Alard 2 and 3
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Alard 2 and 3

Alard 2 and 3

Alard 2 and 3

It was fun with science day today as Alards 2 and 3 got launched into the Southern Indian Ocean.

The plan had been to launch them under Cape Leeuwin but the weather had other ideas in mind. There’s a bit of assembly involved, including having a bit of fun with a hammer, that requires relatively calm conditions. As it was, I was chasing screws and washers and lead weights around the cabin sole on my hands and knees.

They’re ingenious little devices that rely on Spot satellite communicators to relay position data back to the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sydney BC.  The Institute has been using these drifters to study oceanic surface currents primarily in the Pacific so the opportunity to deploy them in relatively inaccessible and remote locations was too good to pass up.

Alards 4 and 5 will get launched beneath South Cape New Zealand where they hopefully will make their way east and ultimately Cape Horn.

In addition to the drifters, I’ve been cataloging surface plastics,for researchers at the University of Hawaii. Weather permitting, I spend at least one hour a day looking for and cataloging any plastic debris we might come across. So far, the total observed is 2. A 1 litre Pepsi bottle between Henderson and Easter Islands and a small square pail north of Kerguelen Island. Not enough to constitute a garbage patch. We’re hoping that a return to the Pacific Ocean will result in more useful data.

You can follow Alards 2 and 3 in near real-time here:

if you want to see where Alard 1 is now:
Alard 1 
For more info on the Ocean Drifter program :

Follow my tracks in real-time: