Amelia Earhart Search: July 20

July 20, 2012 - via TIGHAR

Dateline: Nikumaroro, 19/20 July 2012

14:00Z (04:00 KOK)
The AUV finished the search box south of Norwich City. It covered the area almost to landing channel and returned to the surface for re-programming for the next mission. Unfortunately, Phoenix was unable to communicate with the AUV for re-programming. The AUV was too close to the reef for KOK to execute a recovery. The Captain mustered all hands and launched the skiff to secure the AUV and bring it out far enough from the reef for KOK to do the recovery. The AUV was successfully recovered. The Captain was less than thrilled.

18:00Z (08:00 KOK)
We amended the ROV search technique for more efficient use of remaining time. “Mowing the lawn” by running lines west to east up the reef face from 368 meters (1200 feet) to 61 meters (200 feet) wastes time because most of the slope is too steep for anything to rest on. Better to search north to south at depths where the reef slope is mild enough for wreckage to stop descending.

18:30Z (08:30 KOK)
We launched the ROV for a surface test run and the camera crew filmed it from the skiff.

20:30Z (10:30 KOK)
We launched the ROV for detailed inspections of intermittent ledges and “catchment” areas at the base of the first cliff – depth 61 to 91 meters (200 to 300 feet) – from Nessie south to Norwich City.

23:30Z (13:30 KOK)
The ROV was recovered. Terrain in the area covered was uneven and strewn with large coral boulders. The base of the cliff was undercut in several places forming large shallow caves. Ledges at the base of the cliff vary in width to a maximum of 30 meters (100 feet). There are many coral plates with square edges, and numerous false targets. No man-made objects were seen. Beyond the ledge, the reef slope drops at an estimated angle of 50° to 70°. In some areas, such as at the main Norwich City wreckage site, the slope moderates somewhat at depth of 305 meters (1,000 feet).

00:00Z 20 Jul (14:00 KOK)
The AUV data from last night has been processed. No targets of interest detected.

01:30Z 20 Jul (15:30 KOK)
We launched the ROV for an inspection of the reef slope from Nessie south to Norwich City at the 305 meter (1,000 feet) depth.

03:19Z 20 Jul (17:19 KOK)
Recovered ROV. There is very little moderation in slope steepness along the line until the vicinity of Norwich City wreckage. Many coral plates with square edges. Numerous false targets. There was a fishnet/rope tangle on the slope face at 900 feet at 274 meters just north of the Norwich City wreck.

06:00Z 7-20 (20:00 KOK)
KOK collected SeaBeam mapping data off the southern side of the island to fill gaps in the data collected earlier. When that is complete we’ll begin the voyage back to Honolulu.

We headed northward at midnight our time (10:00Z, 06:00 EDT). At 19:40Z we were at 3° 23′ S, 173° 47′ W making 9.1 knots.

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