SPOT Tracker Down

Nov 21 2010

“spot still not working, think it has died”

After almost 50,000 miles and 14 months continuous use, Sea Dragon is reporting that her SPOT tracker is down. We’ve lost signal. The boat and the crew are, of course, in no danger because of this. Nor is the immediate mission, but the loss of this otherwise amazing little orange device does hit our ability to communicate. Much the same as blogs, video and phone calls, at sea is is just as important to be able to say “I am here”. This gives the rest of us a sense of physical perspective as the team makes their way across over 3,000 miles of open ocean. We’ll do our best to post coordinates of the boat as they report in via email. But we are going to miss the live-map dots showing their daily advances.

Latest position we have from Friday the 19th: – 27 26S / 26 42W. This puts them right at the outer, and very turbulent edge of the S. Atlantic High. While the center holds the calm air and good science that they need, the edges can have accelerated winds, particularly if another system is pushing up against the high. That is exactly what is happening. A set of powerful lows is running below them, circling the antarctic. These are causing steeper pressure gradients and more wind. You can see the high wind zone on the NW edge, right there with the closely spaced contour lines. The team is moving fastest possible to the SE to get inside the sheltering center of the high. Here’s a bit of color from the sat-phone email this morning:

“Here on board we’re coming out of a week of wind and rain, last night gusting to 50 knots. I was expecting just to opposite at this point. Looks like the weather ahead is better as we enter the High. The research is being done, but the high sea state trawls will be useless. Hopefully we get good trawling weather soon – Marcus”

Here is the latest weather chart via Passage Weather:

20NovIsobar

Saltwater, and the rough, physical environment of the high seas is never friendly to small electronic devices- your average cell phone would last about an hour out there! So we think the SPOT did well in such extreme conditions. New unit on its way for the next leg!