Wednesday, August 5, 2009
HELP! Please Turn Over
As Denver and I were walking on Bishop's Beach this afternoon checking out the high tide flotsam and plethora of baby kelp bulbs, I noticed what looked like a rectangular piece of foam tucked in among the debris. I often pick up trash on the beach if it doesn't look too messy to carry in my pocket, and something about this piece of trash caught my eye. I turned it over and saw in big, bold letters, "HELP". I thought it was a prank, or something someone in a shipwreck might throw into the water. However, I turned it over and read the inscription on the other side: "This is a drift card for a current study of Seldovia Bay and its interaction with Kachemak Bay conducted by Seldovia Village Tribe. If you find this card please contact....and provide the following information: card number, date and time, distance and direction from Seldovia or Seldovia Point. If found in the water, release this card where you found it. If found stranded on the shore, dispose of this card properly." We thought that was pretty cool that we found this and actually picked it up to look at it. We headed back up to Islands and Ocean where Denver was going to the weekly Discovery Lab.
As I walked into Islands and Ocean I was feeling excited to be part of a current study. Soon I went into the Discovery Lab. After looking at a few of the stations, I told the attendant at a station about the drift card and she seemed pretty interested. She told me more about the card and told me it was for studying surface currents on the ocean. She got on the computer and showed me maps of their (Islands and Ocean's) drift card study and where the cards ended up. They print out the message and varnish it to a block of wood. It was interesting hearing the results of the experiment. They dropped 500 drift cards in a straight line at the other side of Kachemak Bay on the curve heading back down the Kenai Penisula. Surprisingly, only a couple cards landed in Kachemak Bay. The rest ended up in the Kenai River area. In another study drift cards were dropped by a high school girl who made 1000 drift cards and threw them out in a straight line right before the curve across Kachemak Bay. She thought they would all end up in Kachemak Bay but she was wrong! Almost all of them ended up in the Alueutian Islands area and only 3 were found in Kachemak Bay. Her study showed there was a surface current that nobody ever knew about. It was fun being part of a cool study and learning more about the ocean that I live by. I would like to do a study with drift cards too.