CAPTOR Project Update – Physical Oceanography
The current-measuring gliders and drifters deployed off Red Sands in mid-September have produced some interesting results already. The two gliders were drawn south by the Agulhas Current, and, despite some piloting difficulties, were manoeuvred to sample closer inshore and across the shelf break to investigate currents on the inshore edge of the main current. They have been retrieved off Durban by the ORI duck; unfortunately one glider has been damaged, but the other one will be redeployed off Richards Bay again to continue collecting data.
The deep-water NOAA drifter was pulled far offshore into a meander in the current, and is well on its way to Cape Town. The two shallower NOAA drifters have stuck together closer inshore, still under the influence of the main current, and have also drifted south quickly. The much smaller Microstar drifters deployed in shallow water off Red Sands were pushed inshore very quickly – they all beached the same day, and were re-deployed 6km off Sodwana Bay; they moved north, with one almost reaching the Mozambique border before moving south again and beaching at Banga Nek. The other two also moved north but only reached Black Rock were they came ashore. One was retrieved by James McCullough from Gugulesizwe Camp; we are waiting for EKZNW to collect the other two drifters – they will all be redeployed early next year if batteries can be sourced.