|Home||Archived February 20, 2019||(i)|
A resident of Key Biscayne, Fla., Captain Roy, as he was known, was charter captain for the USGS Fisher Island Field Station in Miami from 1974 until 1989 and later for the SPFC until his untimely death in August 1997. Captain Roy served the USGS well, having escorted untold numbers of USGS field trips and research expeditions to Belize, the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida Keys for 23 years. He served NOAA by conducting scientific research cruises in the Sanctuary. The last one, a 30-day seismic-profiling cruise, had been awarded by the USGS and permitted by NOAA before his death and was carried out in the middle and upper Keys in October 1997 by chief scientist Barbara Lidz.
Captain Roy's USGS cruise arenas include the origin of whitings on the Great Bahama Bank, coral reef evolution in the Caribbean, Gulf, Florida Keys, and Bahamas, sampling of drill muds around offshore drill rigs in the Gulf, and environmental effects of decades-old shallow- and deep-water exploratory wells in the Gulf. The well study was conducted for the Minerals Management Service.
He had a genuine interest in the scientific questions, objectives, and results his research cruises would produce, and he was an active and enthusiastic participant in every aspect of a cruise. He solved engine and equipment breakdowns by repairing "malfunctioning internal components" or by giving the offending apparatus "the float test." He could fix nearly anything, enabling research to proceed despite mechanical problems.
Though he never lost a piece of USGS equipment or scientific sample, he nonetheless gave Fisher Island personnel true cause for concern one summerfor life, limb, and property. Loaded to the gunwales with the usual heavy drilling equipment and two weeks' worth of valuable reef cores, he was more than a week overdue returning from Belize. While trying to outrun a hurricane in heavy seas, Sea Angel had been hit by lightning and radio contact was the only thing that had been lost.
Gene and Pat Shinn hosted the coral reef dedication ceremony aboard their 42-ft trawler PaPa-San. Joining them were Chris Reich, Bob Halley, Jack Kindinger, and Barbara Lidz from the SPFC, Harold Hudson, reef restoration biologist with the FKNMS, and Dan Robbin, program coordinator with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Miami. Harold and Dan are former USGS Fisher Island Station researchers. Also present were Robert Ginsburg and colleagues from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami along with Roy's friends from annual Scuba diving charters, the Key Biscayne Crandon Park Marina, and from private industry in Miami. Approximately 60 people attended the on-site memorial. A banquet onshore followed for those who could stay, about half the group, at which tales of Roy's nautical adventures were told and imitations of his signature Bimini straw hats were given to narrators.
During the ceremony, Harold presented the Gaensslen family with a letter from Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Billy D. Causey designating a particularly magnificent coral patch reef to be hereafter known as "Captain Roy's Reef." The letter read, in part,
in this issue:
Capt. Roy Gaensslen
|Home||Archived February 20, 2019|