Monday, October 15, 2007

Underwater Weather Watchers

One of my favorite subjects! Underwater Weather! This is a 2005 article from the American Institute of Physics and DBIS.

We have spoken about how we humans view things on a one-plane thought process, notably what we see. While much of what effects our planet and our weather are conditions, atmospheres and environments we either do not see or in some cases cannot see, yet.

The fact is that weather is a complex science with many variables. Science is on the path to try and understand these unseen but critical factors. RS

Underwater Weather Watchers

Oceanographers, Physicists Design Submersible Floats For Eyeing Ocean Weather
January 1, 2005

Researchers are now collecting valuable information about ocean weather from a fleet of cost-effective instruments called Argo floats. Using hydraulic fluid in internal and external sacs, each float sinks about a mile and a half underwater.

Every ten days, the float rises to the surface and transmits information on the ocean temperature and salt content. Researchers hope Argo will improve the ability to forecast the paths of hurricanes and where they will make their landfall.

Why do some objects float and others sink?

Legend has it that around 200 B.C., the Greek philosopher Archimedes took the first step to determine why objects float. Archimedes noticed as he was getting into his bath that when he sat down, water flowed over the sides of the tub. His weight had moved, or "displaced," it. He concluded that water pushes upward with a force equal to the object's weight.

When an object is floating, part of it is under the water; how much of it is underwater depends its weight. For instance, if a boat weighs 1,000 pounds, it will sink into the water until it has displaced 1,000 pounds of water. The object will float unless it is too heavy to push away enough water equal to its own weight and still have part of itself above the water.

But weight is not the primary factor in determining whether something will float. After all, big ships are very heavy, yet they stay afloat. It all comes down to an object's density: Objects with lower density will float more easily than objects of higher density. The density of the liquid is also a factor.

A boat may weigh 1,000 pounds, but it is not solid steel throughout: Much of its interior is air. So the average density of a boat is very light compared to the average density of water. Filling the boat with heavy rocks will increase its density, and eventually the boat will sink when its density becomes greater than that of the water.

The American Geophysical Union contributed to the TV portion of this report.

Additional information on Argo: Underwater Weather.

Maritime Note

Another amazing USCG Rescue was brought to my attention. This also includes another reported EPIRB malfunction as both gCaptain and myself have been reporting on with regards to the s/v Sean Seamour II. I am taking a look into the
fishing vessel Illusion's report to see if there was any USCG findings..

Aleutian rescue a close call for Coast Guardsmen AWARD: Helicopter crew saved fishermen in February sinking.

The Associated Press

(Published: October 14, 2007)

KODIAK -- When rescue swimmer Wil Milam pulled into Dutch Harbor aboard the cutter Mellon on a stormy February morning for a patrol break, his task was to brief some third-graders about his life in the U.S. Coast Guard.

It was 7:30 a.m. Feb. 19 when he gathered with the kids and told them he never had used the strobe light attached to his shoulder.

He would have to eat his words later that night when he saved the lives of four fishermen at sea.

The fishing vessel Illusion and its crew of four, longlining for cod, sank by the time the rescue helicopter arrived. Milam ended up in the hospital attached to an IV, wrapped like a cocoon in blankets beneath heat lamps until he was able to recover hours later.

Milam recently returned from Washington, D.C., where on Sept. 29 he received the Capt. Frank Erickson Rotary Wing Rescue of the Year award.

The award recognized the entire crew: Milam, pilot Lt. Devin Townsend, co-pilot Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carroll and flight mechanic John Maghupoy.


Dressed in a Coast Guard jumpsuit, Milam told his story last week to the Kodiak Rotary.

It was about 11:30 p.m. when he and his crew finished dinner. Milam was headed back to the Mellon when he was told the HH-65 Dolphin helicopter might have to launch.

The Mellon is a cutter fitted with a helicopter pad.

He arrived at the Mellon only to find there were no lights on board the ship because there was no power. He drove to the hangar, where there also was no power, meaning the doors could not be opened. The helicopter was parked behind other aircraft. He seemed stuck.

Milam said the flight mechanic luckily was able to get the hangar doors open. The helicopter was rolled out.

Winds were blowing from 40 mph to 55 mph and the visibility ceiling was only 150 feet. Finally off the ground, the chopper had to fly low and headed west about 50 miles to the location of a signaling emergency beacon near Makushin Bay.

The seas were swelling with 15-foot waves.

Milam had done rescues before. He didn't see why this one would be different, but like the other small obstacles that day, there would be more and more that would seem to pile higher and higher.


Milam that night was the only swimmer onboard the helicopter, a standard procedure on a mission.

As the chopper hovered above the sea, Milam spotted four people in a raft. None had survival suits on; they were all in street clothes.

He was lowering four survival suits to the stranded fishermen when two of the suits were lost in the rough water.

"I had to go back in the water after the suits. Then my own suit started filling with water because the T-handle had accidentally opened," Milam said. "I was trying to get into the raft, but I could not get my lower body in. My suit was full of water. It was very cold."

Milam then tried to get hold of the basket. One hand was holding the basket; the other was stretched to the raft. The raft got away.

"It was then I pulled out my strobe light. I was thinking what I had told the students -- that I had never, ever used my strobe light before," he said.

There were five in the raft, including Milam. The survivors did not speak English; two were Hispanic and two were Russian.

There was only 15 minutes of fuel left in the chopper. Milam got back to the chopper and climbed up and down repeatedly to pluck victims out of the basket to get them aboard.

"Now nauseous, I vomited. I went down again, this time in the basket instead of the hoist," Milam said.

But the ordeal wasn't over. One of the survivors jumped to the basket, but the basket flipped over, upside down.

As if that weren't enough, the cable tangled.

"One of the guys was swimming on his stomach. Another wave broke. He gets away and the cable is looped around his neck.

"Finally, I got him into the basket. I was ready to go. Everyone was safe. But I was shivering violently when the helo scooped me into the basket.

"In the end, our crew had saved the lives of four people," Milam said.

One of the victims was suffering from hypothermia.

"Then there was me," Milm said. "The two pilots and flight mechanic saved me. Had the crew not been able to scoop me out of the water, I might not have been able to make it back. The fuel was short and I am not sure I could have survived if I would have been left on my own."

"I don't remember the flight back. Coming into Dutch, the chopper had difficulty finding the airport lights. The pilot and a paramedic walked me to the ambulance. Except for the hospital, it was over."


Milam, 41, a demure man, has lived in Kodiak since 1997. He told the rescue story without fanfare, as if it was just one of those things he does in the course of his Coast Guard duties as a petty officer first class.

Milam has been on numerous rescues. He was plucking people and dogs out of the water in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Shortly after the hurricane, Milam was on the cover of Time magazine with a dog he had rescued.

Milam is quick to point out that it takes the entire crew to save lives, not just a rescue swimmer, as portrayed in the recent movie "The Guardian." He said the movie did not focus enough on the team and the support it takes in efforts to save lives.

Milam's next stop is New York City, where Thursday he will receive the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation Award for Heroism.

ASA elects new leaders

John A. Witte, Jr., Executive Vice President of Donjon Marine Co., Inc, Hillside, N.J. has been elected President of the American Salvage Association (ASA). Mauricio Garrido, Managing Director of Salvage for the Americas for Titan, a Crowley Company, Fort Lauderdale, Fla,. has been elected ASA's Vice President, and Tim Beaver, President of Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. ,Seattle, has been elected Secretary/Treasurer.

Flag From the Bridge

Since the printing of my OPED I have received a ton of email. Some supportive, some not and some just plainly hostile. I also have received some very hostile emails because of my posting of the Ethan Allan incident. I posted that article in full because it was a very important topic to the maritime community at large, or so I thought. Since then the only thing I have not been accused of is heresy and I am sure that is coming.

This blog is a hobby to highlight storms, storms at sea and maritime incidents caused by extreme conditions, rather than just on-shore storm and damage reports. I purposely avoid politics when blogging here and even my OPED is not posted on this site. While I get nothing in return for blogging...

I am not a reporter or journalist in the professional sense and really a novice at blogging. Nor do I believe that all blogger's are reporters or journalist just because they blog. I understand copyright issues. Though many times I do try to seek permission or at least notify that i am linking pr posting a story. I do at least link to the story or note the source, if it is not mine, or make sure my readers understand that the story is sourced out. Moreover, it does not take a rocket scientist to read my blog to understand this. While some of the comments I have received lately and anonymously are plainly stupid and down right insulting.

Other than that, its simple with me if you don't like my blog don't read it. But we all have the Constitutional right to free speech with out being intimidated. If you want to leave a comment that's fine but personal attacks are what we call "Bravo Sierra" and uncalled for, besides they just get deleted and I will not reply...