Silbo’s Atlantic Crossing

June 10, 2018

After a two and a half year hiatus, Silbo, the first glider of the Challenger Glider Mission is back in the water!

Deployed at noon on April 13 2016 right off of Cape Cod Massachusetts , the glider spent roughly a week flying a low angle thruster mission through the shallow waters of the Georges Basin along the shelf. Then Silbo made its way along the Fundian Valley before entering the deep water of the North Atlantic on the evening of April 26th.

Now off of the shelf and heading East, the team is discussing the end point for the mission. The overall goal is to complete another crossing of the North Atlantic, however where we want to set the finish line is still up in the air. In 2009 the Scarlet Knight, a 200m glider crossed from New Jersey to Northern Spain.

The potential plans as proposed by Ben Allsup (TWR) are as follows:

  • Scenario 1: Falmouth, United Kingdom – 4400km in deep water, 320km along the shelf. This scenario would be interesting as Silbo was deployed from the town of Falmouth Massachusetts and would be nice to connect the two cities.
  • Scenario 2: Galway , Ireland – 4300km deep water, 100 km on the shelf. This choice would include a partnership with our friends at the Marine Institute in Galway.
  • Scenario 3: Canaries – 4500km deep water, 10km on shelf. This brings Silbo back to where he made land fall in the summer of 2012 after deployment from Iceland and reunites him with Antonio at ULPGC and the friends at PLOCAN.
  • Scenario 4: West Coast of Norway – 5512km deep water, 80km shelf and shallow area around the Faroe Islands. This would be the most difficult path and is mot unlikely.
  • Scenario 5: Iceland – 4200km deep 85km along shelf. This route returns Silbo from his initial deployment location from June 2011, however the consensus seems to be that Iceland doesnt feel far enough across the ocean for it to be a full crossing.
  • Scenario 6: Mallorca – 5700km deep, 50km on shelf. This is the pie in the sky route which involves the very tricky passage through the Straight of Gibraltar.

For more information about the Challenger Glider Mission check out the Challenger Glider Mission Website