|Gulf Hammock faced dangerous spring winds on her northbound gulf crossing. Pushed off course, she persevered, staying aloft for 68 hours until finally reaching Louisiana's coast.|
Several weeks after leaving her Bolivian winter range and passing quickly through Central America, Gulf Hammock got a jump on most of her fellow kites by cutting across the Bay of Honduras to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It was a short trip from there to the northeastern tip of the Peninsula, where on 5 March at 9:00 a.m. EDT, she sailed northward out over the Gulf on strong tailwinds (see the wind map for 3/5/15 17:00 UTC).
Gulf Hammock made exceptionally good time until the middle of the night, when she slammed into powerful headwinds of the approaching high-pressure system that completely halted her northbound progress. As shown by the track segment associated with the map for 3/6/15 06:00 UTC, she looped 90 miles out to the east, then back again nearly to her original position before taking up a northwesterly heading.
From this point, Gulf Hammock consistently flew 90 degrees off the northeasterly wind for at least 44 more hours, eventually reaching Marsh Island on the coast of western Louisiana.
In all, this Swallow-tailed Kite had spent 68 hours aloft over the Gulf of Mexico managing her finite energy supply and choosing a path that defied the Gulf’s deadly spring winds.