Underwater sails and currents
Today's scientists use this device for determining currents in the oceans of the world at various depths. It was very similar to what our captain used to power his ship during smuggling operations.
If the wind is blowing in a different direction from the water current then moving a water sail up and down will propel you in different directions.
The waves also create a current.
Also, the wind along the shore create a current.
This (right) is used for measuring just the bottom current. It's a steady broad slow moving current that is usually very reliable.
There are usually other currents and so you can end with several currents going in different directions. Then there may be yet another one caused by fresh water coming out of a river. The fresh water can act differently depending on whether it is cold or hot. Apparently once it hits the ocean, if is cold it can go under the salt water of the warm ocean and along the bottom for a distance. If it is warm it just mixes right into the ocean.
These currents usually end up overlapping to a significant degree.
This account was a swimmers nightmare in Jamaica but for our smuggler it would have been paradise. he would have been out in a skiff with a sounding weight on a rope and had it charted in four hours. Then he could have used it that very night.
Swimming in shallow waters, touching ground, I was truly enjoying jumping up and down in the ocean, but little did I know this particular area had strong undertow and dangerous currents and I got sucked into one. While jumping in the water a "remolino" (whirlpool) left me just a few feet farther out but in deep waters. I have no athletic build or resistance so I got tired of floating and tried swimming back to shoreline. As much as I tried I remained in the same spot suspended in what seemed a "black hole in the sea". The strong undertow would not let me loose and started dragging me away and out by two more currents coming in different directions. I was looking at getting thrown out of reach and close to dangerous rocks (ugly feeling realizing how powerless one is in the sea and what a dreadful end it would be getting smashed against them). I panicked and the person closest to me did nothing to pull me out of the current he just whistled for help as I was running out of strength and energy to keep floating.
© 2004-8, 2020 John Pinil