Autec - Atlantic Underwater Test Evaluation Center Aug 9, 2010 21:41:05 GMT 1
Post by uforn on Aug 9, 2010 21:41:05 GMT 1
Atlantic Underwater Test Evaluation Center
Atlantic Underwater Test Evaluation Center
What Is AUTEC???
AUTEC Stands for The Atlantic Underwater Test Evaluation Center.
Almost everyones heard of AREA 51?
Well AUTEC Is The Underwater AREA 51.
Which Both Are Government Run Top Secret Test Facilitys Said To House Top Secret Aircraft, UFO's.
In This Case Its USO's
AUTEC Is Situated @ West Palm Beach Florida
There Is Believed To Be Another AUTEC Base And Facilitys To Be Situated @ Andros Island
AUTEC's Main Base Florida
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The U.S. Navy maintains a site called FORACS which is AUTEC's Naval Forces Sensor and Weapons Accuracy Check Site.
The Primary Mission of AUTEC's Naval Forces Sensor and Weapon Accuracy Check Site (FORACS) I
Is to Perform Precision Measurements of the Accuracy of Target, surveillance, and Navigation Sensors Installed on Surface Ships, Submarines, and Helicopters.
Its The Underwater Craft Im Interested In And Facilitys
AUTEC is affiliated with the NATO FORACS program and the eight participating NATO member nations.
Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The FORACS Range is located directly off Site 1 and covers an area 7 by 12 nautical miles (13 by 22 kilometers).
It includes: Active/Passive & Sonar Targets which are Located in Various Water depths, they also Include Active and Passive Radar targets ESM/ECM, and Optical Sensor Targets. A control Station Ashore Houses All Target Electronics.
As With ALL Government Secret Sites AUTEC Is Surrounded In SECURITY!
Much Like AREA 51 There Are Warnings ALL Over The Perimeter Of The Base WARNING People NOT To Stray Past The Perimeter Or ELSE!
There's Alot of Contraversy Reguarding AUTEC From Enviromentalists Which Blame The Facility For Depleted Fish Stocks & Whaling
The People That Are Behind These Accusations Are From The Bahamian Government! And Arnt Too Happy About These So Called Instalations.
Here's A Definition ie: A pic of What Foracs DO There:
They Believe That Things are Going on at the Facility That are Harmful to the Health of their Citizens As Well As Enviromental.
There Are Some "Bahamians" Saying And "Believe These Are Associated To AUTEC, Are These Related?
There Is Also People Associated To AUTEC That Believe That AUTEC IS Situated on TOP of What USED to be ATLANTIS
Some Others Believe That AUTEC House's Some Sort Of STARGATE?
This Could Well Explain The USO/UFO Phenominum In This Area
None of These Can Be Proven Tho
One Thing IS For Sure Is That There IS A Hell Of Alot Of UFO & USOActivety In & Around This Mysterious BASE!
This Base IS Situated on the Edge Of The Bermuda Triangle
Which,And as Most of Us Know Is A Hotspot For UFO/USO Activety.
As Well As Mysterious Disapperances Of Aircraft And Ships Of All Sizes.
It Seems Nothing! Is Safe Around These Facilitys!
As With AREA 51,AUTEC Seem's To Be &IS A Test Site For The Unexplained. BUT Are These UFO's/USO's[/B]
Mainly Of The USO Type.
Here's A Good Documentay By UFO Hunters Underwater Area51 in an Earlier Post Ill Put It Again Here::
Its Also Believed That There Is A Pyramid In This AREA
Is This ATLANTIS??
The Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), the American underwater "Area 51"(excerpt)http://www.greatdreams.com/bermuda.htm
The Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), the American naval base on the Bahamas island of Andros, and that some researchers believed AUTEC might be an underwater "Area 51"- a place where secret research was being carried out on UFOs by the American government, and which, from time to time, was even visited by UFOs. It is located 177 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, at Andros Island and the Tongue of the Ocean, in Bahamas.
The Andros Island AUTEC test facility-access to which must be obtained beforehand - covers only one square mile on land, but actually comprises 1,670 square miles of the surrounding Caribbean. This ocean area is a steep-sided deep-water embayment 100 miles long and 20 miles wide, with depths varying from 700 fathoms at the "rim" to 1,100 fathoms (more than a mile) at the northern end. By any reckoning, this is a huge amount of underwater space.
