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Latitude: 38° 13'N
Longitude: 60° 29'W
Wind Direction: WNW
Wind Speed: 12 Knots
Sea State: 2
Sea Temperature: 77°F (25°C)
Swell(s) Height: 4 Foot
Barometric Pressure: 1020.5 MB
Creamed beef on toast
Bagels with cream cheese
Blueberry sweet potato muffins
Grilled cheese sandwich
Skillet beef stroganoff and noodles
N'awlins red beans and rice with sausage
Ice cream bars
Flank steak London Broil
Ginger Mahi filet
Spicy brown rice
Cauliflower and zucchini with roasted onions and peppers
Honey wheat rolls
Oatmeal raisin pecan cookies
Strawberry ice cream
Warm and lively
June 11, 2003
By Joe Appel
Some time in the early evening Wednesday,
en route to Gregg/San Pablo Seamount, we entered one of the best
known areas of the Atlantic Ocean: the Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream is a moving current of water, rather than a set region. For that
reason, you learn you’re there kind of by feel. The water temperature rises,
your steering is thrown off a bit. And you start seeing more fish.
Sea creatures at the surface during our journey
have been rare. For most of Expedition 7 we’ve been in
the Sargasso Sea, which often goes by its nickname, the “desert
of the Atlantic.” That desert has shown us a few squid
and some free-floating Sargassum seaweed, and not much else.
But we weren’t more than an hour or so into the Gulf Stream when Able Seaman
Patrick Hennessy, widely acknowledged as the most proficient fisherman on the
crew, had dropped his lines off the stern. There are fish here. In fact, some
people working on the stern reported seeing a big billfish leap out of the water
not far from the ship. How big? Big. Like, at least a couple hundred pounds big.
Around here the Sargassum weed floats by in patches six to 18 inches in diameter,
just like earlier in the cruise but for two differences: there are a lot more
patches, and now you can see small fish beneath them, enjoying the cover.
The Gulf Stream, a flush of warmth, starts in the Caribbean. Earth’s spin
causes the current to bend to the right in the northern hemisphere. The Gulf
Stream moves warm water from the Caribbean Sea northward, up the coast of the
At Cape Hatteras, N.C., that water heads east into the open ocean. Once there
it heads north again, a crucial means of transporting equatorial heat to the
northern, colder parts of the planet.
What the Gulf Stream water also does is complicate the steering of a ship. 3rd
Mate Rick Bean was on the bridge tonight, struggling a bit to keep RV Atlantis on
course by fighting the current’s eastward pull. We were trying to make
a compass bearing of 284 degrees. To do so, Bean had to navigate correctively,
by steering at 264 degrees until the boat was back on course.
“We’re one-tenth of a mile off,” he said as he punched several
computer keys. “That’s unacceptable.” The computer usually
steers the ship automatically, but entering the Gulf Stream is one of those situations
where the gizmo has to step aside.
“No matter what the technology,” Bean said, “you’re usually
better off if you do it yourself.”
Back on deck, we’re watching the seaweed rush by, and we’ve got our
fishing rods out.
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