Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Lake Eyre Yacht Club

Lake Eyre is the terminal playa for Australia's largest drainage system. Most of the time, it is a salt pan, with or without some briny pools at one end or the other. However, every few years, it floods to a few meters depth, and a few times a century it fills up. It's ephemeral nature does not prevent people from taking an interest in sailing there. The Lake Eyre Yacht Club has a website detailing information on the current lake status, tips for navigating on remote, supersaturated salt water, and everything else potential mariners might want to know. Geoscientists often justify their work in terms of disaster mitigation, economic activity, or other serious benefits. But this shows that the layman's ability to use geospacial data is limited only by his imagination. There's a huge amount of hydrology and remote sensing science that goes into trying to predict lake levels. But I doubt any of the scientists who built these tools imagined that they would be used for catamaraning in the middle of a desert.

3 comments:

Ron Schott said...

Wow, it must not be fun to clean a boat after yachting about in that brine...

Chuck said...

Evidently, the main problem is salt precipitating in the cooling water inlets, restricting flow, and overheating the engine.

I don't know what people do about cleaning- transporting enough water to hose down a boat could be logistically challenging.

Najam Jahti said...

Isn't superslated woter somewhat to dense to sail? And the lift is too great making boat somewhat higher above water than normal...