Archive for January 15th, 2013

Nearing the Shelf Break

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Hey All!

So over the rest of the weekend and through Monday, Challenger has continued to make progress towards deep water.

As we were continuing to fly across the coastal waters towards the open ocean, we were hit with a strong northward current that persistently pushed us every surfacing.  Dave made the call that we should try flying with the current correction option on, as to keep Challenger from flying too far north (remember, we don't want to cause any international incidents by flying into another countries waters!). And so with current correction set to on, Challenger turned to the south in an attempt to compensate for the currents northward flux.

Since Sunday afternoon when this call was made, Challenger then continued to fight the current as we flew into the gradually sloping waters of the South African shelf break.  Now, Challenger is less than 14 km from where the gradual slope turns to a very steep cliff, with the sea floor dropping nearly 500 m over 5 km!

We have also seen an abrupt oscillation in the direction of the currents over the past 14 hours, from a strong Northern flow to a East-Southeast flow that has caused us to lose some velocity.  However, we have picked a new way point to carry us across the shelf into deep water over the next day.

The forecast for tomorrow from myocean (shown above) indicates that we may have another shift in current direction tomorrow as they rotate back into a favorable flux to carry us out into the open ocean.  Tomorrow, I will be processing more data to try and get a better idea of what form the currents will take.

As for Silbo, our brave droid is continuing to fly in the vast Atlantic.

Silbo continues to combat the strong North-East flux that has plagued him for months on end.  Over the past couple of days now, the currents shifted, but in a direction 180˚ to the direction Silbo was trying to fly.  So today Ben issued Silbo a new way point, way to the South, hoping to get a better angle on the aggravating current and try and make better progress.  This new way point is also very significant because it was placed below the equator and close to Brazil, giving Silbo a taste of the finish line of this next leg of the Challenger mission.  Tomorrow I will also process data for Silbo to try and see if his situation will ease up anytime in the near future.  But more on that tomorrow.

Force Wind Sea & Honor All!