You’ve likely walked in a muddy wilderness area and seen animal tracks and tried to identify then.  Or, you’ve had the same experience with tracks in the snow.  So what would leave these tracks on AIS?

The vessel has been working the Sound for a few weeks.   The two blue vessels here are Cross Sound ferries....

 

Here’s the answer:  Deep Helder, a 2014 vessel conducting sea bed mapping.  Helder is the Dutch word for clear, hence the post title.  In the distance, those are the hills of Connecticut.

Deep Helder is a 213′ by 52′ multipurpose offshore supply vessel, contracted to stay in US waters for a time yet.  More on MMT surveying here.

Note a cable supported from the port stern here.  I got these photos from the Cross Sound New London and never got closer than two nm from the vessel.

I hope to get closer up photos and learn more of who all’s on board . . .

All photos/info and any errors, WVD, who could have called this “exotic,” of course.