The Andros base has an ultra-top secret caliber of security. In the waters off Andros island, strange craft have been seen from time to time which not only resemble UFOs, but which display the same unbelievable swiftness of motion and execute the same incredibly sharp turns.
A Viennese businessman told me that, once, when he was yachting off the coast of Andros, he glimpsed, two miles away (it was a very clear day), in waters over a mile-and-a-half deep, a motionless object he thought was a whale. Coming to within almost half-a-mile of the object-which was now gleaming oddly-the yachter observed that it was some kind of man-made craft of ultramodern design. Suddenly, the craft took off in a southerly direction at what my informant described as a "lunatic speed." It sped along the surface of the water. Then, abruptly, it disappeared beneath the waves, not to be seen again.
Blue holes are small underwater caves, apparently formed from within, which are found predominately in the area of the Bahamas archipelago. I think it possible that blue holes may, perhaps, have been formed by the popping in and out of existence of micro-wormholes.
British scuba diver Rob Palmer, apparently, had entertained a roughly analogous theory. In addition, he believed blue holes might be the transit points for UFOs arriving here from other dimensions-and his investigations were taking him closer and closer to the AUTEC base on Andros Island, where there is a very great proliferation of blue holes..
Pyramid Found Under The Sea - SOURCE: Janet Ann Spencer extracts from "The Planetary Connections", British Edition, distributed by Roger Brown of "Fountain Adelaide", Issue No. 6, Winter 1994/5
Newsweek reports the discovery of a pyramid under the Bermuda Triangle. "And not, just any pyramid, sonar tracing has mapped the pyramid's outline, and shows it rising to a height of some 780 feet from the otherwise flat ocean floor 1,200 feet below the surface of the Atlantic.
The discovery was made and then confirmed by Captain Don Henry, who discovered the puzzling phenomenon while making sonar tracings of the sea floor in an area of the Atlantic between South Bimini Island and the north end of the Cay Sal Bank. He was staggered when he realized that this undersea pyramid was some three hundred feet higher than the Cheops Pyramid, with a base of a thousand feet square.
Dr. J. Manson Valentine, anthropologist and zoologist at the Miami Museum of Science, is convinced and points out that the area where the pyramid is located was once dry sand. The area has long been suggested as the site of Atlantis.
This Is The Only Video I Can Find Reguarding The Security @ AUTEC
( Ingnore The Soundtrack) lol
Bermuda Triangle Stargate?
Associated With AUTEC
Associated With AUTEC
A German historian/scuba diver has recorded the exact location and value of deviations in magnetic fields off the Bahamas coast. Scientists to whom he has shown the figures do not dismiss the possibility that they are caused by micro-wormholes. His researches have also led him to wonder whether the American AUTEC naval base on Andros Island is not-perhaps on account of these same wormholes - an "Underwater Area 51 of the Caribbean." And he has reached some new conclusions concerning Atlantis and the Bahamas.
Oceans of ink have been spilt over the subject of the Bermuda Triangle, that apparent paranormal grab-bag of missing vessels (hundreds of ships and scores of planes), deviations in the magnetic field, abrupt outpourings of fog, UFO sightings far above the national average-and much, much more. A vast amount of pure speculation has accompanied these reports, the most controversial being that the Bahamas archipelago is comprised of the mountaintops and higher areas of the lost continent of Atlantis, sunk beneath these waters millennia ago.
As a practicing historian, with a doctorate in history and sociology from the German Sports University in Cologne - and therefore with a vigorous training in avoiding speculation - I certainly never expected to have anything to contribute to this controversy, which I tended to entirely dismiss.
Pure happenstance changed all that. I am also a trained scuba diving instructor; and, in 1995, I was sent by my company on a six-month stint to Nassau, Bahamas, with my wife and children. My German customers were the travel companies Inter Airlines and Aeroplane. My task was to develop tourist programs for scuba divers and help customers who were already there.
In the course of my work, I heard persistent reports of persons on boats who had experienced sudden deviations in their compass readings which had put them right off course. My curiosity as a historian got the better of me (and, besides, it would make for an unusual diving experience): I decided to look for magnetic field anomalies in the places where the deviations had been noted, and try to bring back exact figures for those deviations.
