Here is an excerpt from an email that I received from Celeste Rimac, the finder of our SDG-7 payload, earlier today:
"Your box was recovered on Belleview Beach, at the east end, right next to Morgans Point in Wainfleet Ontario. Morgans Point is just a couple of miles west of the Welland Canal and Port Colborne Ontario."
She went on to say,
"I live here year round so I see all kinds of flotsam and jetsom washed up on the shore but this is by far the most interesting item yet. Wainfleet is a tiny rural farming community that happens to border on Lake Erie so there is a large cottage population as well. There are only a handful of houses on this beach that are year-round residential; it's amazing that box was seen at all."
Celeste put the payload box back out on the shore and took the following picture to illustrate where it was found:
Now if you look at a map you might not think that Wainfleet, Ontario is all that far (at least for one of our balloons) from the Detroit area. But remember - this payload didn't FLY to Wainfleet, it FLOATED there! (See my earlier blog entries for details on this doomed mission.)
Our librarian here at the Academy has speculated that the balloon and payload were snagged on the bow of a freighter and carried most of the way there (after all, the beach above is very close to the canal that the freighters take on their way to Lake Ontario and the Seaway). I think this is a reasonable theory - I'm not sure how swift the currents are in Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, but this seems an awfully long way to float in just a couple of weeks!
Celeste will be sending the payload back soon and we'll be testing it to see if it can fly again... Many, many thanks, Celeste, for finding it and contacting me today!