Dateline: At sea, 9 July 2012
Actual position at 2100 EDT, 2°55′ N, 169°47′ W, with 536 miles to go, making 8.6 knots.
Tomorrow’s excitement will be crossing the Equator, estimated at between 2 and 2:30 shipboard time. They are starting a pool to predict the exact time; prize: One TIGHAR ball cap. Well, it breaks up the monotony.
They should arrive at Nikumaroro in the wee hours of Thursday, July 12, local time. They will begin immediately to map the primary search area with the Multi-Beam; if it’s still dark when they finish that, they’ll do a lap around the island (about two hours) to generate a general profile of the reef.
As soon as the sun is up the AUV will go in the water for a four hour mission to check systems and data acquisition. They may use the Norwich City, or may use the primary search area; that decision will be made according to the situation and the weather.
When the AUV is recovered, they’ll launch the ROV for its test mission, again a short spell just to be sure all systems are working correctly.
Once the AUV has its data downloaded and the batteries swapped out, it will go back in the water for an eight hour mission to begin the serious search. The ship will shadow it, and they’ll be working the data as it comes off each mission. Hurry up and wait....