06/07/01 - Day 5
The side scan sonar is finally launched
Rob White reports
After another uncertain start to the day - with winds still high at up to 30 knots, and
wave heights to match - the sun broke through for us at about 1330, with clear signs that the weather was on the mend. Above all, wind speeds were dropping towards the 'Go' figure of 15 knots.
By mid-afternoon 'Go!' it was. The Oceaneering Technologies team made their final checks
on their 'Ocean Explorer' sidescan sonar, and by six o'clock the launch countdown
was well under way.
the sonar is lifted overboard
As the bright yellow submersible lifted off the deck, swaying gently
in the Atlantic air, with it rose all the hopes and fears, all the years and months
of planning invested in the 'Hood' - ' Bismarck' project.
Moments later 'Ocean Explorer' was afloat, ready to dive on its journey to find the
'Bismarck', over 4000 metres down somewhere on the ocean bed below us. As the towfish
began its long descent David was able to relax - but only a little: "I'm just glad it's in the water" he told the Channel 4 film crew. "3 days of frustration is now released -
we should know in about 6 or 7 hours whether we're right or not about 'Bismarck'."
With the descent complete and the towfish travelling along its first 'line', Oceaneering
Technologies' sidescan sonar team gave the sound signals they were getting full marks.
"Outstanding" said Field Engineer Chuck Hohing. "Some of the best quality I've ever seen. Better right now than we'd anticipated."
David and the film crew on deck
And now, anticipation is once again the name of the game. Bar taught, the cable linking 'Ocean Explorer to our ship reaches down deep into the Atlantic. Are we on the right track for 'Bismarck'? We should know by 2 o'clock in the morning...