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Author Topic: Niku VI Underwater Search  (Read 18658 times)

Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Niku VI Underwater Search
« on: October 26, 2010, 02:03:02 PM »

... Any Electra parts discovered in the ROV missions?

From preliminary Niku VI Report:
"In other words, we discovered that the prime search area begins where our capability to search ended.

"To search for the plane we’ll need to be able to work down to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). That’s still relatively shallow and well within the capabilities of available technology (the searches for the Electra in the area near Howland were conducted at depths five times greater) but to search where we need to search we’ll need a vessel with “dynamic positioning” – the ability to maintain a stationary position at sea within a tolerance of a few meters. That’s going to be expensive."

LTM,

           Marty
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Chris Johnson

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2010, 02:07:50 PM »

It's a learning curve, every expedition has highlighted the need for extra resources or larger search areas.  just look at the 7 site and how it was almost overlooked but is now a key part of the search.

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Randy W Kerr

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 08:30:29 PM »

I've noticed in several locations the statement that 100ft is the limit for SCUBA searches.  Just wondering if that is a TIGHAR created safety limit or exactly what the origin is for that number.  I know that one can reliably dive much deeper than that using the proper equipment and techniques.  Also, has a side scan sonar been employed?  This tool could search vast areas in a short amount of time and pinpoint any locations worthy of deploying a ROV.  The problem with a visiual search by ROV is what you are actually doing is searching a mountain with a video camera, when a "radar" like tool might be more cost effective.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 09:16:03 PM by Randy W Kerr »
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 09:36:18 PM »

I've noticed in several locations the statement that 100ft is the limit for SCUBA searches.  Just wondering if that is a TIGHAR created safety limit or exactly what the origin is for that number.

I know that one can reliably dive much deeper than that using the proper equipment and techniques.

It was a TIGHAR limit, based on equipment and personnel.  They don't have a decompression chamber with them and (so far as I know) weren't using exotic gases to go deeper.  Divers sometimes exceeded the limits, I hear, but not often and not by much.  I believe they did a pretty good search around the reef down to 100' in the first few expeditions, not to mention getting towed through the lagoon to give that a pretty thorough once over.

Quote
Also, has a side scan sonar been employed?

Yes and no.  They had a fish on Niku I or II, I believe.  But both the fish and the data got lost, the first on the reef and the second ... well, if we knew how it got lost, it wouldn't be lost, would it?   :-[

I believe that they did a new sonar search of the lagoon on Niku VI.

Quote
This tool could search vast areas in a short amount of time and pinpoint any locations worthy of deploying a ROV.  The problem with a visiual search by ROV is what you are actually doing is searching a mountain with a video camera, when a "radar" like tool might be more cost effective.

Niku VI had limited funding.  They went with remote cameras that they could afford and run from the Nai'a.  I think they saw enough to learn that a real reef search has got to go a lot deeper.  Niku VII is really just in the dream stage right now.  A lot depends on fundraising.
LTM,

           Marty
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Daniel Paul Cotts

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 10:03:46 PM »

My fantasy is that all the groups searching for AE pool their talents for a grand expedition to Niku. A positive DNA match with AE on the bones or artifacts could be the impetus for that project.
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2010, 04:02:10 AM »

My fantasy is that all the groups searching for AE pool their talents for a grand expedition to Niku. A positive DNA match with AE on the bones or artifacts could be the impetus for that project.

The other groups certainly do have some nice deep-water equipment and lots of practice using it.

I imagine that scanning the side of the seamount is trickier than searching the bottom of the ocean floor.  The ideal expedition, in my view, would be equipped to do both.  Of course, "if wishes were horses then beggars would ride."
LTM,

           Marty
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Randy W Kerr

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2010, 08:21:40 AM »

I've noticed in several locations the statement that 100ft is the limit for SCUBA searches.  Just wondering if that is a TIGHAR created safety limit or exactly what the origin is for that number.

I know that one can reliably dive much deeper than that using the proper equipment and techniques.