Based on the stories I'd heard, I chose more than half-a-dozen points at which to dive:
Fish Hotel, Lyford Cay, and White Hole, near Nassau
Lost Blue Hole, about an hour by boat from Nassau
Dogleg Reef, an hour by boat from Marathon, in the Florida Keys
the "Atlantis Wall," near Bimini
Sunken Train, near Eluthera
Here's The Map:
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Fellow scuba divers Al Miller, an American, and Joel Green, a Jamaican, accompanied me on these expeditions. Over the course of several weeks, we carried out one to seven dives a week, depending on the time we had available.
Dressed in our scuba gear, and singly or in pairs, we dove at each location several times, usually descending to a depth of no more than a few dozen feet. The dives lasted 60 to 75 minutes; sometimes we made them from cheap inflatables, other times from rented boats.
We found clear evidence of deviations at four locations:
Fish Hotel, Lyford Cay, White Hole, near Nassau
Dogleg Reef, near Marathon, in South Florida
In the course of our dives, we recorded precise figures for what the compass readings were as compared to what they normally should have been.
Over the next few months, I communicated these figures to a number of physicists around the world. To a one, they told me that such magnetic field anomalies could be caused by briefly-appearing micro-wormholes. They could think of no other explanation for the deviations. Prof. John Wheeler, of Princeton University, in Princeton, NJ, has given the name of "wormhole" to what he believes may be "transit tunnels" between different dimensions of reality. According to Wheeler, these wormholes may be only a giga-fraction of a square inch in size-the number one preceded by 33 zeroes, preceded by a decimal point. Wheeler says these mini-black holes, constantly blinking in and out of the geometry of space, are thought to be bits of "virtual matter;" that is, they can exist for a limited time only. Their counterparts-so-called mini-white holes - are virtual anti-matter. Whenever these two kinds of virtual matter build up to any extent, they immediately destroy themselves. Wheeler can offer no explanation as to why mini-holes appear, disappear, then reappear.
Regarding my magnetic field anomaly readings, here are some typical responses, from some of the scientists-usually quantum physicists - to whom I spoke:
Dr. Werner Muller, physicist, Karlruhe, Germany, in a 1995 phone interview: "According to the figures you provided and the fact that no natural source was found in the bottom of the sea, there are just the quantum physical theories left to explain the phenomenon."
Professor Tsung-Min Gung, physicist, Tokyo, Japan, 1995; phone interviews: "If the theories of inter-dimensional connections are not completely wrong and can develop in the way I am expecting them to, the strong interdependencies with gravitation and the earth's magnetic field may be a way to track them down."
Grazyna Fosar, physicist, Berlin, Germany, in a radio discussion together with myself, in 1997: "From the physicist's point of view, gates to hyperspace can be the only reasonable explanation for these mysterious deviation fields."
These startling results led me to investigate, tentatively at first, then with growing interest, some of the other "Bermuda Triangle" phenomena associated with the Bahamas area. I knew that the theory of compass deviations as being caused by "stargates" went back some way (though, as far as I knew, I was the first to come up with any figures); I was now told that the extremely high incidence of UFO sightings in the Bahamas archipelago had been associated by some researchers with these stargates.
I was further told that many of the sightings took place near the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), the American naval base on the Bahamas island of Andros, and that some researchers believed AUTEC might be an underwater "Area 51"- a place where secret research was being carried out on UFOs by the American government, and which, from time to time, was even visited by UFOs.
I decided, as a historian, to try to get to the bottom of these extraordinary speculations. The Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC) possesses unique resources, including an underwater range for testing and research on acoustic equipment. It is located 177 miles southeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, at Andros Island and the Tongue of the Ocean, in Bahamas. The Andros Island AUTEC test facility-access to which must be obtained beforehand - covers only one square mile on land, but actually comprises 1,670 square miles of the surrounding Caribbean. This ocean area is a steep-sided deep-water embayment 100 miles long and 20 miles wide, with depths varying from 700 fathoms at the "rim" to 1,100 fathoms (more than a mile) at the northern end. By any reckoning, this is a huge amount of underwater space.
I learned from more than one source that the Andros base has an ultra-top secret caliber of security. Here is an illustration. In 1997, a group of duck-hunters - who, admittedly, had walked right by a PROHIBITED AREA sign less than a mile from the base - suddenly found themselves confronting an unusually thick wall of foliage. At that very moment, they were knocked off their feet and their faces thrust into the ground.
