Benjamin using EAC to join Recovery point
Finally, the Wave Glider Benjamin has found the EAC entry Southern from Samazer Reef and speed-up to 3 knots to travel 70 km in 24 hours. It crossed on Jan 24, 2013 the Papa Mau route, used in Nov 5, 2012. The next destination is supposed near Lay Elliott Island the Finish-line and the recovery point for Papa Mau 2 months and half ago.
Today, only 100 km are remaining for Benjamin UMV to finish the PacX challenge with a journey of 10.000 km from Hawaii and a stop at Samoa Island. So, only 2 or 3 days before the end of a 15 months mission.
Benjamin misses the Papa Mau’s EAC entry
Arrived near the Samarez Reef at the beginning of February 2013 after 400 Nm (750 km) right to the expected entry point of the EAC (East Australian Current), the PacX Wave Glider Benjamin encounters a new difficulty. From 5 days, the Unmanned Marine Vessel (UMV) is doing loops even driven by human pilots from Liquid Robotics’ headquarter.
Instead of finding a strong surface current to ride up to Australia as the previous Wave Glider Papa Mau, the robot stumbled to strange swirls at the South East of the Samarez Reef. Even if the UMV Benjamin has taken a Northern path to join the Australia compared to Papa Mau , it crosses the reef more South and doesn’t find the EAC.
To quickly join the EAC, the robot will have to either go northern to the EAC entry point of Papa Mau, or go southern until finding a western way to join the EAC and ride up to Australia.
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Benjamin Wave Glider right to the EAC
Three months after the winner Wave Glider Papa Mau, its companion Benjamin is now in the Queensland OceanMAPS area and approaches from the East Australian Current before ending its PacX Challenge (Pacific Cross). Less than 2 weeks after encountering the route of the Tropical Storm FREDA, the Wave Glider is fully operational to record data from its sensors until Australian coast. Unlike Papa Mau who has borrowed path south of New Caledonia, pilots of Liquid Robotics from Sunnyvale (CA) have chosen a northern route which seems faster to join the EAC. Today, at 1000 km from the arrival point, Benjamin is riding the waves slowly, less than 1 knots in a warmer water than Papa Mau.
Benjamin Wave Glider against FREDA Tropical Storm
Just before the new year, Benjamin, the Wave Glider manufactured by Liquid Robotics of the PacX Challenge, has endured a long night against the tropical storm FREDA near New Caledonia Island. Even with amazing weather conditions, the robot has recorded all data sensors during the four days event.
At 15:30 UTC on Dec 31, 2012, the small UMV (Unmanned Marine Vehicle) recorded the stronger weather conditions with the atmospheric pressure down to 972 mBar and average Wind Speed greater than 50 knots. The Datawell MOSE-G Wave sensor record a maximum of 9.87 meters height (more than 32 feet).
Return to Hawaii for Fontaine Maru
In a couple of hours, the Research Vessel of University of Hawaii, Kilo Moana, will arrive to Honolulu port, and on its board the Unmanned Marine Vehicles (UMV) alias Wave Glider, called Fontaine Maru. A fast 5 days return compared to the 6 months needed to explore the 1700 Nm along the #PacX challenge route to Japan.
Fontaine Maru rescued by Kilo Moana Research Vessel
As announced by the manufacturer of the Wave Glider, Liquid Robotics Inc. (CA/HI), Fontaine Maru, one of the PacX Challenge Japan team has been rescued by the Oceanographic Research Vessel named Kilo Moana. In the afternoon of November 25, the unmanned marine vehicle (UMV) has been picked up by the ”one who is looking for understanding of the deep sea” (“Kilo Moana” in Hawaiian) and return to Hawaii at the incredible speed of 12 knots to be repaired (10 times the normal speed). The arrival at Honolulu port is awaited to November 30 at noon.
After wining the first part of the PacX Challenge from San Francisco (CA) to Kamuela (HI) with near 3000 Nm traveled in 113 days, the second part began nicely for all four wave gliders until August 11, 2012 when Fontaine Maru recently passed by Piccard Maru (its Japan team companion), stopped to transmit data through Iridium. During 3 months, only the rescue beacon was alive and indicated the position of the wave glider. On November 10, the brain of the Wave Glider finally rebooted and the Iridium data transmission restarted. After a couple of days to refill the completely empty batteries with its two Solar panels, the pilot from Sunnyvale (CA) tried to command the submarine part and move the rudder, but no way to control the direction of the glider.
For the Japan team, troubles were not finished. Just after the reboot of Fontaine Maru, the second Wave Glider Piccard Maru has stopped to transmit data on November 17, 2012. Hope this UMV will be rescued soon by a gentle captain.
Papa Mau in the Australian News Paper
Few hours after his visit of Lady Elliott Island and his arrival to Burnett Heads, Papa Mau the Wave Glider, started from San Francisco (CA) just one year ago, has been interviewed by Jim Alouat the NewsMail reporter at Bundaberg.
Ocean explorer vessel arriving in Bundaberg
Today, the robot has been moved to a quiet place to be inspected by the team of Liquid Robotics Field Operation.
Last kilometers for Papa Mau
At less then 4 Nm, Papa Mau is visiting the Lady Elliott Island the last coral cay before the finish-line in the Hervey Bay close to Fraser Island. The countdown of the remaining distance has fallen bellow 90 kilometers and as Liquid Robotics said, the manufacturer and the PacX challenge organizer, the arrival is awaited for two or three days. The last kilometers seem to be the longest ones (only 30 kilometers traveled during the last 24 hours).
One year with PacX Challenge Wave Gliders
This night at 2012-11-17T00:00:00Z, Papa Mau, Piccard Maru, Benjamin and Fontaine Maru Wave Gliders blow out their first birthday candle of the PacX Challenge. For this great day, Papa Mau has reduced its speed (not really expected) before crossing the finish-line and Fontaine Maru out of a three month sleep to be on the souvenir photo.
Remember, last November 17, 2011 at 00:00 GMT, four Wave Gliders designed by Liquid Robotics started to cross Pacific Ocean from San Francisco Bay to Japan for Piccard Maru and Fontaine Maru and to Australia for Papa Mau and Benjamin.
The first part of the challenge uses a common path for all aquatic robots through the Monterey Bay to Hawaii Big Island at the Liquid Robotics Test Center in Kamuela. After near 3000 Nm traveled with 8 meters wave height and 100 knots wind speed, Fontaine Maru arrives in Hawaii on 2012-03-09T00:55:55Z and broke the World Record of “greatest distance by an autonomous wave-powered vehicle”.
Two Month later, after a break at Hawaii for a checkup and small cares especially for Piccard Maru seriously bitten by a shark, the Australian took the direction to Brisbane (Aus) while the Japan team followed the North way to Shikoku (Jpn). During this second part of the Challenge, Papa Mau took the lead of the race and crossed the equator line on 2012-07-17T14:36:40Z and the IDL (International Date Line) or antimeridian on 2012-07-31T13:31:35Z.
During the way, Papa Mau encountered a large Chlorophyll bloom from June 20 until August 3, 2012 allowing to record lot of scientific data. One month later, the fastest robot crossed the deep New Hebrides Trench and rush to the finish-line in Australia. But in mid of October, arriving near the fast EAC (East Australian Current), Papa Mau has be stopped and deflected to a northern path and join the EAC entry. Five days ago, he finally crossed the EAC and speed up to near 5 knots pushed by the powerful ocean current.
On today (November 17, 2012), Papa Mau is at less 100 Nm from the Fraser Island Bay and the finish-line.