Erika and Rebecca

The view from Rebecca Shoal looking towards the Gulf of Mexico

The view from Rebecca Shoal looking towards the Gulf of Mexico. During the first attempt to construct a lighthouse on this ‘treacherous coral bank’ starting in 1854, the structure was washed away twice. A lighthouse was successfully completed in 1886. It deteriorated after the light was automated in 1926, and it was demolished in 1953. A skeletal tower was erected on the original pilings to hold the light. A new tower was built on new pilings in 1985, and the old tower and pilings removed. The new tower was destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004. Lighted markers now indicate the edges of Rebecca Shoal. Photo credit: Brian Cousin, FAU-Harbor Branch. Download high-resolution version (241 kb).

A water spout formed in the distance over Rebecca Shoal. Water spouts are essentially tornadoes at sea, but are less powerful than their terrestrial counterparts

A water spout formed in the distance over Rebecca Shoal. Water spouts are essentially tornadoes at sea, but are less powerful than their terrestrial counterparts. Click image for credit and larger view.

August 30, 2015

Brian Cousin
Florida Atlantic University—Harbor Branch

After stopping operations on Pulley Ridge yesterday to evade the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika, we made our way to the shallows of Rebecca Shoal, between the Dry Tortugas and Marquesas Keys, to ride out whatever may come. Sunday morning brought some thunderstorms and an hour or so of gale conditions. Top winds reached 37 knots and the rainfall total amounted to 15.7 millimeters, or a little over 0.5 inches.

As the R/V F.G. Walton Smith prepared to depart Rebecca Shoal for the return trip to Pulley Ridge, a mixed sky included a beautiful sunset in one direction, heavy clouds and lightening in other directions.

As the R/V F.G. Walton Smith prepared to depart Rebecca Shoal for the return trip to Pulley Ridge, a mixed sky included a beautiful sunset in one direction, heavy clouds and lightening in other directions. Click image for credit and larger view.

The science crew passed the time processing data from the remotely operated vehicle dives earlier in the week, and even catching up on a little sleep.

By 7 p.m., we had pulled the anchor, and under a sky red with a setting sun to the right and dark with a thunderstorm to the left, we began making our way back to Pulley Ridge to resume our investigations into the Coral Ecosystem Connectivity, from Pulley Ridge to the Dry Tortugas and Florida Keys. 

 

 

 

 

Sign up for the Ocean Explorer E-mail Update List.