Our expedition to the Twilight Zone is still on hold because of generator problems on the RV Nancy Foster. Now we’ve got Hurricane/Tropical Storm Gustav bearing down on us from the Caribbean. The storm is expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico Sunday morning. So, even if we made it out to the shelf break by Saturday morning, we would only have a day or two of survey. We’ll take it! When do we board?
But honestly, if it wasn’t for this thing with Discovery Channel, I would feel hexed. Gustav is far away in the Caribbean, but already causing heaps of trouble here in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil prices are projected to rise, platforms are being evacuated, and scientific expeditions are battening down the hatches. At least two expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to follow after ours.
To make things even worse… somehow and sometime recently, gas prices started fluctuating with the weather, so the cost of fuel for an expedition rises everytime a storm comes through, like we’re caught in a hideous feedback loop. Don’t forget the Gulf of Mexico is responsible for 25% of US oil production. We get an “A” for oil. But unfortunately, we get an “F” for fisheries management. There’s alot of work to do in that department.
UPDATE: The BATZ Expedition was canceled today at 11am. NOAA offices in Galveston are in a state of “hurricane preparedness”, bracing for Gustav. Note that NOAA ships were called upon for coastal damage assessment in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, so if the storm(s) proves damaging, more research time could be at jeopardy.