Friday, January 18, 2008

XIII. Stay the Course

Wed 23-Jan 1415hrs
The Persistence left the dock at 0700 hrs headed for the survey area. The winch is fixed, skies are clear, and the seas are calmer. The new crew are settled in and getting used the work flow.
More later

Tues 22-Jan 0915 hrs
The Persistence left the dock this morning at 0600 hrs, heading out to deep water. Last night, four replacement survey team members flew in to join the Persistence to relieve crew who has been here since the beginning, over a month ago. Although the new crew brings new energy, losing the battle-proven seasoned crew is bittersweet. Words fail to describe the level of trust and bond between the crew. Despite being in close quarters together since 15-Dec, missing holidays with loved ones, birthdays, anniversaries, rough seas, and many intense situations, NEVER was there a moment of bad tension between any of the crew. I trust the new crew will quickly bond and become seasoned to the terrain and conditions- both above and below the waves.
Happy Birthday sis - You're loved and missed.

Sun 20-Jan 2055 hrs- seas 8-10ft, wind E 30-35kts, continuing dead-heading sonar lines in 800-1100+ft of water.

20-Jan 1515hrs
The Persistence arrived dockside around 4am this morning after a rough night. 1415hrs - The Persistence pulls away from the dock to return to the deep water survey area.

A fundamental principle of Murphy’s Law states that if it can go wrong it will go wrong. When it fails, it will do so at the worst possible moment. This is not a result of chance or bad luck, rather the collision of engineering limitations with physics.
Increasing the water depth increases the length of cable paid out which in turn increases the strain on the winch due to the armored cable weight and drag. With roughly 0.5lb/ft of cable x 4000 ft of cable deployed = about 1 ton of cable dead weight on the winch. Increasing the speed either by towing faster or by adding swift ocean currents vectored in the opposite direction increases drag and therefore adds more strain on the winch. Large sea swells (10ft+) heaves and pitches the boat which pulls and drops the towfish significantly. Particularly large swells can shock-load the winch. This means there is a sudden added force which is unevenly applied to the winch.
Last night’s situation:
2355 hrs: The towfish is near the sea floor with 3500ft of cable out in about 900ft of water. A large submarine hill is rapidly approaching so we began spooling in cable as fast as the winch allows. Combined with the drag-strain of the cable, current speed, and large swells, the winch reached its engineered limits and failed at the worst possible moment. Unable to retrieve cable, the towfish was about to catastrophically collide with the seafloor. The only option was to significantly increase speed and immediately turn towards deeper water. The quick decision paid off as the towfish skimmed over the hill-face. Having narrowly escaped the immediate danger, the Persistence stayed in the deepest water possible while making gentle turns as the team fixed the broken winch. Just after midnight with 12-14ft swells amidst the emergency and with waves washing over the back deck, the crew feverishly repaired the winch. The stellar teamwork, excellent situational awareness, and quick thinking combined to successfully avoid disaster. Once the towfish was safe on the back deck of the Persistence we headed for the dock, wet, tired, and relieved.

Sat 19-Jan 1915 hrs

The Persistence left the dock at 1530 hrs heading back towards the deepest portion of the survey area. The weather has been continually rough and does not look like it will let up this evening or through tonight. Fortunately, we took on fresh water this morning which acts like additional ballast for the boat, reducing some of the roll. While in about 750-800ft of water we came across another unknown wreck. This wreck (perhaps an old schooner) is about 50-55ft long.
1915 hrs - seas building 10-14ft, wind 30+kts.

Unknown wreck approx. 55ft long schooner

Sunset 19-Jan

Rough seas 10-14ft seas 1830 hrs, Sat 19-Jan

Moments later - 1831 hrs, bow is buried beneath a 14ft swell

Fri 18-Jan 2335 hrs
We would like to specifically address one comment left on the blog which likely represents the sentiments of many.
You guys have been out there for quite a long time now... I was really hoping for results by now. I can't help but begin to think she won't be found” -Overwhelming_Sadness

Quoting John Silvetti- Fri 18-Jan 2300 hrs
“It is easy to lose heart if one confuses expectations with hopes and desires. The nature of a marine search, especially one in which the method and disposition of the item you are searching for is unknown, requires a painstakingly slow and methodical disqualification process. The logic is no different than trying to find your car keys. The methodology is: you look where you were recently. We look where it is believed to be, based on evidence or reports. When you and I do not locate what we are looking for in the most logical place, we move on to the next logical place. Ultimately, we both confirm the old saying, “It is always in the last place you look”.
Unknown topography and terrain, combined with large seas have slowed us down but it has not stopped us. We have surveyed and investigated a large area, disqualified most of it, and moved on to an even larger area. At times our progress has been exceedingly fast and slow at other times. We do however, “STAY THE COURSE”....PERSISTENCE.

