Monday, November 26, 2007

I. Mobilization

The final and most elaborate search for Natalee Holloway has begun. This is likely the most complicated post-mortem search of its kind in history. This case has had many twists and turns during it's 2+ year history. This is one of the final chapters that will hopefully provide closure both to the Holloway family and to the watching world. I've described this search to reporters and friends as a search for a needle in a field of hay stacks while hovering hundreds of feet above the field. However, we have the best needle-detecting equipment and detectors on the planet. The attitude on board the boat is unanimous and unwavering. We know that if God wants her body found, the chances of success are perfect.
To put this all in perspective...
-We will be searching waters as deep as 6 times the height of the Statue of Liberty, or almost as high as the Empire State Building.
-The equipment is towed behind the boat near the seafloor almost 1-mile behind the boat, or over 16 football fields away.
-There are swift currents, rough seafloor topography, and unknown terrain.
-We are looking for a target the size of a shopping cart within the area of Manhattan.
The target is a ~1m x 1m fish/crab trap. A search of this size and complexity, utilizing some of the best equipment and personnel in the world would typically cost around $80K per day, or well over $1 Million. However, due to some deep-pocketed private benefactors and mass-charitable collaboration among multiple equipment lease and marine survey companies, this project is being conducted... without charge. Neither the US or Dutch government is paying for it. A lot must happen before the ocean search occurs.

The mobilization has gone smoothly so far. All equipment is on board the R/V Persistence. The equipment consists of the following:
-Side scan sonar (Edgetech FS4200)
-SeaEye ROV, or remotely operated vehicle
- Sonardyne USBL (Ultra-Short Base-Line) system providing acoustic tracking of the side scan sonar and ROV
-Navigation provided by WinFrog software
- The vessel positioning is provided by multiple Trimble GPS receivers giving us about 1m accuracy.
-Communications (Phone, data transmit, and Internet) are performed by an Agiosat Global Communications Marine Tracking System.

We will leave the dock at Midnight on 27-November, 2007 to perform a "wet-test" on all the gear. This test will take approximately 2 days, where we will calibrate and test all the equipment under real survey conditions. After all testing is complete, we will go back to the dock to drop off all survey personnel, and the R/V Persistence will begin its long journey to Aruba. The journey (approx. 1700 miles) will take around 10 days including fuel stops in Mexico and perhaps Grand Cayman.

The search vessel R/V Persistence - owned and operated by the Silvetti Group

EdgeTech 4200-FS digital Side Scan Sonar, sonar winch in the rear-center

Survey room: from left to right- Side Scan acquisition computer, ROV monitor and controls, navigation computer Survey room: ROV and Navigation stations Survey Room - Processing station , sonar processing and analysis

Key Personnel: Bios coming soon! Please check back soon.

Louis Schaefer Jr. - Project Lead and Key Contributor

Tim Miller - Project Management -Founder of Texas Equusearch

Tim Trahan - Underwater Expeditions - Project Management

John Silvetti - Project Lead and Key Contributor- Responsible for overall project planning and development. Owner of Marine Surveys, LLC . Providing the R/V Persistence for the search effort.

Marc Broussard - Project Manager

Kent Bourg- Party Chief

Kyle Kingman - Geophysical Engineer and Marine Geologist

Dr. Rob Floyd - Marine Geologist /Archaeologist

Anthony Fontenot - Acoustic Positioning Technician


Anonymous said...

What a great site, I shall check it frequently.

Anonymous said...

My prayer is that God will bless you and keep you safe as you search for our beautiful Natalee! I will check this site often! I believe in the power of prayer! Our God is so good! God bless all of you!

blah said...

Good Luck, besafe and bring our -America's- little sister home!

You are ALL hero's!!!

Anonymous said...

May the winds of mercy be with you. have a safe and successful journey. We are watching you from around the world.


Anonymous said...

God be with you all on your journey. The eyes of the world are on you, and our prayers are with you. I applaud each of you every mile of your long journey to bring Natalee home.It's long overdue.
And...Thank You!!
N. Jackson

Anonymous said...

God bless and be with all of you on this journey. God willing you will bring Natalee home. Thank you all for your compassion and generosity in this mission.

Argonaut said...

Certainly difficult, because of the small size of the target you are looking for. Is there any precedent regarding deep sea searches for targets of this size?

I'm interested in deep sea exploration.

I rememeber how difficult it was for the WHOI and IFREMER team to make the first contact with the remains of the Titanic on 1985. There is a fascinating narrative of those days in Ballard's book that I bet you've read.

Wish you all the best. Safe seas!

Kath said...

Good Luck and Godspeed to everyone. We are all watching you from around the world. I have 2 things to drop on you .... First, can you guys mark where you are on a map while enroute day by day? And the second thing is something Dave can vouch for, it is a Cryptic Message we got early on. It is as follows......
Find the Haystack. Find Santa Marta. Trace with your finger what the Antenna
has spoken about.
Haystack is hooiburge on aruba, and Santa Marta is in Venezuela. Just something to look for that may be helpful. Say Hello to Beth and Dave for Kathy,...God Bless

kat said...

Well I just wrote and dont know if it actually posted so in short I will say what a cryptic messenger said early on, and that is this....
Find the Haystack. Find Santa Marta. Trace with your finger what the Antenna
has spoken about. Haystack is hooiberge, and santa marta is a place in venezuela. Dave will remember this. Also, do you thin you can post where you are while you all are enroute, so that we can see? Say Hello to dave and Beth, tell them Kathy says hello.
We are all here waiting and praying.

Anonymous said...

keep praying! The power of prayer is amazing. You are all very special people. Even if you do not reach your goal, the Holloway family can certainly feel the love and caring of millions of people around the world.

Good luck with finding her. I sincerely want closure for her family. I think you guys offer the best chance.

We are all praying for you! I am keeping you and your crew in my prayers #1 to keep you all safe and #2 to find Natalee

carpe said...

Bring our babygirl home guys.God be with you all. THANK YOU

Anonymous said...

What a gift you are giving this family! Without your kindness and generosity, they would be in continued limbo. This is truly what is meant by giving back.

Thank you!

WorldJOURNIER said...

Prayers and heartfelt thank you's for each and every blessed crew team member on this mission for their safety, and success for finding Natalee Ann. :)

Prayers and heartfelt thank you's for all the blessed persons who have helped enable, organize, and contribute to this mission for finding Natalee Ann. :)

God Bless you all. :)

jules said...

Thank you for undertaking this recovery mission and for creating this blog... As much as I hate the reason I'll be reading here, it will confirm for me daily that there are angels on earth. One angel is now in heaven and nothing would make a more wonderful Christmas present -especially for Natalee's family and friends- then you bringing her home. Godspeed!!

Jo said...

This is a great thing, I am so proud there are those in this world that still know how to help others.

I hope Dave, Beth and Matt can have Nat home at last

Lynn A. said...

I wish you fair weather and calm seas. Thank you for doing this, This is a wonderful website. Lynn A.

texasmom said...

God bless all involved in this search for Natalee, my prayers are with you. The injustice to Natalee and her family has gone on far too long. I am so thankful for the sponsors of this mission I know God will bless them. I am also delighted about this informative site that we can all follow your progress through. I look forward to checking it often.

Lynn A. said...

Thanks again for this site. God Bless. Lynn A

Tinosa Diver said...

We are praying that your journey is safe and can bring closure to her family as well as justice to those involved. Godspeed.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you and I hope Natalee is found and brought home to her family at last. My prayers remain with Beth, Dave and families and with all the searchers.

amyg said...

My heart and prayers are with you all as you search Natalee. Maybe a Christmas miracle!

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