Camera and Memory Card Found After Two Years in the Pacific, Photos Still Intact!

Maybe we don’t give memory cards enough credit, because for all of the stories of corrupt files and irretrievable photographs, we have some astounding stories of memory cards performing above and beyond what anybody thinks they could possibly do.

The video above shares one such story that surfaced (pun intended) recently, of a memory card and camera that were discovered after spending two years at the bottom of the North Pacific ocean. You see where we’re going with this… the photos survived.

The camera and card went down with the ship off the west coast of Vancouver Island two years ago when artist Paul Burgoyne shipwrecked on a 500-kilometre voyage from Vancouver to his summer home in Tahsis, B.C. Burgoyne, understandably, never expected to see those photos again.

© Isabelle M. Côté

© Isabelle M. Côté

But he should have been more optimistic, because earlier this month, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre university students Tella Osler and Beau Doherty discovered the camera while conducting research dives off Aguilar Point, B.C.

The camera, as you can see from the photo above, was in pretty bad shape. In fact, Professor of Marine Ecology at Simon Fraser University, Isabelle M. Côté, told CBC News that, “there were multiple marine species, from two kingdoms and at least seven phyla, living on the camera when it was found.”

None of that could stop the little memory card that could though, because when Côté plugged in the now-dry 8GB Lexar Platinum II card, it worked right away. She pulled the photo below, Tweeted it, and hoped for the best.

And the best worked out! According to CBC, a member of Bamfield coast guard station who helped rescue Burgoyne two years prior recognized him from the family photo and got in touch. After two years in frigid Pacific waters, the card, which included priceless photos of his family scattering his parents’ ashes at Lake of the Woods in Ontario, is making its way back to its owner.

Now all Burgoyne has to do is wait a couple more days. Well, that and field calls from Lexar marketing department people who would be crazy not to make a commercial out of this.

(via CBC News via 4/3 Rumors)

Image credits: Photograph by Isabelle M. Côté and used with permission

  • cjs711

    I’ve found Lexar cards to be reliable. Also SanDisk and Transcend. I have run (accidentally!) SanDisk and Transcend SD cards through the wash and dryer – sometimes (sadly) more than once, same card – and images came through perfectly unscathed..

  • MEEfO

    Oh wow more extraordinary good fortune for a rich man! A real feel good story!

  • Julian Brelsford

    This story also a good example of why I would recommend dropbox or Google Drive to anyone who has any kind of precious digital files. Don’t sit there hoping that fire, water, and theft will not destroy your files. Put a copy of them somewhere that the forces of nature won’t get to them.

  • Wuz nt Me

    “the boat was on auto-pilot” Is that really a thing or is that like Homer Simpson putting his RV on ‘auto-pilot’ (cruise control) so he could make a sandwich while he cruised down the highway?

  • Toby Hawkins

    It sounds like you have an axe to grind.

  • Adrian S

    I don’t see why a card would die in water. Only terminals are exposed, everything else is wrapped / encased in plastic. The charge inside the EEPROMs can last up to 100 years, from what I’ve been reading (not that I trust what I’ve been reading). So unless the card is exposed to anything that can change the charge, like an “UV light at a frequency of 253.7″, the data will be safe. And I think water makes a great insulator against any electrostatic charge.

  • Martin

    I didn’t realise that memory cards were so resilient!

  • Gery

    That looks like Panasonic Lumix TZ series..

  • Bill McKenzie

    A great way to clean up any noisy images or sensor dust.

  • Zos Xavius

    I stick my dslr in the dishwasher all the time! Just make sure you take the lens off and open up the shutter. Face down is best.

  • Zos Xavius

    And how does that work exactly when you are in the middle of the pacific ocean with no internet access?

  • Zos Xavius

    Its actually a ZS series. ZS3 or ZS5 most likely.

  • 4dmaze

    It’s amazing how many cameras have been found at the bottom of the ocean. There must be quite a large number of them. That, or they are generally easier to find than airplanes…

  • Julian Brelsford

    The precious photos mentioned here, the ones involving him, his family, and some ashes, were surely taken before he was by himself in the ocean.

  • Zos Xavius

    I actually skimmed the article and didn’t catch that tidbit to be honest. I did watch the video for a brief while, but quickly lost interest. All he had to do was copy those files before he went on his trip. Then he would have only lost a week or two’s worth of pictures. I never got why people think its a good idea to leave all of their precious images on an SD card that you could easily lose or have fail on you. So many people don’t even have a backup hard drive. For me, it would take a significant amount of storage space in the cloud to back up all of my data. It would also take months to upload it all. Far easier and cheaper in the long run to just keep buying drives IMO.

  • Jason Yuen

    Not sure if too soon or not…

  • Eddy Bergman

    What type of camera is that? It looks a lot like my panasonic Lumix TZ10 only the on-off button is on the wrong side. Can anyone make a positive ID?

  • Eddy Bergman

    That’s the same camera. TZ stands for Travel Zoom and is the European name for this series of camera. In the States a TZ10 is called the ZS7 for instance.