Ocean Currents

Back in Rochester, once on the way home from work, I asked Gaylene if anything interesting had happened at work that day.  She said well, she heard there was another floaties sighting.    

I said "What??

"Oh you didn’t hear of the bath floaties?"

Obviously I had not.

If you are not familiar with the story, I will summarize what she told me:

The Ever Laurel set sail for Tacoma Washington, then on January 10, 1992, during a storm on the Pacific, some containers were washed overboard.  Later they ruptured. In a container were 28,800 floaties that were released.

Similar floatie

Similar floatie

The released floaties were: red beavers, green frogs, blue turtles, and yellow ducks.  These floaties have no holes, therefore they never took on water.  

Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbenmeyer and James Ingram were working on a new surface current model and started to track their progress.  They had planned to release 500 to 1000 objects into the ocean and track where they went, but seeing 28,800 objects gave them a much better trail to follow.  They try to predict where they will end up and offer rewards for their recovery on shores to verify the ocean currents.

Here are locations that they successfully tracked:

Why would ocean currents be important reminders for Christians?

See the video below:

The answer: the story of Commodore Matthew Maury. At age 19 he received a naval appointment.  At age 33, a stagecoach accident broke his right leg and ended his sea-going days. Later, he was sick and bedridden.  He asked one of his daughters to read the Bible to him and she read from Psalms 8:

O Lord, our Lord,

How majestic is Your name in all the earth,

Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!

From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength

Because of Your adversaries,

To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;

What is man that You take thought of him,

And the son of man that You care for him?

Yet You have made him a little lower than God,

And You crown him with glory and majesty!

You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet,

All sheep and oxen,

And also the beasts of the field,

The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,

Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,

How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

After he heard that, he said “the paths of the sea, the paths of the sea, if God says the paths of the sea, they are there, and if I ever get out of bed I will find them.”

He also was inspired by Ecclesiastes 1:6 which says:

Blowing toward the south,

Then turning toward the north,

The wind continues swirling along;

And on its circular courses the wind returns.

He was given charge of the Depot of Charts and Instruments after his recovery.  

When he was a sailor Maury found that there were many lessons that had been learned by ship-masters about how winds and drift currents could negatively affect a ship.  These ship-masters dutifully logged these lessons in their log-books for later use, but they were not known to others.

Maury found thousands of old ship logs and charts in storage dating back to the start of the US Navy and poured over these documents to collect information on currents and winds for all seas in all seasons.  He wanted to get this valuable information to all captains.

Maury published a book, Wind and Current Chart of the North Atlantic, which showed sailors how to use the ocean currents to their advantage and greatly reduced the length of ocean voyages.

Due to the important discoveries he made, the Depot of Charts and Instruments was renamed to the United States Naval Observatory.  His standards of recording ocean data were adopted by many merchant marines and navies.  Maury proposed the United States invite maritime nations of the world to establish a universal system of meteorology.  Nations owning 3/4s of the shipping world were sending oceanographic observations to him by 1853, where the data was evaluated and given worldwide distribution.

The Pope established honorary flags of distinction for ships of papal states, but they could ONLY be awarded to vessels which sent Maury their logs.

There is a statue in Richmond Virginia of him.

It is inscribed with:

"Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere the secret of their laws. His inspiration, Holy Writ, Psalm 8:8; Ecclesiastes 1:6."

In his right hand is a pencil and compass; his left hand has charts.

Against the chair is his Bible that he used constantly.

All of this work was kicked off by one man trusting scripture.

© Vivian P. Kirkpatrick, 2015

Originally published: http://www.hutchinsoncog.org/encouragement/2015/6/12/ocean-currents

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_Floatees

http://www.bible.ca/tracks/matthew-fontaine-maury-pathfinder-of-sea-ps8.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Fontaine_Maury