the GoPro camera, for the rest of the season, but nothing ever came up. Fast forward to the end of the Seal Snorkeling season of 2015, and we have had a fantastic and exciting season. The Cape Fur Seal pups had been in the water and playing like excited little pups do! We had a new addition to our team, and literally on his third day on the job, he’s swimming back to the boat, looks down, and pops his head up proclaiming “I think there is a GoPro down there!”. We looked at each other stunned. Could this be the GoPro that we’ve been looking for nearly every day for the entire 8 month Seal Snorkeling season? He grabbed a lungful of air, and dived down to return with the lost and forgotten GoPro Hero 2 with Blue handle. Yup, he found it on his third day, much to the other Guides’ envious surprise. The housing had leaked and was full of sea water. Once we are back on shore, we opened it all, drained the water, and attempted the old “bag of rice” trick to absorb as much moisture as possible. We know these GoPro cameras are tough, but could it survive a year underwater in the ocean, with a flooded housing??

A few days later, we took the big step of putting the battery back in to try the GoPro out. Imagine the surprise when the GoPro actually turned on and functioned perfectly. Everything worked! The memory card was unfortunately empty, but still functioned, with the GoPro even accepting a charge. I think this is an incredible testament to the sheer robustness of the GoPro Hero action camera, and yet another reason why we use them to capture our happy times with the Cape Fur Seals. We also have learnt to not use the non-buoyant Grenade Handle for the GoPro cameras, and now only use buoyant handles with a lanyard, or “safety belt” as our guides call them. Forever avoiding the chance of a sinking GoPro ever again. Now, to find our Tow-cam that the dolphins took from us…


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