Phase Shift

Nathan Laxague

Ahoy, CARTHE blog devotees.

Long days and spotty internet conspired to pinch the blog stream down to a trickle. Now that I’m back on land and flush with bandwidth, I’ll give you an update of what happened the past few days.


On-board audio and video were recorded for the eventual GoMRI documentary, so keep your eyes peeled for some great footage and in-depth interviews with the LASER scientific party.


The seas were calmer and the weather gentler than during the time of our stay in Key West. That allowed for some serious hands-on time with our corn-based stowaways:


The first part of our construction process was to activate the GPS devices and seal up the buoyant toroids that were made to keep them dry and above the surf. Meanwhile, a back-deck contingent assembled the crossed drogue (the part that sits below the surface portion of the drifter and helps to better-catch the currents. These were neat and stackable, making for a fairly fluid transition from one phase to the next.


As the Walton Smith made its way to the main deployment site, a so-called “Large Scale Survey” was performed. Every hour (on the hour), a single drifter was deployed from the side of the ship as it spiraled inwards to its destination. Here’s a snapshot of that work (I was on the all-night deployment, so I missed the early-morning 140-drifter Phase One deployment):


At this point, our payload was spent and a front was fast-approaching. We headed north to Gulfport for some much-needed regrouping…


And finished our full complement of bow-mounted sensors. Someone else will take the baton for Phase Two of LASER, but I’ll be back in the saddle for the final leg of the journey. Until next time…

Nathan Laxague, signing off somewhere between unpacking and repacking.