Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Studying the Salish Sea

Chris at the helm.
Wayne has always been interested in science. Guess that comes with being a physic major in college. One day this summer, we happened upon a University of British Columbia oceanography boat in Powell Lake. Lake? Oceanography? They don't go together. But in this case they do. Powell Lake has prehistoric sea water trapped at the bottom since the ice age.

Mark is a postdoctoral researcher at UBC.
Wayne met UBC Professor Rich Pawlowicz and started thinking about writing a book about the Strait of Georgia. Not a science text, but a book everyone could enjoy. He would use the same model as his other Coastal BC Stories books, but this time learning from oceanic experts.

Mark with a retrieved drift buoy.
Last weekend, Rich coordinated an opportunity for Wayne to go out in the Strait of Georgia with Chris (the boat driver) and Mark (the postdoctoral researcher) on the 22-foot UBC research boat. At the same time, Rich would be coordinating the project from the Canadian Coast Guard offshore oceanographic science vessel called the Tully.

Smaller drift buoy.
The days work was to retrieve and deploy drift buoys. Dropped at the mouth of the Fraser River, they quickly move around with wind, tides and river water flowing out into the ocean. GPS, satellites, and cellular Internet make intricate tracking possible.


Transferring equipment alongside the Tully.
Wayne said coming along side the massive ship to transfer equipment was exciting and scary at the same time. A large crane lowered a sling down to the hovering UBC boat. The seas were choppy, but on the lee side of the ship it was much easier to stay close without colliding.

Meeting the Tully at sea.
Next month, a team is returning to Powell Lake for continued research. We'll hook up with them again to see what is happening below the waters of our home lake. -- Margy

3 comments:

  1. This is so exciting - there are such wonders to discover even now.

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  2. Wow, this is exciting and love the photos.

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  3. We sit here on shore and only see what's happening on the surface of the ocean at our doorstep. Wayne and I have been enjoying taking a "deeper" look at our surroundings. - Margy

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