Saturday, January 28, 2023

Pilot chart of the North Atlantic Ocean (1899)

courtesy of NWcartographic
2002 version (January)
source : NGA
Pilot Charts depict averages in prevailing winds and currents, air and sea temperatures, wave heights, ice limits, visibility, barometric pressure, and weather conditions at different times of the year.
The information used to compile these averages was obtained from oceanographic and meteorologic observations over many decades during the late 18th and 19th centuries.
The Atlas of Pilot Charts set is comprised of five volumes, each covering a specific geographic region.
Each volume is an atlas of twelve pilot charts, each depicting the observed conditions for a particular month of any given year.
The charts are intended to aid the navigator in selecting the fastest and safest routes with regards to the expected weather and ocean conditions.
The charts are not intended to be used for navigation.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Sailor Isabelle Autissier: ‘The ocean is the axis around which my life has turned’

From FT by Victor Mallet (article)

The legendary yachtswoman on sailing the globe single-handed, near-death experiences in the Southern Ocean — and why our approach to the environment is all wrong

More than half a century ago on a winter’s day in the English Channel, a 10-year-old French girl stood half-frozen on the deck of a sailing boat, mesmerised by the sight of snow falling into the sea and dissolving in the waves off the coast of Jersey.
She had vowed that one day she would sail around the world alone and was braving the cold and the snow to prepare for the icy Southern Ocean.

That girl was Isabelle Autissier and she has more than fulfilled her wish, she tells me shortly after we have collided at the entrance to Les 4 Sergents, the restaurant she has chosen for our lunch, near her home in the Atlantic port of La Rochelle.
Her shock of curly hair and wry smile are instantly recognisable to those who follow sailing.
She has been around the world four times under sail, and in the course of becoming one of the best-known sportswomen in France — the nation most fanatical about single-handed sailing — she broke records, became the first woman to circumnavigate solo in a race and was twice rescued from the mountainous seas that encircle the South Pole.

Today she is a prominent novelist, broadcaster and environmentalist seeking to preserve the seas that enchanted her as a child.
And she still sails regularly in the remote polar regions.
“The ocean is the axis around which my life has turned since the beginning, since I’ve begun thinking about it, from a very young age.
Sailing is at the heart of it,” she says as we take our places under the restaurant’s elegant glass and metal canopy, manufactured at Gustave Eiffel’s workshop.
It covers what used to be a garden and is now the dining room.
(The four sergeants were Bonapartists guillotined in 1822, and legend has it that two of them briefly escaped from prison in the nearby Tour de la Lanterne and hid here.) The charts are wrong, so you end up in places where you have no idea where you’re going . . . It’s pretty exciting in terms of navigation — and it’s magnificent I am eager to ask Autissier not just about her sailing feats but also about her life as a writer — she has even done an opera libretto — and as a leader of the World Wide Fund for Nature who says our planet should be called the Sea, not the Earth.

But, as a timid sailor myself, I have to know about her experiences in the Southern Ocean: once she waited four days with her wrecked boat before being rescued by an Australian navy helicopter, and in another race she was lucky to be found and plucked to safety from her overturned yacht by fellow sailor Giovanni Soldini.
Back in 1997, Canadian skipper Gerry Roufs died in the Vendée Globe race when violent winds and waves overturned his boat and Autissier was unable to find him.
Autissier is phlegmatic about her shipwrecks and matter-of-fact about the possibility of dying.
“It’s true that I’ve twice found myself in these situations but these things can happen.
On the first occasion, I was dismasted, stopped at Kerguelen, built a jury-rig mast and set off again before being completely turned over by a huge wave.
“The boat was really destroyed, it ripped off the cabin top.
But on both occasions I felt more or less the same thing.
I didn’t panic — I am not saying that to . . .
it’s just that I was immediately pragmatic.
The first time my boat rolled over and came back I saw it was full of water.
I took a bucket and emptied it.
And then I started to think, what should I do? That was when I set off the distress beacon.
“I think I’m pretty optimistic.
The idea is to fix things.
If there is a problem to solve, you solve it.
And if you don’t, well, life ends some day.
Better later than sooner, but there you are . . . When you are sailing, you always think about what could happen in two hours, in six hours, in 24 hours.
And you think about Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
What do I do if this doesn’t work, or if that breaks?
You have a kind of mental machinery that prepares you.” 
That makes you a good skipper, I say, as we embark on our entrées — butternut velouté for Autissier and a delicate crabmeat starter with a hint of wasabi for me.
We are engrossed in our conversation, and she is as matter-of-fact about food as she is about sailing and death.
When I urge her to comment on her dish in keeping with the traditions of Lunch with the FT, she briskly describes the soup in one word as “delicious” but remarks that she once had a “blind meal” that proved how hard it is to tell the difference between carrots and potatoes when you cannot see what you are eating.
She has stronger opinions about the wine, immediately choosing a glass of Bourgueil red for herself and commenting on my choice of a white from the local Vendée region: “They’ve got a hell of a lot better — 15 years ago they were awful.” 
This lunch on a rainy winter’s day in La Rochelle has been many months in the making because Autissier always seems to be away sailing.

She has just returned from the Leeward Islands in French Polynesia but suggests it was too easy and comfortable to be the kind of “challenging” (she uses the English word) expedition she favours.
So where is she going next? 
Now 66, she has given up single-handed racing and prefers exploring “in absolute freedom” in the company of scientists (she initially studied crustaceans and first came to La Rochelle as a fisheries researcher), as well as artists and mountaineers who need a ride to difficult places without airports or roads.
“I do what I want, with whom I want, where I want,” she says.
Her own boat these days is not a lightweight racing machine but a robust aluminium yacht that does not depend on corporate sponsors and that she describes as an off-road “mountain bike of the sea”.
The boat is in Iceland and her next trip is to Greenland.
Why are we in this absolute denial about where we are and where we’re going? 

Autissier grew up in the Paris region and was introduced to sailing by her parents, who owned dinghies and then a keelboat that her father shared with 16 partners to reduce the cost and keep the boat sailing through the year — not just for the typical two weeks in the summer.
“They were écolos [greens] before their time,” she says with a grin.
“When I was little, I got tired of dolls pretty quickly.
Tool boxes, on the other hand, I adored.” In her early twenties, she made her own yacht in the old warehouse area of La Rochelle after buying a steel hull “like a rusty bathtub”.
She quit her job, set off to Africa and Brazil with friends and insisted on returning single-handed across the Atlantic from the Caribbean.
She was hooked.

That all makes sense to an amateur who sails for pleasure, but why the urge to go to the extreme and frigid latitudes near the poles?
First, she explains patiently to someone who has never seen an iceberg, it is the breathtaking landfalls, and the angle and unpolluted clarity of the polar light.
Then there’s the ice and unspoilt beauty of the landscape, and the lack of fear among the wild animals that elsewhere flee at the sight of humans.
Finally, for a woman whose achievements include smashing the speed record for the 19th-century gold rush sailing route from New York around Cape Horn to San Francisco, there is that matter of the challenge: 
“It’s more fun.The charts are wrong, so you end up in places where you have no idea where you’re going . . . It’s pretty exciting in terms of navigation — and it’s magnificent.”
I am thinking that it also sounds cold and frightening, but having read several of her books in recent weeks to prepare for our lunch, I turn to her second career as a successful novelist and suggest that her strong, solitary female characters are in her own image: the young eco-activist Léa, for example, in Le Naufrage de Venise (“The Sinking of Venice”, a futuristic tale published last year about a climate-related disaster), or Louise, one half of the sailing couple stranded on an abandoned whaling island in Soudain, Seuls (“Suddenly Alone”), her most successful novel so far.
It makes me sad to say that we have to suffer in order to stop being idiots 
“People have told me I write feminist novels.
Well, that’s great but I didn’t ...” 
She pauses and I suggest she did not do it deliberately.
“No,” she agrees.
“What I did do somewhat deliberately in Soudain, Seuls, for example, was to try not to fall into the cliché where it’s the man who braves the elements and solves the problems and everything.
“From a novelistic point of view it was more interesting that it should be this apparently physically frail young woman . . . And also, why not? When you look at women in the world, many of them have extraordinary courage and tenacity, and it’s often those with the least resources who end up alone with a child and no money.
It’s not genetic in my opinion, it’s cultural.
Women tend to end up in more difficult and demanding situations than men.” She has no children herself, but enjoys her six nieces and nephews and was partner for a time of a man who had two children.

