Welcome to the web site for Sediment and Solute Transport on Rivers and Margins (SSTORM) Research Group! Reide Corbett and J.P. Walsh from East Carolina University and the UNC Coastal Studies Institute lead the team.
Check out our research in/on wetlands, estuaries, barrier islands, shelves and groundwater.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Bumpy Ride Home

26 May 2010

We are happy with all that we were able to accomplish in a relatively short time. On the evening of the 25th, we left the study area so we could make it home on the 26th; it is about a 26 hour transit to Wellington from Gisborne. Apparently, we made the journey at just the right time, just after a strong storm hit Gisborne and right as some nasty weather reached Wellington. We couldn’t have timed it better. Having said that, the trip home was hardly smooth sailing. Large swells remained in the waters offshore waters of Gisborne; the messy storm sea conditions had been cleaned up into relatively consistent, large (~12 ft) waves by the strong offshore winds that followed the storm. These waves caused the vessel to rock significantly but in a relatively controlled fashion, and our steaming during most of the 26th was pretty nice, with good views of the rugged Wairapa coastline. However, the last four hours of our trip were pretty miserable. The waves coming from the north were meeting strong southerly winds (>35 knots) around Cook Strait, and some very unpleasant ocean conditions resulted. After turning into Cook Strait, the building southerly waves (those from the south) were coming along our port side (hitting the left side of the ship). This wave direction coupled with the steep and erratic nature of the seas caused the ship to rock and roll violently and significantly. Doing anything other than sitting and watching TV became pretty much impossible. Fortunately, we had pretty well secured our science equipment and personal effects so nothing was damaged; however, a few coffee mugs were casualties of the seas. At one point, I tried to go to the bathroom and that was an adventure in itself.

Cook Strait is a notorious body of water because not only the violent winds and waves it regularly experiences but also the vigorous currents which flow through the area, making the conditions and navigation even worse. Thankfully, we had just a few hours of these conditions before reaching port. Amazingly, Carol was able to cook up a tasty meal even during our worst rolling. When I was in college I worked as a cook on a tall ship the Sea Education Association’s Corwith Cramer, and then as crew/cook on sailboat in the Pacific, both for a few months. These experiences gave me great respect for the challenge of cooking on a moving ship. Carol clearly has mastered these experiences. It is impressive to watch Carol, the Captain and crew operate during these stormy seas. It is at these times their skills and capabilities are most apparent.


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