The hapless duck-hunters quickly discovered that the foliage contained sailors in heavy camouflage, and that other sailors, leaping out of the foliage behind them, had hurled them to the ground. Taken to a nearby tent, they were grilled by a colonel for hours, until they were certain they would be thrown into prison. Then, abruptly, the officer released them, declaring, "I believe your story."
In the waters off Andros island, strange craft have been seen from time to time which not only resemble UFOs, but which display the same unbelievable swiftness of motion and execute the same incredibly sharp turns. A Viennese businessman told me that, once, when he was yachting off the coast of Andros, he glimpsed, two miles away (it was a very clear day), in waters over a mile-and-a-half deep, a motionless object he thought was a whale. Coming to within almost half-a-mile of the object-which was now gleaming oddly-the yachter observed that it was some kind of man-made craft of ultramodern design.
Suddenly, the craft took off in a southerly direction at what my informant described as a "lunatic speed." It sped along the surface of the water. Then, abruptly, it disappeared beneath the waves, not to be seen again.
I have been told of conspiracy and suppression theories of a very dark nature which have been burgeoning around the subject of AUTEC as an "underwater Area 51," just as they have been around the subject of the real "Area 51."
Here is an example, passed along to me by an informant whom I interviewed in November, 1998, at NASA headquarters at Cape Kennedy, Florida.
I was told that highly respected and world-class British scuba diver Rob Palmer, who had been director of a "blue holes" research center in Bahamas for a number of years, had failed to surface after a dive in the Red Sea, in Israel, in mid-July, 1997, and was presumed dead. Blue holes are small underwater caves, apparently formed from within, which are found predominately in the area of the Bahamas archipelago. I think it possible that blue holes may, perhaps, have been formed by the popping in and out of existence of micro-wormholes.
Rob Palmer, apparently, had entertained a roughly analogous theory. In addition, he believed blue holes might be the transit points for UFOs arriving here from other dimensions, and his investigations were taking him closer and closer to the AUTEC base on Andros Island, where there is a very great proliferation of blue holes. My informant told me there was a rumor that Palmer might have been murdered by officials at AUTEC, probably because he knew too much, and possibly by a post-hypnotic suggestion which caused him to take his own life while he was under the waters of the Red Sea.
As a professional historian, I don't care to indulge in such lurid speculations. But their existence suggests there might well be significant clandestine activity taking place at the Andros island AUTEC facility.
Since so much of the far-fetched material I had investigated had turned out to have some basis in reality, however indirect, I now decided to investigate the story that the area of the Bahamas is the site of the (not completely sunken) continent of Atlantis.
Many have long believed that Bimini is a remnant of Atlantis. The idea was first mooted by trance-medium Edgar Cayce, who claimed that many of the people to whom he gave readings had lived past lives on Atlantis. Using the latest technology, scientists from the British Government's Building Research Establishment have even discovered tiny amounts of coal and gold in apparently man-made stone found on the seabed at Bimini.
As a historian interested in primary rather than secondary sources, I decided to read the single text upon which all of the thousands of books on Atlantis are based: the dialogue called the Critias, by the Greek philosopher Plato.
Moreover, I decided to read the dialogue, not, as so many have, as myth or metaphor, but as historical fact. And I bypassed most of Plato's detailed account of the splendors of this ancient kingdom, concentrating instead on its dimensions as reported by Plato: What shape did Atlantis have? How long and wide was it?
I learned something intriguing: that if you were to take the present-day Bahamas archipelago and raise the entire land-mass by 300 feet - or, to put it another way, lower the water level surrounding Bahamas by 300 feet (its level during the last Ice Age) - you would end up with a country that closely matched, in shape and size, the ancient Atlantis of Plato: The philosopher wrote in the Critias that the continent was larger than Egypt (as it was then known); that the center of the island, not far from the sea, was formed by a plain surrounded by shallow mountains to a distance of six miles; and that these mountains themselves were located in a large plain, surrounded by high mountains to a distance of 200 miles.
My conclusions regarding the so-called Bimini Wall, thought by many to be a remnant of Atlantis, were not nearly so "New Age." I believe that some of the stones making up the wall appear to be man-made, not because they came from Atlantis, but because they were left there during the American Civil War.
In those days, a great many ships ran the Union blockade to bring trade to Confederate harbors. Pursued by Union ships, these vessels often escaped into the shallow Bahamas waters where the big man-o-wars couldn't follow.
To navigate over the reefs that filled these waters, they frequently had to jettison weight so as to ride higher in the water. What easier way to do this than by dumping granite stones from the ship's ballast? That, I think, may account for a good many of the granite stones now found at such places as Bimini.
I pursued my investigations in a number of other areas. I found out, for instance, that Bahamas has its own legends of mysterious little monkey-like creatures that are almost never seen: the "chickcharnies". I discovered there are numerous "ghost stories" associated with Bahamas, and that the shamans of the area are reputed to have almost godlike-powers. I came away with the impression - one that can scarcely be proven scientifically - that there is high degree of psychic, even "interdimensional," energy in the Bahamas archipelago.
My attention, though, keeps returning to the "underwater stargates of the Caribbean," which I discovered with my friends Al Miller and Joel Green. I continue to wonder what might be the next step in researching these "stargates." I have a proposal. It would be interesting to actually try to enter one of these "stargates", except that they are usually microscopic to an extreme degree, and they tend to fluctuate in and out of existence.
Therefore, I would like to suggest that one or a number of psychics descend to the sites of some of these underwater anomalies, perhaps those near Nassau, which are shallow, and not far from shore, and not far from the Bahamas capitol, which could make an excellent host to a world press tempted to attend this unusual "Underwater Splashdown to the Stargates of the Caribbean." Jeanne Dixon may be too old for such a venture; but there must be many youngish, athletic and gifted psychics who could be persuaded to don scuba diving gear and venture to the bottom of the ocean to see what telepathic feelings and messages they might be able to pick up, filtering ever so briefly through these on-again, off-again, underwater micro-wormholes.
My proposal may seem outlandish. But I and my scuba diving colleagues would be glad to train as divers any prospective psychics, and descend with them to the ocean bottom off Bahamas. We could do it during the coolest month of the year in Bahamas-January. January 1, 2000, seems like a propitious date. Do I have any takers?
the american underwater "area 51"(excerpt)http://www.greatdreams.com/bermuda.htm
the atlantic undersea test and evaluation center (autec), the american naval base on the bahamas island of andros, and that some researchers believed autec might be an underwater "area 51"- a place where secret research was being carried out on ufos by the american government, and which, from time to time, was even visited by ufos. It is located 177 miles southeast of west palm beach, florida, at andros island and the tongue of the ocean, in bahamas. The andros island autec test facility-access to which must be obtained beforehand - covers only one square mile on land, but actually comprises 1,670 square miles of the surrounding caribbean. This ocean area is a steep-sided deep-water embayment 100 miles long and 20 miles wide, with depths varying from 700 fathoms at the "rim" to 1,100 fathoms (more than a mile) at the northern end. By any reckoning, this is a huge amount of underwater space. The andros base has an ultra-top secret caliber of security.
In the waters off andros island, strange craft have been seen from time to time which not only resemble ufos, but which display the same unbelievable swiftness of motion and execute the same incredibly sharp turns. A viennese businessman told me that, once, when he was yachting off the coast of andros, he glimpsed, two miles away (it was a very clear day), in waters over a mile-and-a-half deep, a motionless object he thought was a whale. Coming to within almost half-a-mile of the object-which was now gleaming oddly-the yachter observed that it was some kind of man-made craft of ultramodern design. Suddenly, the craft took off in a southerly direction at what my informant described as a "lunatic speed." it sped along the surface of the water. Then, abruptly, it disappeared beneath the waves, not to be seen again.
