We've been lucky to visit this spot on the Spring 2011 and Fall 2013 voyages with Semester at Sea.
Before both visits to the 0,0 spot, we heard stories about a buoy anchored there. Both times upon arrival we didn't see a buoy. After each visit, we were shown photos allegedly taken from the ship of the elusive 0,0 buoy. Often the photos were accompanied by doubt-inducing commentary.
So as we approached 0,0 on this Fall 2018 voyage, we were excited to find this note on our cabin door:
"The Captain invites you to the bridge for the 0,0 crossing at 13:20. Deck 8 forward."
Believe me, we were on time for this appointment! Upon arrival Captain Kostas, binoculars-in-hand, tells us he's looking ahead to spot the buoy.
And in just a few minutes, we spot the buoy!
It's real! There's a buoy at 0,0. I was so excited my hair stood on end.
Then so many questions come to mind. Who decided to put a buoy at 0,0 and why? How does it stay at 0,0 where the ocean is over 16,000 feet deep?
Making good use of satellite internet, I learn the buoy is part of the PIRATA (great acronym!) array deployed by a consortium of countries (including the US government agency NOAA) to collect data.
So I emailed NOAA asking about the 'how'. NOAA's reply came quick and strong with diagrams and deployment photos.
Yes, the 0,0 buoy is anchored to the ocean floor. This cartoonish drawing makes it seem simple. It's not. A more complex drawing followed with details.
It takes a big ship to deploy the assembly.
Once the sensors are installed, deployment is complete.
Yours in thanking Captain Kostas and NOAA for bringing the zero zero buoy up close and personal,