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Images: A Glide Across the Gulf Stream

A TEAM EFFORT—Scientists and engineers from two oceanography institutions collaborated on the development of Spray. Jeff Sherman (left), with the physical oceanography department at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, led operations on the design of Spray using funds from the Office of Naval Research. Breck Owens (center), a senior scientist in physical oceanography at WHOI, guided the glider remotely on its first Gulf Stream crossing. With them is Brian Guest, a senior engineer at WHOI who assisted with the glider's launch. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole oceanographic Institution)

COUNTDOWN TO LAUNCH—WHOI engineer Brian Guest steadied the 51-kilogram (112-pound) instrument during its deployment from the R/V Cape Hatteras in September 2004 offshore Nantucket. (Photo by Jane Dunworth-Baker, WHOI)

RECOVERY IN BERMUDA—After Spray's first Gulf Stream crossing, physical oceanographer Breck Owens (on dock) helped recover the glider offshore Bermuda using the R/V Henry M. Stommel. A famed WHOI oceanographer, Stommel is credited with first dreaming of gliders to roam over hundreds of kilometers of remote seas and repeatedly dive below the surface to gather data about the oceans. (Photo by Ben Carr, WHOI)

A 7-WEEK, 600-MILE JOURNEY—On Sept. 11, 2004, researchers launched Spray glider near a mooring located on the continental south of Nantucket Island. The yellow swath shows the average path of the Gulf Stream—a large, powerful ocean current that often forms strong vortices to its north and south. As sailors know, it is difficult to navigate through these vortices to reach Bermuda, a problem that also challenged Spray. As a result, the glider's path took a few unexpected turns before researchers retrieved Spray offshore Bermuda. (Illustration by Jayne Doucette, WHOI Graphic Services)