Mike Silk’s rover Chasing M2 recovering a bottle at Agate Point. (Mile Silk video still/Lakes District News)

Mike Silk’s rover Chasing M2 recovering a bottle at Agate Point. (Mile Silk video still/Lakes District News)

Burns Lake local on an underwater mission

Hoping to explore lakes while leaving them cleaner

A local Burns Lake resident’s interest in underwater exploration turned into a waste retrieval mission recently.

Mike Silk had been using an underwater rover to explore the lakes when he came across some trash. He then deployed his rover’s arm, an attachment the rover had like a claw, to retrieve some of the trash.

“Usually when we go out, it is to explore, if there is some trash that we come across we do our best to retrieve it. If we can clean up what we can, we leave the lake a tiny bit better than we found it. I try to apply the old saying “leave it better than you found it” in life,” he said.

Silk moved to Burns Lake at the age of 10 and has since called Burns Lake his hometown. He has been working with Napa Auto Parts for roughly 13-plus years and his interest in tinkering with devices has extended to 3-D printing, aerial drones or underwater drones.

“I would say the main thing that brought me to underwater exploration is being able to see a side of nature that we normally do not get to see. Sure there are times where the scenery is quite familiar but it is still out of reach for most of us, I would also guess that there is a lot of history in our lakes and it is always interesting to learn new or forgotten things about our history here,” said Silk.

So far, in his explorations of lakes in the region, Silk’s rover has been to Agate point and Tchesinkut Lake and has managed to collect a handful of cans and beer bottles.

“We also managed to bring up some scraps of tin which may have been an old can. It was hard to identify what it was. We have detected more garbage down there and will collect what we can. Using the claw on the rover takes a little practice but the main kicker is the shortened battery life because of the extra weight,” said Silk.

Silk is hoping to buy a bigger battery to extend the exploration and collection time. This he is hoping will not only help unearth the regions history but also maintain the lakes in the region.

Over this winter, Silk took his rover under the ice-blanketed lakes and shared his videos on YouTube of the spectacular shots of the ice sheets from underwater as well as shared views of the lake floors.

“If we can find some history, that will be nice to share with the community,” he said.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist


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