Searching for Nessie (continued...)
But how did the operation start and what was the results of the plan estimated to cost £1million.
"all the maligned eyewitnesses who look to you for vindication ".The media loved it and spirits were high for the start of the operation.
The boats edged out into the loch, where they formed a line of 19, all fitted with lowrance X-16 sonar units with other boats following including the New Atlantis fitted with a Simrad scanning sonar which can still be seen on the loch today.
The first problem they encountered was the sonars forming the curtain interfered with each other so the sensitivity had to be turned down to almost minimum or the readings would be indecipherable. This problem solved, the searchers moved down the loch towards Fort Augustus keeping in line using flags set on several of the boats.
On the first day 3 strong sonar contacts were recorded from 78 metres (256ft) to 180 metres (590ft). The best of these was made just off Whitefield opposite Urquhart Bay.
The object entered the the sonar at 174 metres (570ft) and was tracked for 140 seconds. The new atlantis moved forward to try and engage the target with the Simrad scanning sonar but without success.
The position of all three targets was taken using Decca navigation equipment so they could be revisited later.
The boats returned to the New Clansman Hotel and everyone waited with bated breath for the debriefing in the hotel that evening. In the debriefing it was reported that 3 strong sonar contacts were made that day, larger than would be expected from a fresh water loch.
David Steensland of Laurence said that the 78metre (256ft)target might be of a very large known fish but thought that unlikely at that depth. Of the other two targets he said they were very strange and larger than those he picked up from sharks off the coast of Florida.
Darrell Laurence said that all the contacts were larger than a shark but smaller than a whale. Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness project said in his opinion all 3 targets were unlike those which could be expected from the lochs known inhabitants like salmon eels or shoals of char and that they are deep midwater contacts of considerable strength.
So the first day of the operation ended with great optimism for the following day of the search.
Day 2 started with the 19 boats lined up just north of Fort augustus and the sweep started back down the loch all the way to abriachan. Apart from a couple of indistinct contacts nothing was seen to match the 3 contacts of the previous day.
The media, assembled at the debriefing with hopes of more good contacts, took the no contact news badly. Adrian explained that he had sent 5 boats out that morning to check the sites of the previous days contacts but nothing could be found that could have made them. That proved that they were not fixed objects but moving mid water targets.
It was estimated that the search covered 60% of the total loch area as the sides and bays could not be covered.
The media left the loch some what dismayed that the Loch Ness Monster had not been dragged from the loch for all to see and some reported Operation Deepscan as a flop. Whatever they may say or print the operation was a success. It did record 3 large sonar contacts in the loch of a size too large to be made by anything known to live in the loch.
So what were the 3 contacts which were said to be larger than a shark but smaller than a whale?
I am afraid we will never know anymore about what can be seen on the sonar contacts of October 9th 1987.
But it must be added to the evidence pile for the existence of the Loch Ness monster.
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