Nautical trio team up with Seakeeper’s and NOAA to Release California Drifterposted: 4/3/2014
In early January 2014, members of The Yacht Club at Channel Island cruised aboard The Valkyrie, a 50-foot Sea Ray, between Santa Rosa Island and Santa Cruz Island where they launched the Drifter Buoy about 5 miles out.
“We are so excited to be a part of this project,” said Janine Nesbit Shank, commodore of The Yacht Club. “We hope we can be of help for future projects as this is something that benefits everyone worldwide.”
The Drifter Buoy tracks physical data within the water column including water movement. The Drifter’s beam data and GPS information in near real-time to NOAA and can be tracked via the internet. NOAA has launched numerous Drifters all over the world but his is the first one deployed in conjunction with the International SeaKeeper’s Society. Former in 1988 y a group of Super Yacht Captain and Owners who felt that they have a vested interest and the facilities to help protect the ocean waters around the world, the International Seakeeper’s Society established the Discovery Yachts Program which are yachts that are willing to assist in either Drifter or other marine research related assistance.
As marine research funding was gradually cut back, Seakeeper’s member vessels began to volunteer in the transportation of equipment and personnel during research ventures.
The Valkyrie is part of Valkyrie Yachts and Valkyrie Yacht Sales teamed up with The Yacht Club at Channel Islands Harbor (TYC) to deploy a Drifter off Southern California as part of the Discovery Yachts program with International Seakeeper’s Society. It was very exciting to watch and be a part of,” said Anita Mays, president of Valkyrie Yacht Sales and executive director of The Yacht Club.
Shaun Dolks from NOAA contacted Capt. Tom Petersen, only five days after the initial launch with news that the Drifter was in trouble and may even by on land. By that afternoon the crew headed 50 miles away to retrieve it.
“Thanks to the GPS we found it easily. It was about 100 yards off shore stuck in dense kelp. We retrieved it and decided to redeploy a week later,” Capt. Petersen said. “By all practical guesses, everyone thought it would travel more southerly. Instead it floated north and toward the backside of Santa Rosa Island. This is part of the reason for the Drifter program, to see how currents flow.”
Capt. Petersen added that the project is important to all boaters in that is will help to establish water movement patterns.
“Tracking movement and water information will help with fishing, migration of various animals and even predicting movement of trash or items from across the ocean such as the debris from the Japan Tsunami and where it will end up,” he explained. Cruisers are encouraged to keep an eye out for the buoy.
“If they see it and take a picture with the buoy that we will give them a free dinner,” Mays said.
Pictures should be sent to The Yacht Club at Channel Island Harbor. Contact information and instructions are provided on the Drifter Buoy.
“The second time we dropped it at the same general area, but about 10 miles past the Islands,” Mays said. “The day was amazing. On the way out to the deployment location we came across no less than 20 gray whales. On the trip back, along the backside of Santa Cruz Island, we came across huge numbers of Pilot whales that spent time around our tender.”
After a couple of weeks the Drifter has found a more southerly direction and continues to ping information.
Valkyrie Yachts and The Yacht Club at Channel Islands Harbor purchased the drifter at a Seakeeper’s charity auction. The Drifter is powered by a battery that has a 12-18 month life. The team will replace the battery closer to the 18 month mark.
For more information on Valkyrie Yacht Sales, Valkyrie Yachts or The Yacht Club at Channel Islands Harbor, call at (855) 825-5974.