Our hopes and desires also were to find Natalee before Christmas so we could help bring closure to the Holloway family as our gift to them. Then, we could return home to our families to enjoy the holiday season and hug our children a little tighter... but, it was not meant to be that easy...and we understand.
–John Silvetti.”


Anonymous said...

Slow and steady wins the race! Keep up the great work! You are definately a special group of people. God bless you and your families who are sacrificing so much right now. You are in my prayers as well as the Holloway/Tweety family.
Thanks for the continual updates.

Painter said...

Thank you for your patience! I fully expected that the search would be considerably longer than originally anticipated.

I am a retired swimmer (6 hours a day, face in the water, chasing walls and following lines). Patience is my middle name!

Americans are behind you 100% and we patiently wait as you conduct your search for Natalee.

There are two types of painters.... Those who like to "cut-in" and those who enjoy "rolling." I bet most of Persistence is made of painters who "cut-in."

Our impatient reader is probably a "roller."

Persistent patience! Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

May God bless you all!

Anonymous said...

May God bless you all! Keep the faith!

Sue said...

I know how this person feels, as I have had this overwhelming feeling come over me also.. But I pray daily I have even begged god to give Natalee back.. I pray for the crew and their safety and there isnt a day that goes by that I dont
pray for Dave and Beth..
God Bless you all for everything you are doing


Anonymous said...

God bless you and keep you safe. We are behind you every step of the way as we keep the faith that Natalee will be found and brought home.

God protect you on your journey and please, don't take risks. Come in when it gets too rough. We want you to stay safe.

Anonymous said...

It is the hardest place to be in the "stills"....still looking, still waiting, still hoping. Out of context, but true enough, "Be still and know that I am God" We are still with you, son.

Anonymous said...

keep up the great work, Kyle!

Anonymous said...

God bless you all!!! May angels guide you and may the Lord keep you safe. You all are wonderful people and my prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

Patience is a virtue - I could only imagine how hard it has to be being away from your family and friends - This case sure has taught me many lessons and consideration for those who take the extra effort to bring members back to there loved ones. I treasure each and every moment with my ten year old and I am very sure it's been very difficult to withstand the thought of being away from your children. I know that when you do find Natalee it will be one of the most treasurable moments in each of your lives. Taking the time to search for her (know matter how long it takes) there are so many people who have become to love and care for you guys so much. I want to thank each and every one of you for everything you have done - and though I bare the thought of Natalee not being found, you have tried so hard and continued day after day to succeed - one can only do so much and you have gone above and beyond. Thank you so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with the crew and cherish each and every moment you spend searching for Natalee. Keep strong and remember each day is a new day and you all have a special places in our hearts. Thank you for your updates and god bless - WE love you guys... April.

Anonymous said...

Been checking the blog daily since sea trials. Been tuned into "Missing in Aruba" since June '05. I am a fisherman and mariner for 20+ years. Understand and connect to the conditions you are working in. Appreciate all of the effort, determination and hard work put forth. The boat is a true testament to it's name and the Persistence is an inspiration to me. If the search needs to come to a close [at some point] - Then that's one more area of Aruba we can rule out that she's not in! Ultimately the outcome for the Persistence is a success.
The personal jouney the crew goes through will stay with them a lifetime and Natalee will be in your hearts forever I'm sure.
This case has had over 2 1/2 years of overwhelming sadness - at times interupted with false hope.
Your efoorts are not in vain. I would like to thank Kyle for the blog as the tremendous insight given through this search has inspired me to head in the direction of this marine field of search and survey operations.
...And that's Natalee working through you guys and touching others...wherever she is - her spirit carries on...
Natalee has touched so many lives. Her sad dissaperance is overwhelming but the hope of finding her will never fade and the search will continue to carry on.

Anonymous said...

I believe you will come up with something from Natalee....Have you found anything that looked suspicious yet? Anything worth takeing a closer look at?

Anonymous said...

I too am responding to the comment left by the person who said "you have been out there for a long time , I fear that you will not find Natalee". I commend all of you, you spent Christmas and New Years on the Persistence, left your families behind in an effort to give the Holloway family final closure after 2 and a half years!!! I think this is tremendous and wish that others would realize just how huge the ocean really is - I cannot imagine sifting through the rubble in the deep seas looking for an object that really is small in comparison to the entire mass you are looking at. Your determination is something to truly be admired and my prayers have and will be with you.
New York

Anonymous said...

