Digital Photography Essays

Memory card yields photos after year in ocean

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

If you dropped your digital camera into the ocean a year ago, can you even imagine getting the camera back…as well as some photos? Well, that’s exactly what happened recently.


Recovered photo of Barbara Gregory (Image from BBC website)

If you dropped your digital camera into the depths of the ocean a year ago, can you even imagine getting the camera back…and some of the photos?

I don’t think so!

Well, that’s exactly what happened recently to Barbara and Dennis Gregory of South Africa. They are one very lucky couple.

According to a report at the BBC online website, a trawler trapped a digital camera in his net. Upon checking, he found five photos on the secure digital memory card that were still intact.

The camera and memory card are believed to have been submerged in the Atlantic Ocean for more than a year!


The camera, a Nikon P90, fell into the water during a cruise. Evidently, Mr. Gregory had the camera strapped around his neck but removed it when he sat down on a lounge on the deck. The camera bounced off his lap and into the sea when he stood up to take a look at passing dolphins.

Benito Estevez of Spain, the fisherman who found the camera, traced the owners by placing the photos online. Friends saw the photos broadcast on the news and contacted Mr. and Mrs. Gregory.

Like the owners of the camera, I find this happy story “absolutely mind-boggling.”

Durability of memory cards

Studies have found that flash memory cards are nearly indestructible. True as this may be, I personally would not continue to use a memory card that had been submerged in salt water, even if it were only a few seconds.  I’ve run memory cards through an entire cycle in my washing machine. They still worked but I wouldn’t want to risk future photos by continuing to use the card.

As of this writing, the brand of the memory card is unknown. Hopefully, we will eventually be told because I certainly want to buy that brand card.