She has no regrets now that she spent her childbearing years sailing around the world.
“I have friends who were very attracted by motherhood, who want that experience of being pregnant, but it didn’t really grab me.” As for Soudain, Seuls, a modern Robinson Crusoe story with a woman protagonist, it has been or is being translated into 10 languages and will come out soon as a film.
And she likes to try new things.
The other day, I saw her on stage at a small Paris theatre telling tales of the sea.
And she wrote a “slightly wacky” climate-themed opera called Homo Loquax with her musical partner Pascal Ducourtioux, performed by Radio France and in provincial theatres, in which the words used by people over the centuries are released from the melting ice caps and fly back to be heard in the places where they were first spoken.
Ours turns out to be a typically French two-hour lunch, but we are making quick work of our main courses — a vegetarian platter with risotto for her and a rather chewy baked monkfish for me (I should have remembered that is the nature of the lotte) — and I want to ask about her life as an environmentalist before we get to the coffee.

For obvious reasons, sailors often turn to green causes — think of the UK’s Ellen MacArthur and her campaigns against plastic waste — and I worried when I started reading Le Naufrage de Venise that it would be a kind of angry environmentalist tract thinly disguised as fiction.
Instead, while the climate message is unmistakable, I found it well plotted and the characters engaging.
After surviving the Venice disaster, the feisty and solitary Léa remains estranged from her mercenary politician father and faces an uncertain future on the mainland.
“She’ll become a climate activist and perhaps you’ll see her chucking pots of mayonnaise at famous paintings,” Autissier says with a laugh.
Like me, Autissier is baffled that global warming — for which she sees the evidence in the melting ice of the Arctic and the Antarctic — has become a divisive political issue, a phenomenon that climate-change deniers see as a matter of faith rather than simply a reality we need to address.
Why, she wonders, did it take the Ukraine war to persuade Europeans to save energy and invest more in renewable energy? “It makes me sad to say that we have to suffer in order to stop being idiots.
I would prefer that we be idiotic for as short a time as possible.
The idea of sustainable development as a kind of equal interaction between economics, society and the environment is all wrong “On Venice [and sea-level rise], one of the questions I asked myself was about denial.
Why are we in this absolute denial about where we are and where we’re going? It’s not as if we don’t have the facts.
The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has been telling us everything for 40 years . . . It’s incredibly clear.” 
She adds that the idea of sustainable development as a kind of equal interaction between economics, society and the environment is all wrong, because the reality is more like a multi-tiered wedding cake with the planet and its physical functioning at the base and everything else on top.
If you destroy the environment, the rest, including human society, collapses.
Talk of Ukraine leads to a discussion of cold childhood homes and how much more economical our prewar parents’ generation were than their children and grandchildren — and to dessert.

She picks the lime pudding, while the three homemade sorbets I choose — fig, red fruits and pear — were by a long way my best course and come close to the perfection of Vivoli’s gelato in Florence.
Over coffee I realise that instead of arguing, we seem to agree on just about everything — the joy of night sailing and looking at the stars, a preference for paper over electronic nautical charts, the folly of Brexit, the failure of France’s Emmanuel Macron to go down in history as an environmental president even though he makes a lot of speeches — so I bring her back to the question of the oceans and the planet and what any of us can actually do to save them.
“There is a lack of scientific culture, and a lack of contact with nature.

When you are in the natural world you can say what you like but nature has the last word: if it’s cold, it’s cold, and if it’s hot it’s hot, whether it suits you or not.
So people take refuge a lot in the virtual world, live virtual lives.
All that means a lack of understanding, a lack of rigour, and we get emotion and all kinds of nonsense instead, to the extent that people think the opinion of a physics professor with 30 years of research is no more valid than that of my neighbour who walks outside and says it’s cold today so there can’t be any global warming.” As a scientist by training, she chose WWF, where she was president in France and is now honorary president, as the vehicle for her environmental work because of its focus on science.
“I try to be active. Being optimistic or pessimistic doesn’t help anyone — that’s my pragmatic side — so I do things instead.

