Nearing the Shelf Break
As of the last surfacing, Ru 29 is mere hours from crossing the shelf into the depths. We were cautious over the past day as we were trying to time our crossing of the shelf as perfect as possible. Now that summer has started, fishing levels shipping traffic have spiked as people enjoy the warm weather. Knowing that if we continued straight towards the shelf, we would arrive mid afternoon when the traffic would be at its highest. So we decided to enter station keep mode to bide our time for a few hours so we could put off making the crossing until late at night.
After 4 surfacings of following the station keep protocol, we moved the way point back out to the east as 29 now is making her way towards the shelf.
Looking at the bathymetry, it is really incredible. By the last surfacing, we were flying in 150m of water, yet 5 km east, the ocean floor drops to 500m, in 10 km it is 1250m and the further we go the deeper it gets.
One observation we did make today was that there seems to be a bit of a lag on the inflection at depth.
Chip however shed light on this issue by bringing up the fact that 29 is a deep glider and the oil pump takes longer. The problem may also adjust itself as we make our way into deep water which the glider is made to fly in. Aside from that, She has been flying pretty well and has even minimized the time spent at the surface to between 7-9 minutes.
For the future planning, we made a list of points to take into account. First off, in order to avoid ship traffic, we are doing our best to avoid fishing zones which also include keeping an eye on the Sea Surface Temperature as a front of 2 degrees could attract large amounts of fish and thus fisherman. We have also increased the time between surfacings, and instead of making our top inflections close to the surface, we are making them at 20m. We also have proposed to adjust the use of the altimeter to turn on at a deeper depth in order to conserve battery power.
Finally, the Gulf Stream is not less than 90 km from 29. If we want to see this glider again, we must do everything we can to stay away from this massive current. This year, the Gulf Stream has come up very close to the coast of NJ, and if we were to accidentally enter it, 29 would be in incredible danger. With the battery packs on board, 29 only has roughly 20 days at sea giving us enough time to run two weeks to testing and get back close enough for recovery. However if we get caught in the current, we will surely get launched out to sea. Knowing this, we are doing our best to keep an eye on the currents to make sure we do not get anywhere close to the dangerous area. To do so, we are using the RTOFS Ocean Basin Forecast, real time satellite imagery, CODAR, and myocean from Antonio. But as for now, we have two way points waiting for 29 so she is set through the weekend
Tags: Nilsen Strandskov