Your Photo Data Is Safe…Underwater?

That’s right, you read the headline is correct. Over the weekend a diver, Markus Thompson, found a camera at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of British Colubmia. He salvaged the camera, poked around a little bit (determining that the camera had been dropped into the water in August 2010), recovered the data off the card and, using Google+, found the owner.

Markus’ original post and updates here. The social web doing some good, a photographer getting back some property along with some thought-to-be-long-lost images… But… I’m guessing that all you really want to know is the brand of the card, right?

Funny, although I don’t blame you. Apparently this was a SanDisk Extreme III but, not that it overly matters…regardless what type of card you use, it’s true that many cards/types/brands can survive total submersion in water… now we just know that at least some of them can hang out in salt water for year(s)

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That is crazy! I can believe it lasted in salt water for that long. The one thing I will say is that FILM wouldn’t of lasted that long! lol

Shelagh says:

I sell cameras and big time recommend Sandisk Cards as they say right on the packaging that they are more durable. I noticed that is was a Rebal XS so while it could be a Sandisk Extreme, it wouldn’t be an extreme III as that would mean it was a compact flash card and the XS uses SD. But that aside, that is remarkable that images were saved.

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weeeewww… how did you find it… it’s an epic

foundAtypo says:

British “Columbia” :)

I wonder if the owner had the extended warranty on the Canon. ;)

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So wild! Hope the photos on the card are worth keeping.

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Mandy says:

Great story, can’t believe he managed to find the owner on Google+ just shows the power of social media!

Poor camera…

Man, if that was one of my cameras it would be up on the wall/a stand as a piece of art, it looks totally cool….. although, if it was my camera, I would be horrified to have done that to it LOL.

Haha, great photo’s!

mark says:

Last week in Maui I flooded a water housing with a 60d, the card I was using was a Lexar platinum II 32gb. I was able to retrieve the data on my clients mac book pro a few hours after flooding. When I got home to Oahu a few days later the card was unreadable, and green stuff was coming out of it. Maybe only the SanDisk are water proof.

I can vouch for this story…a good buddy of mine had his (almost) brand new Canon 7D take a swim last July, only he dove in to retrieve it immediately. Card worked like a charm afterwards, too bad his camera was immediately toasted.

mat g. says:


A great story indeed! I can vouch for this as I sent a card through the washing machine with wedding images on it! When I found the card, I simply let it dry overnight and Voila! the images were there in the morning!

Bill says:

Interesting find! I had a similar experience in 2005: we upset our canoe in freezing water on a small river far in the back country of a Canadian national park. The camera (along with other stuff) was lost and under fresh water for two years. Camera destroyed but SanDisk card still had the photos. It was kind of eerie to see the photos taken just before we tipped. Here’s one website that reported the find:

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stanchung says:

Sandisk ‘delighting you as well’? haha
Good to know, I can wash them if they get grubby. :-)

I have 2 SD’s that are damaged physically with the lock lever dropping out.
Glued some plastic there in place.

Ana GR says:

I washed a card in the washing machine, 30º, 1 1/2 hours, and then on to the drier for 1 1/2 hours. The pictures were there, the card was clean. It was not intentional, of course.

NorthernPixels says:

I’ve put my USB stick through the wash on three separate occasions and it’s still working wonderfully. Thank heavens for flash memory

tolits says:

can the owner post some photos…

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Amazing. SanDisk is the way to go into my camera.

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Now I know what to say next time someone asks why I choose Canon or why I picked Sandisk cards. :)

Dotcompals says:

Actually the real owner is yet to be found.

Haha, strange but true :D Really cool how it survived that!

fstopme says:

I’ve actually washed (and in some cases dried) CF cards, SDs, and the odd flash drive and have always been able to read my data. These cards and flash units are more robust than they look.

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This isn’t Facebook, and we aren’t 14 yrs. old. Haha.

JKA says:

There’s this camera that I read about earlier this year. Don’t know if its the same article but definitely the same camera.
It was lost for 4 years at sea. All the plastic had eroded away and all that was left was the metal body and sd card which still worked! The man that found it posted the pictures on to try and find it’s owner.

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Rather put any electric stuff like iPhone or Black Berry or camera in bag with RICE and silicon gel. It will remove the dampness and will not harm the circuits while in action.
Salt causing corrosion while taking the dampness away and then you can just as well through the camera or iPhone, Black Berry etc away…

tardy says:

hilarious. and crazy

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To drive water out of electrical items. Put it in a sealed container of salt. Worked after my iPhone went in the bath.

Moses says:

you can also put it in rice!

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Hello, i’m not very overcome instead this recovery…. i compactflash in the washingmachine is not really a problem. This is what i had the chance to realirze, after washing a compactflash with 60 degrees….

Dennis says:

The problem is not really the water, it’s the combination of water and air/oxygen – that’s what’s killing it. So when you drowned your cards … don’t try to try them just with warm air. Clean it (e.g. with alcohol or destilled water) and surround it with silica gel (at least that is what I would do) – and if those date were important, then for god’s damn sake take it as fast as you can to a pro! It’s a matter of hours and not days. If that sea water dries on the electronics it might make it all corrode and that means “bye bye date”.

Philipp says:

The owner should better clean the sensor before using the camera again ;)

Adam says:

Just found it very funny that although you and he mention the power of Google+, as of right now there are only 1 Google+ share and 31 Facebook share and likes…. Social is social, right?

Andreas says:

Amazing how tough those small SD cards can be! :D

doug says:

Great story, that’s pretty impressive. I’ve run cards through the washer and dryer and recovered images. Cards even cheap ones are amazingly tough.

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