Friday Deep-Sea Picture: Western Flyer


Fans of Steinbeck will recall that the fishing boat that he and Ed Ricketts took to the Sea of Cortez was named the Western Flyer. Her modern day namesake here at MBARI is quite a different ship indeed. The R/V Western Flyer is small water plane twin hull design (SWATH), fancy way of saying she is twin hulled. At 117ft, she can handle a compliment of 26 (10 crew, 5 ROV Tiburon crew, and 11 scientists) for around 2 weeks. If specs get you excited as they do me, they are here.

click above for larger photo

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.

4 Replies to “Friday Deep-Sea Picture: Western Flyer”

  1. oooh oooh! I’ve been on the Western Flyer … for a short 3-day coring cruise over a year ago. They needed some assistance (i.e., slave labor) for processing sediment cores as they came up with the Tiburon ROV. See my short post here.

    Watching those guys fly and operate the Tiburon from the control room is pretty dang fun!

  2. Any idea what the original purpose of the F/V Western Flyer was? Looks like an old tuna seiner with that crow’s nest.

    Not to take away from the new version, though — she’s pretty!

  3. The top one reminds me of the shrimp trawlers I used to see in the Florida Keys. The bottom one looks like something from a futuristic SCI Fi movie! REAL Cool!
    Dave Briggs :~)

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