And that is important to me because it helps escape the distress.
It’s terrible to see the world collapsing around us or, when I’ve got nephews and nieces — I’m even a great-aunt now — to think about this bad news all the time.”
How long can she go on sailing and campaigning? 
“I’m 66, so it’s still fine, although of course like everyone there will come a day when I can’t any more.
I reckon I’ve got at least 10 more years, and after that, we’ll see.” 
With that, we say our farewells and she rides off on her bicycle to prepare for the next adventure.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Tonga eruption is still revealing new volcanic dangers

NASA / Science photo Library

From Wired by Gregory Barber

One year later, researchers are still marveling at the power of the Hunga Tonga explosion—and wondering how to monitor hundreds of other undersea volcanoes.

Last year, Larry Paxton was looking at the edge of space when he saw something he shouldn’t.
A physicist at Johns Hopkins University, Paxton uses satellite-based instruments that look down on the region of space just above the atmosphere.
They see in spectrums of light that we can’t, like the far ultraviolet, monitoring for things like odd space weather.
But in late January, his team observed something unusual on a scan: Part of the map had gone dark.
The rays of far UV light were being absorbed by molecules of some sort, resulting in a dim splotch roughly the size of Montana.

The source soon became clear: the Hunga Tonga volcano, which had just erupted in the South Pacific.
Those molecules—enough water, Paxton’s team later determined, to fill 100 Olympic swimming pools—had been jettisoned skyward faster than the speed of sound by an explosion unlike anything previously recorded on Earth.
“This is an enormous amount of water to get injected that high,” says Paxton, who presented his research a few weeks ago at the American Geophysical Union.
“It’s an extraordinary thing.”

One year later, scientists studying virtually every facet of the Earth, from the mantle to the oceans to the ionosphere, have had a moment similar to Paxton’s, stunned by some superlative discovery generated by the Hunga eruption.
In recent months, scientists have observed new vibrational waves that ricocheted around the globe, triggering tsunamis in distant ocean basins, and seen the highest concentration of lightning ever recorded.
The newly cosmic water molecules represented the very top of an enormous plume that filled the upper atmosphere with enough water to trap heat underneath, likely warming the Earth slightly for the next few years, according to Holger Vömel, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The January 15, 2022 explosion was obviously strange.
But now researchers are asking: Just how singular was it? The answer has implications for the hundreds of underwater volcanoes dotting the Earth’s oceans.
“The Hunga eruption highlights a new type of volcano, and new types of underwater threats,” says Shane Cronin, a volcanologist at the University of Auckland.
And yet only a handful of underwater volcanoes have been the site of extensive research.
Those include the Axial seamount, which lies a few hundred miles off the coast of Oregon and has been studied since the 1970s, and the long-active Kick ’em Jenny near the Caribbean nation of Grenada.
Both receive regular visits from research cruises and are covered with sensors that monitor for rumbles.

But many more are found in remote arcs of the Pacific, far from big cities or ports where research vessels make harbor.
Their closest neighbors are small island nations, like Tonga, that don’t have dedicated volcano-monitoring programs or much capacity to install seismic monitors.
That’s in part due to geographical problems.
Tonga, for example, is a line of islands, which isn’t great for triangulating the sources of seismic waves—and staffing and funds can be scarce in countries where the population is similar in size to a large US town.
There are international options, like the US Geological Survey’s Seismic Monitoring Network, that offer global coverage for unusual geologic activity, but the stations are generally too few and far between to pick up the softer rumbles foretelling a coming undersea eruption, says Jake Lowenstern, director of the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program at USGS.

Most of those eruptions have no chance of matching the explosiveness of Hunga Tonga.
But the event awakened the world to the possibile activity of these volcanoes, says Sharon Walker, an oceanographer at the Pacific Marine Environment Laboratory.
“While events like this don’t happen very often, my feeling is that we do not want them to happen on our watch,” she says.

It’s clear that Hunga involved an unusually explosive recipe that may not be easily replicated.
For about a month, the eruption had progressed as expected—moderately violent, with gas and ash, but manageable.
Then everything went sideways.
That appears to be the result of at least two factors, Cronin says.
One was the mixing of sources of magma with slightly different chemical compositions down below.
As these interacted, they produced gasses, expanding the volume of the magma within the confines of the rock.
Under tremendous pressure, the rocks above began to crack, allowing the cold seawater to seep in.
“The seawater added the extra spice, if you like,” Cronin says.
A massive explosion ensued—two of them actually—which blew trillions of tons of material straight out through the top of the caldera, some of it apparently all the way to space.