It was a TIGHAR limit, based on equipment and personnel.  They don't have a decompression chamber with them and (so far as I know) weren't using exotic gases to go deeper.  Divers sometimes exceeded the limits, I hear, but not often and not by much.  I believe they did a pretty good search around the reef down to 100' in the first few expeditions, not to mention getting towed through the lagoon to give that a pretty thorough once over.

Quote
Also, has a side scan sonar been employed?

Yes and no.  They had a fish on Niku I or II, I believe.  But both the fish and the data got lost, the first on the reef and the second ... well, if we knew how it got lost, it wouldn't be lost, would it?   :-[

I believe that they did a new sonar search of the lagoon on Niku VI.

Quote
This tool could search vast areas in a short amount of time and pinpoint any locations worthy of deploying a ROV.  The problem with a visiual search by ROV is what you are actually doing is searching a mountain with a video camera, when a "radar" like tool might be more cost effective.

Niku VI had limited funding.  They went with remote cameras that they could afford and run from the Nai'a.  I think they saw enough to learn that a real reef search has got to go a lot deeper.  Niku VII is really just in the dream stage right now.  A lot depends on fundraising.
Thanks for the reply.  It is a tricky thing scanning a wall rather than a flat sea floor, and I can understand the challenge.  I am a Commercial  Mixed Gas/Saturation diver and just curious.  You can decompress in the water, but in my experience in those waters you often do it with company.....reef sharks are a curious lot.  If the profile at Niku is similar to typical coral reefs search by divers outside the reef wall is probably not of much value below 100ft anyway due to the steep slope.  Am watching and hoping for your success in the future.  If you ever need a volunteer grunt I'm there!!   ;D
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2010, 08:55:20 AM »

Thanks for the reply.  It is a tricky thing scanning a wall rather than a flat sea floor, and I can understand the challenge.  I am a Commercial  Mixed Gas/Saturation diver and just curious.  You can decompress in the water, but in my experience in those waters you often do it with company.....reef sharks are a curious lot.

So far as I know, the sharks have never bothered the divers (I'm going just from listening to them and reading what they've written).  But I'm sure they stay alert!

The decompression issue is just part of the safety margin chosen by TIGHAR.  Our divers MUST decompress in the water; they don't have an option if they get into trouble.  They have to be within reach of other divers and spare tanks, I imagine.

Quote
If the profile at Niku is similar to typical coral reefs search by divers outside the reef wall is probably not of much value below 100ft anyway due to the steep slope.

My impression is that most of the diving took place before TIGHAR recruited Howard Alldred, an accomplished diver and oceanographer who died tragically young (RIP).  I don't think TIGHAR knew how much it didn't know in the first few expeditions.  Even though Howard correctly predicted the existence of a "ledge" of sorts formed when the seas were lower, he didn't anticipate the slope of the seamount (or else I misinterpreted what I heard him saying--"strange things do happen").

Quote
Am watching and hoping for your success in the future.  If you ever need a volunteer grunt I'm there!!   ;D

Keep checking in over the next two years.  TIGHAR will probably ask for volunteers for Niku VII as it has for other expeditions.  Of course, I don't know how much diving there will be on the expedition.  The focus may be all on ROVs.
LTM,

           Marty
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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2010, 04:00:49 PM »

Sorry to butt into this thread but,

I have done a bit of wreck diving and hunting in my time in Uk waters, but I m not an expert.
In this case I would ( if it was me doing it ) use in the first instance a magnetometer.
They are relatively cheap, simple, sturdy and easy to use pieces of kit that are able to detect any largish magnetic bodies over quite a distance/depth.
We have used them in the English channel looking for wrecks simply dragging them at quite high speeds behind our RIB's ( zodiacs ).
They tend to have a rather crude resolution but to be quite honest, if you have a great depth and large area to cover do use one of these to find
possible targets before you put down an ROV. It will save no end of time and trouble, you will also be able to cover a much larger area.
Besides, if the Electra's Wasp engines are down there, then thats two 365Kg Iron lumps to sound off.

Sorry to interrupt, please ignore if someone has said this before.

Kind regards

Antonia
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Martin X. Moleski, SJ

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2010, 04:25:52 PM »

In this case I would (if it was me doing it) use in the first instance a magnetometer.

From notes on Niku III, charmingly entitled "Once for All," 1997:

"U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hydrologist Kenton Spading (TIGHAR #1382CE) led a team which operated a launch especially outfitted with remote-sensing technology with which to search the lagoon floor for large metal targets. An electromagnetic (EM) sensor and a Schonstedt Instruments underwater magnetometer were configured to detect the presence of both ferrous and non-ferrous objects, even if buried under silt and sand. In addition, a Scuba Team led by retired USAF Lt.Col. Van Hunn (TIGHAR #1459CE) performed a visual search of the designated search areas. While the lagoon search did not yield wreckage from the Earhart aircraft, only a small portion of the lagoon bottom could be covered in the limited time available."
LTM,

           Marty
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2010, 09:36:54 AM »

A thought or 2 for everyone to think about. I looked at the photos of the "runway" near the Norwich City. By the search plan, it was thought that the Electra came to rest about 400 meters north of the ship. I remember that Ric walked the reef to near this location, and found it fairly smooth, but with some crevasses; enough for a landing gear to get hung up. Looking at the Google Earth image, taken Feb. 22, 2007, it appears that the crevasse is right where Ric said it was, and corresponds with the Nessie image of the Bevington photo. I'm assuming the he was able to explore this area fairly well before the tides came in.
We also know that the ROV mapping in that area shows a steep dropoff to the bottom, whatever depth that is. We also know that on a previous expediition, a sonar fish was lost, somewhere near this area. I guess my point is, that Ric seems to have the location plotted pretty well. The wire that was found by the ROV----is it near the location that the sonar fish was lost, and was there any identifible parts of he ship down there? Second, we all think that the Electra cam apart as it went over the reef---except maybe one vertical stabilizer as shown on another photo of the shipwreck, 1939 I think. Engines, and props "might" have hung up on the slope, instead of going to the bottom. Over a period of time, the props decayed enough to allow the rest of the engine package to slide down the shope, but "may have" allowed part of the prop to stay imbedded in the slope. I dont know if the ROV was able to scan this part of the slope, and found anything-other than the wire.
Tom
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Dan Swift

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2010, 10:28:56 AM »

... Any Electra parts discovered in the ROV missions?

From preliminary Niku VI Report:
"In other words, we discovered that the prime search area begins where our capability to search ended.

"To search for the plane we’ll need to be able to work down to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). That’s still relatively shallow and well within the capabilities of available technology (the searches for the Electra in the area near Howland were conducted at depths five times greater) but to search where we need to search we’ll need a vessel with “dynamic positioning” – the ability to maintain a stationary position at sea within a tolerance of a few meters. That’s going to be expensive."

Get Bob Ballard involved.    


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« Last Edit: December 23, 2010, 10:35:36 AM by moleski »
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2010, 10:45:57 AM »

Bob Ballard, and Woods Hole are probably out of reach financially. But--Discovery did sponsor the Waitt expedition, and my personal opinion is that TIGHAR has alot more evidence than undertaking an underwater search off Howland in 12000 feet of water.
Sign on Discovery again----with submersibles---an we'll have the answers!
Tom
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Randy W Kerr

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2010, 11:36:12 AM »

This might be a wacko suggestion..but has anyone approached the US Navy with a proposal that this would make a good training exercise for their deep recovery assets?  I know that they have considerable technology stationed at Pearl Harbor, and they probably have a few ASRs at Guam as well.  Might be worth a shot as I know they train frequently all over the Pacific.  If they operated it as a training mission there would be no cost to TIGHAR.  Just a thought.
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Tom Swearengen

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Re: Niku VI Underwater Search
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2010, 01:15:01 PM »

Great idea--but I bet the red tape paper work would take years. But---It would solve some issues!!
Tom
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