Avoiding ice, sea mounts, and uncertain conditions ru26d was sent onward to try and navigate all the way up to Rothera Station’s front door. Luckily the winds did away with the ice. However, ice still covered a deep route into Marguerite Bay, so we had to go the shallow route. This happens to be the route the Gould will take when it comes and goes from Palmer. Sticking to habit is safe down there when depths are uncertain. Uncertain depths mean difficulties in glider piloting / planning.
Some sections showed depths as shallow as 40-50 m, followed next by 500 m. Quite dramatic differences in only a couple kilometers. The glider can handle depths as shallow as 30 meters but pays a huge price in power efficiency.
There were a couple ‘pinches’ we needed to navigate through and the glider did a very good job at that.
Once the water deepened inside Marguerite Bay, the glider picked up speed and began to overshoot its waypoints. This caused a little scare in getting too close for comfort to Killingbeck Island and its sub-islands. Quickly the glider was sent down away from the island on short single dives. This helped it clear the danger and resume its track back to Rothera.
The water at this point was pretty deep, hundreds of meters, so keeping it in the tight spaces near Rothera wasn’t too difficult. Overnight the glider was stationed at the BAS RaTS site where the British have been maintaining since 1997:
RaTS in winter:
Contributing a short time series to their position could be helpful for them in resolving tides, as well as a good point to calibrate and cross compare multiple sensors.
As I type the weather is not great, 30 knot winds. The glider is being brought closer to Rothera and should be < 1 nautical mile away (I am sure they can practically see it ), helping chances for recovery in the poor conditions. A call with the British will take place at 3:30 EST. We hope to be able to recover!