Both of those explosions produced big tsunamis.
But the biggest wave came later—potentially caused, Cronin thinks, by water flooding into the kilometer-deep hole suddenly dug out of the seafloor.
“That’s something really new for us,” he says—a new type of threat to consider elsewhere.
Previously, scientists thought that this kind of volcano could only really produce a big tsunami if a side of a caldera collapsed.
The bottom line, he says, is that submarine volcanoes are more diverse, and in some cases more capable of extreme behavior, than anyone thought.

But the process of piecing the eruption together has also highlighted the challenges of studying submarine volcanoes.
A typical mapping expedition will involve a large, fully crewed research vessel, equipped with multibeam sonar that maps the seafloor for changes and a battery of water sampling instruments that search for chemical signs of ongoing activity.
But taking a boat over a potentially active caldera is risky—not so much because the volcano might blow, but because the gas bubbles burbling up might cause a ship to sink.
In Tonga, researchers solved that problem with smaller ships and an autonomous vessel.

Even Tonga, which has been visited four times in the past year due to an influx of research funding to groups studying the eruption, isn’t likely to get another big crewed mission in the next few years, Cronin says.
The cost is just so high.
It would likely take decades to survey every volcano in detail, even just those in the Tongan arc.
This is a shame, Walker says, because those kinds of expeditions are one of the few ways scientists get close enough to actually see how volcanoes are behaving.
An ideal scenario would involve more funding for those missions, as well as investment in improving new technology, like the autonomous vessels, which can be tricky to operate in the treacherous open ocean.

Without them, scientists are stuck watching from a distance.
This is hard to do when you’re trying to observe underwater events—but not impossible.
Satellite technology can spot objects known as pumice rafts—sheets of buoyant volcanic rock that bob on the water’s surface—as well as algal blooms, which are nurtured by the minerals released by volcanoes.
And the USGS, as well as counterparts in Australia, are in the process of installing a network of sensors around Tonga that can better detect volcanic activity, combining seismic stations with sound sensors and webcams that watch for active explosions.
Ensuring it stays up and running will be a challenge, Lowenstern says—a matter of keeping the systems connected to data and to power sources and ensuring Tonga can staff the facilities.
He adds that Tonga is just one of many Pacific nations that could use the help.
But it’s a start.

One of the benefits of studying the Hunga volcano so closely is that researchers have now identified new volcanic features to watch out for.
Over the next few years, Cronin foresees a process of identifying which volcanoes require more attention.
On their final Hunga voyage of 2022, Cronin’s team made use of the time on the ship to visit two other submarine volcanoes in the area, including one about 100 miles north with a mesa-like topography that resembles Hunga before its eruption.
The maps will be a baseline for future surveys that manage to get out on the water, a way for researchers to figure out how much action is happening underneath sea and rock.
So far, Cronin reports, the ocean is quiet.

Links :

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Yesterday and Tomorrow islands (Dioméde islands)

June 2, 2017

June 1, 2017

From NASA by Kathryn Hansen
Today’s caption is the answer to our January 2018 puzzler.

Here’s a bit of trivia to challenge your geography knowledge: 
Which country is closest to the continental United States without sharing a land border?

The answer is revealed in the top image, which shows the eastern part of Russia and western part of the United States.
This image was acquired on June 2, 2017, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite.
At the narrowest part of the Bering Strait, about 82 kilometers (51 miles) is all that separates Cape Dezhnev on the Chukotka Peninsula and Cape Prince of Wales on mainland Alaska.
But Russia’s Big Diomede Island is even closer to mainland Alaska, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away, making it the closest non-border-sharing country to the continental U.S.
Diomede islands with NGA nautical raster charts in the GeoGarage platform

Diomede islands with NOAA nautical raster charts in the GeoGarage platform
The distance between the two countries is actually much smaller.

Just 3.8 kilometers (2.4 miles) separate Big Diomede Island (Russia) and Little Diomede Island (U.S.).
The island pair is visible in the detailed image, acquired on June 6, 2017, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
Summer temperatures on the islands average about 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wintertime is even colder, averaging between 6 and 10°F.
Each year, Arctic sea ice extends southward into the strait from the Bering and Chukchi seas.
By June, however, melting usually causes the ice edge to retreat northward, leaving open water that appears black in these images.

