07/07/01 - Day 6
Staying on track
Rob White reports
The trick now is: stay on track. 'Northern Horizon's pathway over the site where 'Bismarck'
probably lies - pointing east - is out of whack with the prevailing weather conditions.
(Trust us to do it the hard way.) As the steering display on the bridge shows, the ship is
having to travel half-sideways, or "crab", to stay on course.
"Wind and tide are all from one side" explained Captain Keith Herron. "We've got to crab a lot to keep on line."
The sonar line must be kept absolutely straight
task is made no easier by the speed the ship must travel to keep the towfish safe - just 2
knots. That's hardly enough to keep steerage way on her. Constant vigilance is essential
- or the search could run into big trouble.
More vigilance is needed at the other end of the ship - dealing with the miles and miles
of steel cable towing the sonar behind 'Northern Horizon'. Coming in or going out, it
has to wind onto the giant drums just right - or there's hell to pay.
So, a member of
the Oceaneering team must stand and watch it come in through a regulator designed to make it
lay straight. Every last bit of it. Vital work - but one team member made a strong early bid for
the 'Understatement of the Expedition' award when he descibed it as...well..."boring"!
Painting the reconstruction scenes
Maybe he needs to take up painting. Assistant Producer Emily Roe and Thales Geosystem's navigator
Chris Jones have. It's all part of the business of making 'Northern Horizon' as
much like a warship as possible, for recreating key moments in the 'Hood'/'Bismarck' story.
But they're not going to have to do ALL of the ship. Or if they are, no-one's had the nerve to
tell them yet!