Thursday, March 15, 2007

Approaching the Shipping Lanes

Josh Kohut just sent word over email that RU16 completed our first 12 hour underwater leg.
We routinely do 6 hours without communicating, but this was our first time we intentionally stayed down for 12 hours. We are testing Josh Graver's new mission to stay deep and fly a specific compass heading for a long time regardless of currents.

The mission worked perfectly. The plot above shows no data above 20 m depth at the end of the section, indicating we did indeed stay deep. That means we are ready to approach the second danger point on this trip from Massachusetts.

The first dange point was leaving Martha's Vineyard. We have had trouble there before, and knew there would be strong tides. That strategy was simple - fly away from the danger point as fast and directly as you can. No need to zig-zag around.

Now we are approaching the east-west shipping lane into NY Harbor. This will be the difficult one. The plan is to approach the northern side of the shipping lane, then from the northern side,
stay deep and jump to the seperation zone in the middle. Once there, we repeat the stay deep mission and jump to the southern side.

Next surfacing is at 11:30 am tomorrow, and we should be near the northern side of the shipping lanes by then. At that point we have about 1 minute to take manual control of RU16. If RU16 does not hear from us that it is safe to stay at the surface in that 1 minute interval, its just going to dive back down deep into safer waters, and keep heading south at 12 hour intervals until we tell it that its safe.

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