26-Jul-2006 -- As a Staff Member of an International Organization, having a Undersea Research Centre in Italy, I often have occasion to sail in the Mediterranean Sea.
I visited the Confluence Project Website for the first time on June this Year, and my first occasion to visit a Confluence was a Sea Trial in the Ligurian Sea, planned to be performed in the end of July 2006.
The Ship used for this campaign is a brand new Coastal Research Vessel, 35 m long, equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, positioning and propulsion systems, able to bring and maintain the ship in an assigned position within extremely high precision and stability (sub-meter in good weather conditions).
After a brief agreement with the Captain Andrea Iacono, the Chief Engineer Massimo Inversini and the Scientist in Charge of the Sea Trail Odile Gerard (with the Ship’s Crew in picture #8), we decided to reach the confluence 44°N 9°E during the trip from La Spezia to Imperia, on the 26th of July 2006.
We left La Spezia (Eastern Liguria) at about 0630GMT, reaching the confluence point at about 1045GMT. A brief setup of the Dynamic Positioning System (well shown in picture #6) allowed us to reach the point and keep the position. The accuracy of the Ship’s GPS, in RTK mode, shown in picture #7, was reported better than 0.2 m.
We took some pictures, looking around from the point. Despite the good weather conditions, and the good observation point (Ship’s bridge is about 10 m above sea level), no land was in our sight. Due to the large distance from the coast, it will take very special visibility conditions to allow this point to keep the status of primary confluence.
However, following your instructions, we decided to celebrate our successful visit of this Secondary Confluence, having lunch with the Ship positioned on the Point.
After having taken a last picture of the general area of the Confluence, at about 1200 GMT we left towards our destination port, Imperia (Western Liguria).