Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blue Water

For years folks have told me how beautiful the water is in the Gulf Stream. Friday I had an opportunity to experience it for myself. In the photos below you can see the difference between near-shore and off-shore water.

I took this photo as we were returning to Ocracoke. You can see the island in the distance. The water was that familiar blue-green color.















I took this picture when we were in the Gulf Stream. The water was a deep, rich blue...almost indigo.















Our current Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of Infant & Childhood Mortality on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072113.htm.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:57 AM

    HMM, do you suppose the ocean water color differs when on the other side, when a ship is no longer in the Gulf stream and headed further out to sea? The world is full of colorful seas and rivers. The Yellow river, the Black sea the Red sea oh there are no doubt more!

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    1. Just a guess, but I think deeper water might be an even darker blue.

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  2. Anonymous7:47 AM

    Interesting. Re. the original photo from your trip--of you with your fish--I thought the water seemed a much darker blue. Guess that's what you meant by "see" the Gulf Stream. Wonder if that colorization is just a function of water depth/light. You said you were about 25 miles out. To your knowledge, is that about where the continental shelf ends and the sea floor plunges deeper? And would that spot, wherever it commences, necessarily be the demarcation point for the Gulf Stream? It's interesting to note that the water seems comparatively calm in both shots. I thought that rougher seas might be one of the visible distinctions of the Gulf Stream. As always, thanks for sharing, Philip.

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    1. I didn't look at the depth finder, but the captain told me we were in water that was about 120 - 180 feet deep. About 50 - 75 miles off shore the sea floor plummets to about 3000 feet deep. Take a look at this chart from NOAA: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/04etta/background/profile/media/setting_1.html. I am told that the Gulf Stream, like air currents (the Jet Stream, e.g.) moves back and forth (sometimes closer to shore; sometimes farther from shore).

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  3. Anonymous7:59 AM

    Also, aside from the fish you hauled aboard, any encounters with other sea creatures visible along the path of your journey?

    And now that you've seen the Gulf Stream, is a trip like yours something you're looking forward to doing again, or are you satisfied just to have it crossed off your bucket list?

    And as to the chop, and the stability of your stomach, would you share your shipboard observations on spending an afternoon at sea in a comparatively small fishing boat? How rough did the ride get? I've had occasion to watch the rail line of an Ocracoke ferry rise and fall quite a bit against a backdrop of the ocean horizon, but I have a feeling that's likely nothing compared to bobbing about for several hours on the ocean proper. Curious to hear about your experience.

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    1. We saw several flying fish and a few small pelagic birds, but I couldn't identify them. Didn't see any sea turtles or pilot whales, but sometimes folks do. A blue marlin struck one of our lines, then got away. I didn't see it, but the mate & others did.

      It was beautiful and calm the day we were out. There was a gentle ocean roll. That movement can cause sea sickness, but it wasn't rough. I've been on a small schooner in gale force winds on the Chesapeake Bay. I didn't get sea sick then, so I doubt I ever will.

      I would go again, but my desire to see the Gulf Stream has been satisfied.

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  4. Paul Dickson12:51 PM

    My guess at the color difference is that there is more particles/sediment/critters stirred up in the shallow water near the island which gives it more of a greenish color while the deeper water is more clear. The blue in general is from the reflection of the blue sky.

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    1. Anonymous2:04 PM

      The Gulf Stream is warmer water up from the Caribbean. Under it you will find tropical fish and even coral. Up past Hatteras, the colder Labrador Current pushes the Gulf Stream farther out to sea. NOAA has some false color images if water temps are any real fun for you.

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  5. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Haven't you held up a camera and turned around while still looking through it... I think natural polarization had a little to do with the color change as well... Still both pictures look relaxing.... Thanks

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    1. The color of the Gulf Stream is dramatically different from inshore waters.

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  6. And the wind is just like the air . . . only pushier.

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