The water between the two islands is bisected by the maritime border of the two countries.
The passage was historically nicknamed the “ice curtain,” which had more to do with Cold War tensions than climate.
Today, Little Diomede has a small permanent community—about 115 people according to the 2010 U.S. census.
The town is located on a small beach on the island’s western side, meaning that Russia’s Big Diomede and even the mainland are visible from the homes.
RU4OH1S0 ENC Bering Sea- Bering Strait - Diomede Islands - Approaches to Ratmanov Island (1:22,000)
US5AK8DM Little Diomede Island

Another invisible line runs between the islands and inspired the nicknames “Yesterday” and “Tomorrow” islands.
Big Diomede and Little Diomede sit on opposite sides of the International Date Line.
International border and date line
 Big Diomede is almost a day ahead of Little Diomede, but not completely; due to locally defined time zones, Big Diomede is only 21 hours ahead of Little Diomede (20 in summer). 
Diomede Islands: Little Diomede Island or Kruzenstern Island (left) and Big Diomede Island or Ratmanov Island in the Bering Sea. Photo is from the north.
photo : Dave Cohoe

As Earth Observatory reader Jim Andersen commented on our blog: “When you look at the Big Diomede Island, you’re looking into the future!”

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey and VIIRS data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.

Links :

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

After 20 years of service, AIS is about to get a big upgrade

Unlike AIS, VDES has integrated satellite connectivity for effectively unlimited range (Saab)

The Automated Identification System (AIS) has served the maritime industry for more than 20 years, and it has revolutionized the way that mariners, regulators and industry stakeholders do business.
AIS makes it easy for watchstanders to identify a target and make passing arrangements, and it gives Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) operators the transparency they need to ensure safety on busy waterways.
Thanks to satellite- and shore-based AIS reception, commodity traders and researchers can study marine traffic patterns for insight into the movements of global commerce.

AIS traffic around Shanghaï (23/01/2023)
However, the industry has gotten bigger and busier over the past two decades, and it's time for an update.
In some coastal areas - the Singapore Strait, China's megaports, parts of Japan - there are so many vessels that the performance of AIS has been affected.
As traffic density goes up, the system's range goes down, and the frequency of updates becomes more random.
This has the biggest impact on shoreside observers like VTS operators, according to engineers for leading VDES system developer Saab TransponderTech.

The fix is to update classic AIS with a new digital system, something more robust and capable of handling more bandwidth.
After years of consultation, maritime technology experts and regulators have come up with a solution: VDES (VHF Data Exchange System), a new system which will give operators higher security and reliability.

VDES will operate on additional new frequencies and will use them more efficiently, enabling 32 times as much bandwidth for secure communications and e-navigation.
It will be able to handle higher traffic density and more frequent vessel movement updates, and it is designed to meet the needs of maritime users for the next 20 years.

It also has new features which AIS lacks.
When two ships get close to each other, they will automatically exchange data on their future routes, not just their current positions.
This will increase situational awareness and reduce ambiguity in traffic situations.
Shoreside authorities can use the same data-transfer capabilities to broadcast digital updates, like safety-related text messages and boundary lines for cautionary areas.

VDES is also purpose-built for communication with low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations, ensuring genuine over-the-horizon connectivity from the start.
Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) operators will be among the biggest beneficiaries, as satellite functionality will extend the range of reception and enable supervision over a larger area.

Cybersecurity is also enhanced thanks to VDES' ability to send encrypted positions, reducing the chance of spoofing.
Onboard position tampering to disguise the ship's movements - a common technique used by vessel operators for sanctions violations, illegal fishing and smuggling - can be detected and thwarted.

Now the next generation of AIS is taking form with VHF Data Exchange System (VDES).
Saab is active in the process of development of the new standard.
VDES greatly enhances the capabilities of AIS, with substantially increased capacity and bandwidth, as well as improved integrity and cyber security.
Saab has developed a lineup of dual function AIS and VDES transponders to equip vessels with the next decade's technology, while keeping compatibility with current-generation AIS.
Its R6 Supreme AIS/VDES satellite transponder is already in use with Danish company Sternula, which provides satellite connectivity for VDES and will be trialing the technology with select partners beginning in April.
The Saab R60 base station, intended for stationary VTS applications, exceeds AIS transceiver specifications for sensitivity and can interface directly with Saab's maritime traffic control software platform.

