The RV Odyssey is a ninety-three foot boat which the Ocean Alliance uses for field research.
The RV Odyssey serves as a mobile research platform for the Ocean Alliance. The steel hulled ketch was constructed in New Zealand in 1976 and donated to the Ocean Alliance in 1991. The RV Odyssey is fitted with state-of-the art research and communication equipment and is perhaps the most advanced research vessel working with whales today.
Since coming to the Ocean Alliance the Odyssey has become a leading scientific vessel and platform for use by visiting whale research scientists and documentary teams. The Odyssey has been witness to a number of innovations and firsts, including:
- sighting of blue whales in equatorial waters;
- the first successful satellite tag on a sperm whale (by visiting scientist Bruce Mate)
- the first electrocardiogram of a sperm whale (by visiting scientist Dr. Jorge Reynolds)
- the training of over 100 scientists from Latin America in the benign research techniques developed by the Ocean Alliance;
- the first successful underwater sonar tracking of sperm whales throughout their dives,
- technique for placing remote sensing packages on the backs of whales and for acquiring skin samples more easily.
The Odyssey has also served as an important component in the production of educational programs and films. It has featured on
- Discovery Channel
- Canal Plus
- Channel Ten - Australia
- ABC - Australia
- EmTV - Papua New Guinea
- TV New Zealand
- The IMAX film Whales, which was shot aboard the Odyssey in 1995.
In 1997 Turner Broadcasting System and NHK shot what is believed to be the first ever Hi Definition film on whales, Diving With the Great Whales. In addition much of the footage for an IMAX feature film on whales was filmed from the Odyssey.