Earlier today one of the original 11 Galapagos turtles that escaped an Ecuadorian nature preserve in 2020 was identified traveling eastward in the southern United States. Geoforce, an asset tracking company, had humanely affixed a GT1 Global Asset Tracker to the shell of each animal, and one (#8, “Phyllis”) appeared in their Track and Trace application, complete with GPS location. This is the last in a series of breaking reports to keep readers informed on what Geoforce and local media can determine.
According to Yachting World “it’s much more challenging to sail the Atlantic west to east,” and it’s not unheard of to encounter wind speeds of 50 knots amidst towering 25-30 ft. waves. All while sailing over disagreeable tectonic plates near volcanic islands. In short, you’d have to be tough, crazy, or crazy-tough to be in the North Atlantic for the past few months. And that’s where Alexander, a student-built unmanned sailboat has been since December 31, 2020.
Geoforce has been monitoring Alexander’s progress via its Track and Trace application, using GPS data supplied by our crazy-tough GT0 satellite asset tracker. We knew tracking Alexander would showcase the GT0’s toughness while helping the kids at the United Technology Center.
But aren’t we following Phyllis, Galapagos turtle #8? How does she fit in with the Alexander miniboat? Well, we’re pretty sure Phyllis hitched a ride on Alexander somewhere near the Azores and is out joyriding in the North Atlantic right now.
The GPS data lines up perfectly. European Interpol Maritime has received multiple reports of a “windsurfing turtle buzzing the coasts of Ireland and the Scilly Isles at a great rate of speed.” Both of these locations were Alexander landfall targets.
Alexander is now off the coast of France, three quarters through a 360° turnaround, and back in deep water, heading west. Someone or something with agency is performing this maneuver. Off the record, program founder Baldwin Richards suspects Phyllis has crafted a steering mechanism and is piloting Alexander back to the Azores at “preposterous speeds.” Too bad Baldwin told this to a blogger instead of a journalist (journalists have rules).
I like to think Phyllis knows Alexander has completed his mission; the Atlantic crossing was a triumph. The next miniboat project will employ remote rudder and sail controls to actively circumnavigate the Southern Ocean (and thus the planet). And maybe Alexander should be the boat to do it.
Who really wants to see Alexander crash and sink on a rocky foreign shore? Who wouldn’t want to bring him back home to Maine? As long as the GT0 is onboard, Geoforce will know all the details, and we’ll keep you posted.