Links :

Monday, January 23, 2023

Spain (IHM) layer update in the GeoGarage platform

101 rasterised ENC nautical charts updated
Las Palmas ENC in the GeoGarage platform
 Paper map (raster)
El #InstitutoHidrográficoDeLaMarina publica la V edición de la carta 6100 Puerto de LasPalmas, que incluye información de los nuevos canales de acceso y fondeaderos establecidos, así como el nuevo código de los colores de las luces.  
Velamos por la seguridad en la navegación 

Orient Express reveals plans to launch "world's largest sailing ship"

From Dezeen by Tom Ravenscroft

Hotel company Accor has unveiled the 220-meter-long Orient Express Silenseas sailing yacht, which will be designed by architect Maxime d'Angeac and studio Stirling Design International.

Set to be the "world's largest sailing ship", the Orient Express Silenseas will set sail in 2026 as the latest addition to the historic train line's brand.

Designed to be a continuation of the luxury Orient Express trains, the 220-metre-long ship will feature 54 passenger suites that will all be around 70 square metres, along with a large 1,415-square-metre presidential suite.

Facilities will include two swimming pools, a spa, two restaurants and a speakeasy bar.
Orient Express is launching the "world's largest sailing ship"

Built by shipbuilder Chantiers de l'Atlantique, the ship will be propelled by three rigid sails with a surface area of 1,500 metres each, which will power the ship during calm weather.
The sails will be supplemented with an engine powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

According to Accor the ship, which will be designed by Stirling Design Internationalwith interiors by D'Angeac, aims to replicate the splendour and comfort of the original Orient Express trains that ran across Europe from 1883 until to 2009.

"The interior design embodies a perfect balance between the past and the future, it is a tribute to the golden age of the French Riviera, with very futuristic lines and great technological innovation," D'Angeac told Dezeen.
"It perfectly embodies the Orient Express brand which with its 140 years of history has always been avant-garde."

The ship marks the latest launch under the Orient Express brand, which was acquired by hotel company Accor in 2017.
According to the brand, the first Orient Express trains in the 19th century were informed by ocean liners of the age, and the ship marks a return to these roots.

"With Orient Express Silenseas, we are beginning a new chapter in our history, taking the experience and excellence of luxury travel and transposing it onto the world’s most beautiful seas," said Accor chairman Sébastien Bazin.

"This exceptional sailing yacht, with roots in Orient Express' history, will offer unparalleled service and refined design spaces, reminiscent of the golden age of mythical cruises."

Along with Orient Express-branded hotels, the Accor group intends on relaunching a redesigned train that will run from Paris to Istanbul and will also have interiors designed by D'Angeac.

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Japan divers capture rare footage of live giant squid

Rare video captured by divers shows a 2.5-metre giant squid swimming in the waters off Japan's west coast.
Giant squid are known to live in the waters around the country and occasionally wash ashore, but seeing them alive in the wild remains relatively rare.
A couple came face-to-face with a rare giant squid while diving in Japan.
Diving instructor Yosuke Tanaka, 41, and his wife Miki, 34, were on a day trip when locals at a fishing shop told them about sightings of the elusive 8.2ft-long beast lurking off the coast of Toyooka City in Hyogo Prefecture.
The pair went with local instructors and were amazed when the massive marine creature emerged after just 30 minutes on January 6.
Marine experts say it is rare for such large squids to appear close to the shore.
But footage from Yosuke's underwater camera shows how the pink squid flapping as it floats through the ocean, oblivious to the nearby scuba divers.
Miki said: 'We swam together and took pictures. I was so happy that the squid was within my reach but its eyes were so big. It was so big that I started to feel scared.'
An honorary researcher at the National Museum of Nature and Science Tsunemi Kubodera said that it is rare for a giant squid from the deep sea to be swimming along the coast.
The squid is also believed to be between one and two years old.
The researcher said that it is a medium-sized mature squid.