Day three

Oil change on the engines

After a brief pause to service the engines this morning, the R/V David Folger is traveling along the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). Progress northward varies with the speed allowed within the waterway. She sailed northward to Titusville,  Florida, where she berthed for the night.

Note to those looking for the Folger on the AIS traffic marine system. If the Folger is in the ICW, then the AIS doesn’t track the vessel. It seems to track only vessels that are in open ocean.

Check out the video of the dolphin:

http://vimeo.com/48144915

Dolphin helping the Folger navigate towards Titusville

On the high sea!

The R/V David Folger has now started her journey. After a good wash down, she left the marina at Port Everglades around noon and headed north. After several hours of travel along the coast, the seas began to build, so we moved inland to the Intracoastal Waterway. We stopped at Stuart, Florida and stayed at the Sailfish Marina. We traveled 67 nautical miles today.To track her passage, go to http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/ and type in “David Folger” for the ship’s name. The automatic identification system (AIS) operates only while the vessel is traveling and is shut down once it is at dock, so if you can’t locate her, check again in the morning. 

Goodbye, Panthea

And thanks for the lift…

The crew spent the day getting supplies for the boat and locating the marina that the R/V David Folger will be taken to once she is off-loaded. Richard went out to the cargo ship Panthea as a guest of the Marine Surveyor Ed Hayes and found that the Folger’s transducers are covered with barnacles. The crew was contacted at 16:30 today to ask if we could pick up the boat at 18:30. So the Folger was off-loaded and is awaiting a good cleaning.

Tom, Richard, and Chris will oversee supply loading and work out the last issues before they start the journey north tomorrow.

Port Everglades at last

The cargo ship Panthea is now at Port Everglades, Florida, and the R/V David Folger will be off-loaded Wednesday morning. Capts. Tom Manley and Richard Furbush, along with electronics specialist Chris Goodrich, are ready to start the first leg of the journey to the north after the Folger is outfitted and fueled, and basic mechanics are tested.

Mate Pat Manley will join the crew in North Carolina in a few days after attending an NSF panel in Washington, D.C.

Wish the crew smooth sailing and keep watching for updates daily!

Gulf of Mexico

As of August 15th, the cargo ship Panthea is at Corpus Christi, Texas. After unloading cargo there, her next stop is Port Everglades, Florida, where the R/V David Folger finally will be offloaded.

Then the Folger’s journey north under its own power begins. Tentatively, the Folger will start up the east coast August 21 or 22, and at that time daily updates will begin.

Atlantic Ocean

The cargo ship Panthea went through the Panama Canal early this morning. So the R/V David Folger is now in the Atlantic Ocean!

The next stop will be Corpus Christi,Texas, and then the Folger will finally go to Port Everglades, Florida for off-loading. The date of its arrival in Florida has been pushed back again and is now scheduled for August 18th.

Panama Canal

The SE Panthea is awaiting its turn to go through the Panama Canal. On board this cargo ship is the R/V David Folger.

The Panthea is the smaller of the two green ships located just below and to the right of the canal.

Soon the Panthea will be in the Atlantic and headed to Florida. The scheduled arrival date is about August 17th at Port Everglades, FL. Once the Folger is off-loaded, a four-member team (Captain Richard Furbush, Captain Tom Manley, electronics specialist Chris Goodrich, and Mate Pat Manley) will start the journey up the east coast. During our journey, we will do a daily blog update (weather permitting) to let everyone know our position.

Threatened by invasion

The R/V David Folger’s route home takes it north along the Hudson River and then through the Champlain Canal to Lake Champlain. On July 30, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy asked the State of New York to close the Champlain Canal immediately, to prevent the spiny water flea from reaching Lake Champlain. However, the State of New York has declined to close it, and it remains open while alternatives are under discussion.

The spiny water flea is a serious threat to the lake’s ecosystem.

The La Chute River enters Lake Champlain near Ticonderoga, New York. Lake George is the body of water on the far left.

We have been working with New York officials to determine what we need to do before we can pass through the Canal. Thanks to its design, the Folger does not carry ballast water, which is a common way that the invasive pest is transmitted to new areas. Today we learned that we are required to wash the decks and bilges thoroughly before we can come through the lock system into Lake Champlain. Given the timing, it has taken more than a week for this issue to be resolved.

Sadly, the Canal is not the only conduit for invasive species. The presence of the spiny water flea in Lake George was recently confirmed. Although Lake George is not connected to the Champlain Canal, it drains north into Lake Champlain through the La Chute River, a short watercourse.

Even if the Canal is closed, or an effective barrier can be devised to prevent the pest from migrating through the Canal, the spiny water flea has other options for invading.

And again!

Yatchpath has pushed the load date back yet again. The new date is June 23rd. After about a week of trying to resolve the issue with numerous emails, calls, text messages, I heard back from the head of the company. They have 15 or 16 boats (4 to 6 in Victoria alone) that need to get to the east coast, and they are working as hard as they can to accommodate everyone. They estimate our probability of getting on this shipment as about 60%. Amazingly, the ship is the Ocean Titan!

We are now within two days of the “line drawn in the sand”– the last possible day we can load and still get the R/V David Folger up to Lake Champlain in time to get ready for classes (including Alumni College). These delays have already cost the College a tremendous amount of prescheduled research and personnel time. Many of the research programs have had to be postponed for a full year, and the time available for others has had to be severely restricted: one program has been cut from 12 days to three and most likely will have to be postponed for another year.