Charleston Gyre

Daily At-Sea Log February 2nd


February 2, 2003

Weather is a factor!
By Rachel McEvers, Project Oceanica

Today was a little different than most days. By now we have a pretty good routine set up but things don’t always go according to plan.

First, the drifter that we had been following with the GPS tracker got caught in the Gulf Stream and got whisked northward. We had to leave the gyre and follow it to pick it up. We followed the signal until we could see the drifter. Then the crew threw a grappling hook overboard to grab it. Next they used a crane to lift the whole thing out of the water. It’s not extremely heavy but the large canvas column that hangs off the bottom of the
drifter gets heavy when it’s wet so they used the crane just to make things easier. Even if it hadn’t gotten swept away in the Gulf Stream we would still have had to pick it up because we have some bad weather coming our way.

We’re supposed to get gale force winds within the next couple of days. Did anyone see “The Perfect Storm”?! Our storm isn’t supposed to be quite that bad but it is supposed to create 15 foot waves…that’s BIG.
(below: doppler weather image of the storm area, courtesy of NOAA)
We’re heading towards shore and are going to anchor the ship just off the coast of Wilmington, NC until the storm passes. We couldn’t leave the GPS drifter out at sea while we were anchored near shore because by the time we get back out to sea (we’re hoping by Wed. morning) it would’ve been all the way up near Chesapeake Bay! That’s just too far for us to go track it down. The other drifters are meant to be left in the water for the next 80 days to see where the gyre and the Gulf Stream take them. Good thing we don’t have to go pick up all of them!




Ph. 843-953-7263
Project Oceanica
Dept. of Geology & Environmental Geosciences
College of Charleston
Charleston, SC 29424
Fax 843-953-7850