The wind howled all Tuesday night, while we slept safe on the Auklet. This morning we woke to more gray skies, driving rain and gusty weather. We decided to do more short deployments on the Vixen in McPherson Passage (as we did yesterday). The Vixen returned to raft up with the Auklet for lunch and to make a plan for the afternoon. The decision was made to send the Auklet out to chase some of the drifters we had deployed on Tuesday. Our data suggested that the drifters had grounded and were washed up on a beach or rocky shoreline somewhere.
Our search for the drifters took us to Perry Island, in the far western part of the Sound. Mark Halverson, an oceanographic researcher at the Science Center played banjo to make the transit go quickly. Kerstin played the guitar. Once we arrived in the area, we began looking for our drifters. This elaborate game of hide-and-seek took the rest of the afternoon, and into the evening. It turns out that an orange drifter the size of a bowling ball is sort of difficult to find in Prince William Sound! I believe the needle in a haystack proverb accurately describes the challenge. It seemed like there were thousands of nooks and crannies where they could be hiding from us.
Captain Dave Janka launched the Zodiac and Leslie and Kerstin (technicians from the Science Center) went along to cruise the shoreline and search for drifters. We found two out of three today, which is quite good, considering the conditions. To understand just how hidden these drifters can be on the shoreline, watch this video of Kerstin clambering up onto the rocky shore to retrieve one of our surface drifters. The music in the background is some of Mark's banjo pickin'. Kerstin's guitar chords can also be heard backing him up.