Thank you for addressing that comment. You are absolutely right in your explanation. You only have to see the dirt that Aruba is now putting out by the use of two crackpot mediums to strengthen your resolve that Aruba will not get away with what they have attempted to do to the Twitty and Holloway family.

I often wonder why these families have been asked to endure all they have (and I'm sure from time to time they wonder the same); but we all have to remember, God is at work and it is all in His time.

Thank you for being willing to be His tools.

Anonymous said...

I too log on to check up on our heroes each and every day. You are all in my thoughts constantly. Kyle you write with such beauty. I feel as if I am there with you all. I was brought to tears reading the blogs posted here from the many that have been so drawn to our sweet Natalee and how she was wronged. It is my greatest hope you will find her and bring her home for Beth and Dave. I also agree with the blogger that said all your love, hard work, and the things you have given up reference your own families is not in vain should you not find her. I send my thoughts and prayers to each and everyone of you to protect and guide you each step of the way.

God Bless You
Justice For Natalee and all that love her so much.

Anonymous said...

The PERSISTENCE and her crew are very much appreciated. Selfless is a word obviously you each know. Thank you for the time, determination and dedication given to search for Natalee and bring resolution to her family so that may have some type of closure. Most importantly thank you for the LOVE demonstrated each day you are away from your own families. Thank-you!

Anonymous said...

My hats off to the entire crew. God bless you all. Slow and steady.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the continued communication. Like others, I check this blog every day in hope of finding the best possible news. You, the crew, are a tremendous inspiration. Stay strong. God bless you. Please know that many, many, many strangers are praying for you and your mission.

Anonymous said...

From Meridian, MS:

I am truly in awe of you. Your determination and unwaivering strength is an inspiration to me. To have a glimpse into your world is an unexpected but appreciated blessing. You have touched so many lives with your kindness and bravery. God Bless and prayers for Natalee and her family.

lousw said...


A daughter brings sunshine to brighten your days
A daughter brings joy through her loving ways
A daughter is a blessing that comes from above
A special and beautiful treasure to love

This is what the Persistence is looking for - a treasure so very special - a treasure named Natalee, who is patiently waiting to be found and brought home.

Thank you all for your love and dedication. May God guide you in your efforts to locate that precious treasure.

Sharon/Tx said...

It would be so easy to quit - but you haven't! Your patience, kind heartedness and expertise are all so admirable. I am just so glad you find time to keep us updated when I know how busy you are. I pray God continues to guide you and keep you strong and that your families stay strong in their wait for this awesome crew to come home.

Anonymous said...

Couple of questions if you wouldn't mind addressing:

1. I know your experience tells you what my eyes can't see, but in the latest picture of the ocean floor that you posted, I see just disturbed sand. How do you know what it is?

2. How do you know if something (say a crab cage) else also came to rest within a wreckage?

3. How do severe storms over the last 2.5 years affect where the location of the crab cage might be? Can the location still be calculated?

sandy said...

To the Crew of the Persistance:

May God bless you and keep you as you allow Him to work through you. I continue to pray that His will be done and know that it will only be accomplished in His time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mr. Silvetti! You are a blessed gift! And along with you, Kyle, and Tim Miller, your photographer, and the entire Persistence crew...all of you are treasures … relics of the transformative life-giving power that lies within the human heart! I’d clone each and every one of you, if I could!

I am reminded by the beautiful message left here by “anonymous”: “Love has no price tag!” Deduction will always trump despair while the power of hope and love will always trump the viciousness of cruelty and depravity! The love of a parent for their child binds our hearts together, and connects us to Natalee and her beloved family.

There you stand in defiance to the cruelty of evil that stole this precious child from the earth, your presence – a daily reminder: The R/V Persistence – as with the dawn of each day, you return yet again, and carry out the mission of unimaginable sorrow, drawing strength from all that binds us together – our history, the waters that unite us, the common thread of our humanity that speaks to the yearning to come home, that speaks to the immeasurable kindness that your daily presence evokes, that captures the essence of what it means to be human, what it means to be a life-giving force in this world, the empathy you embolden us to carry for parents whose hearts ache with unimaginable sorrow.

Your presence resonates inside our souls, a living symbol of something rare and deeply treasured, something we can all remember from long, long ago, of that which once defined our humanity, that rasied us up above the beast – the Leviathans that roam the earth, of something that marked us as sacred and trustworthy, - that is echoed now in your blessed persistent presence on the water, the return you make each and every day to find Natalee, … that summons an awakening inside our hearts, it echoes inside the conscience of all humanity, and stirs within our collective spirit - a defiance to the caustic shallow brokenness of despair.

Dare to search under God’s wisdom and love, for the path that will open the floodgates of this wretched cruelty so that Natalee might finally be released and embraced by the bountiful love that awaits her return, that she may finally come home to all who love her and be laid to rest!

So much love surrounds this precious child, while the mighty R/V Persistence sails upon the water, with a spirited bunch aboard this vessel of hope, who search for the answers that the cruel and the depraved carry, yet there upon the sea are men whose valor summons miracles to occur, who chart the meaning of integrity, heroes exploring the depths of honor and courage to the human spirit, heroes whose minds and hearts listen for the voice of a young child, as gentle hearts beckon the waters that surround her to part, and allow her voice to finally be heard and speak.

The mighty symbol of honor and integrity rises up upon the sea: R/V Persistence!
A vessel of hope! A vessel of love! A vessel that defines integrity and justice and humbly beckons heroes to respond by journeying into the uncharted territory of the human spirit!

The miraculous potential of the human spirit is awakened, and summons a transformative power that finds expression through your collective will, etching hearts of persistent love into the sea, breaking the chains that bind this precious child, summoning the human spirit to a moral conscience and the immeasurable depths of greatness, hope and compassion that lie within the human heart!

(I know, Kyle! I'm in trouble! I broke the 10 line rule limit. I will stay away for another week!)


God bless all of you!!!


Anonymous said...

I wonder if you tire of hearing from us? I check this site 10x per day always hoping first that you are safe.

Today, I have a different train of thought. I am thinking about the good in people. You are all guys with big hearts and you are attempting to do something very difficult and very special. You are living your lives by example for your children. In a sense, you shaping the next generation and giving us hope for the future.

In contrast, I consider the position of Paulus Van der Sloot and the poor example he has set and continues to set for his sons. They have been raised to believe that underage drinking and gambling are A-okay. There has been zero effort on the part of these three boys, or their families, to offer any assistance with any of the searches. They are all leading by a very poor example and the results of their poor rearing is the very reason you are there searching for Natalee.

Just know that the good work you are doing is having a very positive impact on your children. It's the effor that counts!

Anonymous said...

I sit and ponder at my computer ever hopeful. Our heroes yet another day give themselves to the quest. No words can describe adequately how I feel about each and everyone on board the Persistence. Thank you for all you do. We have hope when all avenues thus far have upset us and despair sets in to find our lovely Natalee. She was goodness, one of our children. She deserves to be found and brought home to rest. As a mother, how it breaks my heart. I could never imagine such loss and sorrow.

Simply love you guys. God Bless each and everyone. Justice for Natalee and her wonderful family.

texasmom said...

Kyle and Persistence Crew,
Once again I thank you for your commitment to "Stay the Course".
You are and always will be heroes in my heart for your efforts to bring Natalee home. I pray daily for your safety and that your needs and the needs of your families are met during this time of great sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

And Stayed the course you have. I truly hope your crew can feel the love, prayers and best wishes coming your way.

Just remember, any publicity you get will cause Aruba to respond with another crackpot theory so until you have solid evidence, don't let them know.

Anonymous said...

The song "The Greatest Man I never Knew" by Reba is very fitting for you guys....To me you all are "The Greatest Men I Never Knew", I think Natalee would feel the same...God Bless

sirensong said...

I am comforted to realize, that each and every one of you,and your families, will have immeasurable blessings and rewards because you cared, and sought no reward, you just followed the love in your heart.

Anonymous said...

Each morning I wake up.
Before I put on my make-up.
I say a litle prayer for you.
Forever, and ever I will be inspired by the crew and the Persistence.
God bless the Persistence and her crew and keep you all safe.

Overwhelming_Sadness said...

**There are two types of painters.... Those who like to "cut-in" and those who enjoy "rolling." I bet most of Persistence is made of painters who "cut-in." Our impatient reader is probably a "roller."**

Painter, Why the need to throw an insult out at me for my comment? I wasn't insulting anyone or anything... Just made a comment about how I was feeling. Wow.

Painter said...

To Overwhelming_Saddness:

No offense re: the roller/cutting in comment. We are all on the same side. We want Persistence to succeed and bring Natalee home for a proper burial.

I think the Persistence crew benefits most when we mimick their patience and we support them. They need us to be "up" when they are feeling down.

Sharon/Tx said...

Welcome to the new crew members and I hope the ones they replaced are home safe with their families. Thank you for your "Persistence!" May every day be better than the one before!

Anonymous said...

I have followed this story from the beginning and read all the ups and downs. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I have been to Aruba, it is a beautifull place to visit and would like to return but not untill Natalee if found.
Persistence will Prevail

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