Blue holes are small underwater caves, apparently formed from within, which are found predominately in the area of the bahamas archipelago. I think it possible that blue holes may, perhaps, have been formed by the popping in and out of existence of micro-wormholes. British scuba diver rob palmer, apparently, had entertained a roughly analogous theory. In addition, he believed blue holes might be the transit points for ufos arriving here from other dimensions-and his investigations were taking him closer and closer to the autec base on andros island, where there is a very great proliferation of blue holes..clip.. -- -- --
pyramid found under the sea - source: Janet ann spencer extracts from "the planetary connections", british edition, distributed by roger brown of "fountain adelaide", issue no. 6, winter 1994/5 (same link as previous article)
newsweek reports the discovery of a pyramid under the bermuda triangle. "and not, just any pyramid, sonar tracing has mapped the pyramid's outline, and shows it rising to a height of some 780 feet from the otherwise flat ocean floor 1,200 feet below the surface of the atlantic. The discovery was made and then confirmed by captain don henry, who discovered the puzzling phenomenon while making sonar tracings of the sea floor in an area of the atlantic between south bimini island and the north end of the cay sal bank. He was staggered when he realized that this undersea pyramid was some three hundred feet higher than the cheops pyramid, with a base of a thousand feet square. Dr. J. Manson valentine, anthropologist and zoologist at the miami museum of science, is convinced and points out that the area where the pyramid is located was once dry sand. The area has long been suggested as the site of atlantis.
AUTEC Sonar & Whales
AUTEC, Sonar and Whales
by Larry Smith
In the minds of some people, the American naval facility on the Bahamian island of Andros is another mysterious Area 51 – the top-secret military base in Nevada that has been imaginatively linked to UFOs and inter-dimensional vortexes.
And believe it or not - AUTEC’s deepwater sensors in the Tongue of the Ocean were recently used by scientists from the University of California in an effort to detect cosmic neutrinos emitted by intergalactic black holes.
But environmentalists regard the hundreds of square miles of deep ocean off the Atlantic Underwater Testing and Evaluation Centre near Fresh Creek as a killing field for whales and dolphins.
AUTEC was set up in 1965 to research anti-submarine warfare for the Western Alliance using live targets and synthetic torpedoes in a realistic environment. Those activities rely on a detection system called tactical active sonar that was first deployed on warships about 40 years ago.
As one British submariner who took part in these exercises explained: “We would travel up and down the range, whilst other NATO submarines, warships and helicopters would fire torpedoes at us. “
In fact, this writer was one of several Bahamian journalists aboard a Royal Navy helicopter carrier in 1976 that took part in a four-day exercise off Andros involving US, British, Dutch and Bahamian forces.
Codenamed Operation Clay, the exercise featured mock commando landings. And the carrier, HMS Bulwark, conducted manoeuvres with a nuclear-powered British attack submarine undergoing trials at AUTEC.
Today, AUTEC employs over 400 Americans and 170 Bahamians. The 1983 lease agreement provides for the use of land sites, airspace and seabed for a payment of $10.8 million a year. Andros was selected because of its deep water close to shore, but there are increasing concerns among environmentalists that ear-splitting military sonar threatens whales and other marine mammals throughout the world’s oceans.
That’s because whales and dolphins navigate, hunt and communicate using sound waves. Hearing is their primary sense, and because sound travels so well in water, the noise can be miles away and still seem like it is just around the corner.
"Whales exposed to high-intensity sonar have been found bleeding from the eyes and ears, with lesions the size of golf balls in their organ tissue," said Michael Jasny of the New York-based Natural Resources Defence Council. "Biologists are concerned that the whales we see dying on the beaches are only the tip of an iceberg and that many more are dying at sea,"
And according to the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, “The effect of man-made sounds on marine mammals has become a clear conservation issue. Strong evidence exists that military sonar has caused the strandings of beaked whales in several locations.”
Experts say high-intensity sonar disorients whales and can damage their ears, causing them to surface too quickly and strand on shorelines where they often die. Although whale strandings have been reported around the world for hundreds of years, environmentalists say the numbers are increasing.
Modern sonar sends out loud pings that appear to frighten and disorient whales, especially deep-diving species such as the beaked whales, about which we know little. And in fact, the US Navy is spending $50 million on research to understand how marine mammals are affected by sound.
This research includes investigating marine mammal locations, abundance, and movement at sea; studying the effects of sound on their physiology and behaviour; and finding ways to mitigate those effects.
For the past 15 years, the Bahamas Marine Mammal Survey - based at Sandy Point, Abaco - has been carrying out field studies of whales and dolphins, with funding from Earthwatch Institute, and has documented 24 species in Bahamian waters. They have also been involved in a monitoring programme at AUTEC that detects whales using the base’s underwater microphones.
