The wave buoy off the coast of Anchor Point sponsored by partners of Alaska Ocean Observing System took an unexpected swim in late July, and is not currently producing data. Around 2pm on July 24th, the buoy broke free from its tether from unknown causes.
Fortunately, the buoy’s signal continued to transmit, allowing Terry Thompson, Manager of the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, to track it down by boat. Thompson and Steve Delehanty, Refuge Manager for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, found the buoy adrift several miles from its mooring. They towed it back to Homer around 1am.
“Tracking a very small buoy gives you a sense of the tremendous currents and varying sea-state in lower Cook Inlet,” commented Thompson. A radio story on the buoy was covered by local Homer radio KBBI.
The buoy is currently residing in Homer while AOOS partners try to figure out what happened. The buoy had previously come loose in October 2011 with a similar break in the chain. The dynamic nature of Cook Inlet puts exceptional wear and tear on instrumentation, which may require rethinking and retooling.
Once the problem is resolved, the buoy will return to its location about 7 miles off Anchor Point, and will continue to provide real-time data through the three web portals below: