Thursday, 4 September 2008

Hunting for seamounts

We've been cruising around looking for seamounts for most of the day. The Nansen is equipped with a multibeam echosounder system which makes it fairly quick to survey a target once it is found.

Whilst seamounts are often marked on charts, they don't always show up quite where you expect them to be; parts of many charts rely on data gathered well before the availability of modern navigational aids such as GPS - indeed, many positions would have been calculated manually using sextants and accurate clocks!

We managed to find both seamounts we were looking for, and we are currently trawling at about 550m or so on the flat top of the second one we found. Seamounts are widely expected to harbour much fairly unknown biodiversity.

Our position a short while ago was here.

I will try and arrange some screenshots from the multibeam system or the ship's electronic navigation system that incorporates the multibeam data and post them here later on. The image attached to this post shows the Nansen's chart table, complete with a paper chart of the region, and of course, various GPS readouts. Most of the day-to-day navigation on the ship is however done in Olex. Olex is an electronic charting system, of which several displays are available around the ship and on the bridge.

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