The BMMS has collated reports of marine mammal strandings in the Bahamas dating back to the 1940s: “The data show a relatively consistent number of strandings from the 1960s to the 1980s, that begins to increase in the 1990s,” Diane Claridge said recently. “Then there is a sharp rise, with peaks in 2000 and 2002 from two mass stranding events. We've recorded 78 strandings in the past six years, which is unusually high compared to previous years.”
In 2002 some 40 oceanic dolphins stranded on Long Island where about half died of exposure and starvation. Researchers have not determined exactly why these deepwater animals entered the shallows at Deadman's Cay Sound in the first place. There were rumours of naval activity in the area at the time, but that was never confirmed.
In the more famous 2000 event, 17 whales and dolphins came ashore on Abaco and Grand Bahama during a confirmed US naval exercise in the Providence Channel. Seven of the animals died and the BMMS was able to conduct post-mortems on all of them.
Claridge and former BMMS scientist Ken Balcomb reported their findings in the May 2001 issue of the Bahamas Journal of Science*: “We concluded that there must have been an enormous acoustic event...that triggered a behavioural flight response by several species, but predominantly Cuvier’s beaked whales.”
Both the US National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Navy came to similar conclusions based on the post-mortems, “which indicated that the injuries were all consistent with an intense acoustic or pressure event.”
Beaked whales are more sensitive to the 180 decibel sonar levels used by the US Navy than other species. For comparison, experts say that typical ocean noise levels in the Bahamas range from 40 decibels with no shipping to 68 decibels with heavy shipping. For humans, a sound level of 85 decibels causes permanent hearing damage, and a sound level of 125 decibels causes ear pain.
“As far as I am aware, current mitigation practices at AUTEC consist of observers on ships before and during exercises, slowly ramping up sonar as an exercise begins, and ensuring that no one ship outputs more than 180 decibels,” Claridge said. “I believe they also consider the cumulative effect if multiple ships are using sonars simultaneously.”
But apparently this isn't enough to prevent harm to beaked whales from active sonar. To find out what type of mitigation would be effective, the US Office of Naval Research has been funding a monitoring programme at AUTEC, which listens for whales in the Tongue of the Ocean.
According to the BMMS, this system can be used to look at changes in the density of beaked whales (and other species) before, during and after naval exercises. And it can also determine whether whales are moving in and out of the area as a result of naval activity. Claridge has been to AUTEC several times to work on the programme.
“What is really interesting to me is that beaked whales are detected pretty much all the time. I didn't expect them to be found so frequently in an area where military exercises have taken place regularly for the past 40 years. Additionally, sperm whales, several dolphin species and short-finned pilot whales are commonly seen and heard, and appear to be in the Tongue of the Ocean year round.”
However, there has reportedly been more naval activity in the Tongue of the Ocean lately as other test sites have closed. US Embassy officials say about a dozen exercises take place at AUTEC every year – each lasting several days.
“If the number of exercises using active sonar has increased, and we know that the number of strandings has increased, then there is definitely reason for concern considering the correlation between sonar exercises and strandings that have been reported in scientific publications,” Claridge said.
Beaked whales are the most mysterious of the 80 cetacean species because they favour the deep ocean. In fact, what little we do know of them has largely come from stranded animals. Sightings of them at sea are rare due to their long dive times and unobtrusive surfacing behaviour, but a preference for deep-water habitats makes them relatively common in the deep basins and channels of the Bahamas.
Claridge says AUTEC could usefully implement follow-up surveys for distressed animals after each exercise and conduct environmental impact assessments prior to any exercises conducted in the Bahamas.
She also called for a stranding response workshop to train people on various islands in how to collect data from dead whales as well as how to help live ones: “We need the data because with every whale that strands and no data/specimens are collected, we really can't say why they died.”
Environmentalists want navies to take common-sense precautions during peacetime sonar training. Such measures include avoiding migration routes and feeding or breeding areas; and listening with passive sonar to ensure that whales are not in the area before switching on active sonar.
According to the American Cetacean Society, “The controversy between the military and environmental groups arises out of the need to maintain a certain level of national security and not injure or kill every living thing in the ocean by doing so.”
But the military says worldwide naval use of active sonar has been correlated with the stranding of only 50 whales during the 10-year period from 1996-2006: “To help put this number in perspective, this equates to less than a quarter of one per cent of the 3500-plus strandings that occur each year on US shores,” according to a US Navy fact sheet.
