We are deep in the Southern Ocean nearly at the most remote place on the planet, we call this Point Nemo. The closest humans to us, are in fact, in the International Space Station, except, of course, those on the other race boats. They would be our first point of call in an emergency, should anything bad happen.
Land is almost 2,000 miles away in any direction and you soon realise Mother Nature is very much in charge. We have no land to interrupt the succession of low pressure systems that circulate round Antarctica, therefore they create momentum and build big sea states that make life very difficult for us. That is the beauty of the Southern Ocean, where we play with the Albatross.
Today we deployed a 'Drifter Buoy', all in the name of scientific research. These are supplied by NOAA, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. These pieces of tech weigh 20 Kgs and are a water-based satellite. They send real time live data back through an iridium connection for 400 days to scientists back in Miami, USA. The data they collect are sea temperature, ocean swell heights and currents. Understanding the oceans better allow forecasters to make more accurate weather forecasts, which helps; farmers, seafarers and everyone on a day to day basis. Large bodies of water are instrumental in creating weather. Predicting hurricanes, cyclones and tropical storms are tricky, but the data we can get from these drifter buoys in the remote locations that the Volvo Ocean Race reaches is essential in helping.
These machines are water activated and as such come wrapped in plastic on the boat. A necessary evil as the environment on board is very damp with the inside of the boat dripping with condensation. Even so, we remove the plastic and throw these huge pieces of tech into the ocean in the name of science. I struggle with it a little when our main concern is our ocean's health, but I do understand we are the best source of reaching these remote areas to gain more information.
So we are off to Cape Horn and we will have some strong winds along the way but I look forward to updating you from this iconic landmark which most of my crew will be passing for their first time. Keep following our progress… at the moment Brazil feels a long way away.
Dee and Team TTTOP