Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hello Kitty powered Message in a Bottle

All photos will enlarge if you click them.

This was an interesting experiment to send a message in a bottle out into the ocean, pulled by a kite. The kite cost $1, and featured a bold Hello Kitty design. It also came with 75 feet of cotton string. The Hello Kitty kite flew pretty well on the beach but tended to veer down to the sand in strong winds.

Monday March 24th 2008 dawned stormy on the coast of South Carolina. There was finally an offshore wind. Typically the winds are out of the south or southeast, which would push Hello Kitty back toward land or to the north and onto the North Carolina coast. Above you can see Hello Kitty fully deployed on her 75 feet of string.

To the right is Nell with the HKpMiB ready to deploy. The note was written on paper with an ink pen. Some sand was added to the bottle to give it some weight.

After deployment, the message system sailed out into the Atlantic Ocean on a 160 degree heading. (Photo at left) The estimated amount of sand appeared to be just about perfect so that the bottle dragged along the surface of the ocean. This kept tension on Hello Kitty's string so she could continue flying, but also allowed it to pop out of the water and release excess tension when a stronger gust was encountered.

We watched HK through binoculars until it was no longer visible.

Below is the map of the Atlantic Ocean showing the trajectory of the HKpMiB if it continued in the direction it left the coast. The line represents 1000 miles of distance and lands smack dab in the middle of the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola. The path also takes HK very close to several of the Bahamas. I created the map using a projection which preserves direction, so the shapes may look distorted. If HK alighted in the ocean, the message system may have ended up in the Gulf Stream and headed toward the UK. So far, there has been no response to the message in the bottle.

1 comment:

musicrx said...

What a fun time that was! Letting go of the kite had a special symbolism... funny how cat related symbolisms come up at the beach!