A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme rated sonar last among current threats to dolphins, porpoises and related species. Sonar was reported to threaten only about 4 per cent of these species, compared with 70 per cent endangered by fishing and 56 per cent by pollution.
And it wasn’t too long ago that many whale species were being hunted to the point of extinction. In fact, commercial whaling has been around since at least the 11th century; and at its peak, during the mid-20th century, the global whaling industry was killing more than 50,000 whales a year.
*The Bahamas Journal of Science was published by Media Enterprises (www.bahamasmedia.com) from 1993 to 2006 when it became the Bahamas Naturalist and Journal of Science, co-published with the Bahamas National Trust.
The AUTEC Website:
Statement For Official Visitors to the Site:
Capitalizing on its unique location, AUTEC supports a diverse customer base that includes the Fleet,
a variety of U.S. and allied foreign government organizations, private industry, and academic
institutions. Our customers are our reason for being, and we pride ourselves on providing them with
a comprehensive array of responsive, effective, and efficient, test planning and management services
at our premier facilities.
WHERE ARE WE NOW:
AUTEC provides a full range of technical services and infrastructure tailored to support our customers, from pre-test operations planning to post-test data analysis. To ensure customer satisfaction, we conduct an annual survey to measure customer satisfaction of our key products and services. We regularly renovate, update, and replace our facilities to best meet customers' needs.
WHERE ARE WE GOING:
To better serve our customers' evolving needs, we are improving our existing processes and integrating into a single, unified AUTEC customer communications program that prositions use to actively listen to our customers and speak with "one voice." We will antidipate the future needs of the Navy and of our customers by continuing to conduct assessments of our customers' mission requirements and develop roadmaps to align our capabilities to them. Our efforts to enhance our facilities will be ongoing and we will aggressively seek new opportunities to further our capabilities.
A precision 3-dimensional in-water and in-air tracking range in both deep and shallow environments.
Precisely located targets for platform sensor accuracy testing.
A tracking system for deployed sonobuoys.
Differential GPS Tracking Systems for off-range tests, including a Large Area Tracking Range (LATR) system.
Ship-deployable systems for gathering radiated noise and acoustic signature data from torpedoes, unmanned vehicles, and other platforms.
A buoyant vehicle, deep-water haul down site with data collection capability.
Andros and West Palm Beach Real-Time Range Test Display Centers.
Remote and Portable Real-Time Range Display Systems and Software (PARGOS/PCARGOS)
Extensive data reduction and data processing systems and facilities.
Computerized Mk 46 and Mk 48 torpedo simulators to minimize Fleet training costs.
Post-test debrief/replay display systems.
Open-ocean research vessels, range craft and small boats.
Helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
Fixed, mobile, and deployable targets, noise sources, and transponders.
Exercise weapon and test vehicle post-run and turnaround capabilities.
Mk 46/Mk 50 REXTORP Intermediate Maintenance Activity (IMA) services.
Mk 48 R&D Turnaround Facility.
Various Range User Buildings (RUBs), including a helicopter hangar, for customer use.
A Range User Support Compound with extensive technical laboratory facilities.
A large pier and wharf to accommadate vessels with up to a 20-foot (6-meter) draft.
The AUTEC Enviroment:
AUTEC's Bahamas location, with its semi-tropical climate, quiet acoustic environment, lack of commercial encroachment, and extensive capabilities, is an ideal year-round test facility. AUTEC is located on Andros Island because of its close proximity to the Tongue of the Ocean (TOTO), a unique, deep water basin, approximately 110 nautical miles (204 kilometers) long and 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers) wide, varying in depth from 4500-6000 feet (1.4-2 kilometers). The basin floor is relatively smooth and soft, with very gradual depth changes. TOTO is bounded on the west by Andros Island, on the south and east by large areas of very shallow banks that are non-navigable, and on the north by the Berry Islands. This area of gradually varying depths, ranging from 30-2000 feet (9-610 meters), is a prime location for littoral warfare training exercises. In addition to the Berry Islands, AUTEC offers other surrogate shallow water test sites off the east coast of Florida.
AUTEC's geography, low vessel traffic, protected environment, minimal shipping noise, slight currents, and absence of large ocean swells provide unsurpassed operational security and the required diversity necessary to support the Navy's "from the sea" mission.
These Are Just A Couple Of Extracts From The AUTEC Website: