BOMEX (Barbados Oceanographic & Meteorological Experiment) -1969

The Barbados Oceanographic & Meteorological Experiment (BOMEX) was an experiment that took place in the western Atlantic and Barbados in May to July 1969. This recorded the Surface Air temperature, Wet Bulb Temperature, Humidity, Wind speed and direction, rainfall, Cloud cover, Visibility, Sea Surface Temperature and wave height and frequency. These recording were  made in Barbados and  by several ships in the Western Atlantic.

array2[1]The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducted this, with the corporation of the Barbados Government. There was involvement of the USA  Navy as well.

As part of the experiment a large tethered Balloon was flown from Ragged Point Lighthouse and sometimes to the South of Kitridge Point. This is in a area that has a small quarry about 7 Meters square and 3 meters deep (approximate size) where the balloon was kept when not in use. This balloon was silver in colour and shaped like the Zeppelin airships. The various instruments would have been attached to this.

As a boy growing up at Three Houses, and being interested in every thing, and given the encouragement by my parents to explore, as soon as it went up and I was array1[1]not at school I rode there and had a look.

I met and talked to the scientists and no doubt got in their way. I remember them telling me that they were also collecting Dust from the Sahara Desert. I did not believe him at the time but years later my Physics Teacher Mr. O’Shea was in charge of another experiment doing the same thing.

A  few years ago while hiking in the area I came across a large concrete block with a metal ring in it, which I believe, may have been used as the anchor.

5 thoughts on “BOMEX (Barbados Oceanographic & Meteorological Experiment) -1969”

  1. Michael C Ramos

    BOMEX was my last duty station while in USCG for six months we lived at Inch Cape compound on ocean front…..communications ship to shore and aircraft…..great place and great duty.

  2. I was a rising 5th-Form student at Harrison College in Barbados the summer of 1969 – son of David Smedley, Project Manager of the Caribbean Meteorological Institute in Husbands, St. James, Barbados.

    I worked with the team from the Florida State University Meteorology and Oceanography Departments that were intricate parts of the BOMEX project. I worked 8-hour shifts in a small metal hut on the Husbands property, taking periodic temperature readings and tending other electronic equipment at the site.

    Later, as a student working at the Oceanography department at FSU I worked with graduate students there analyzing cloud photographs and entering data from the experiment onto data cards.

    It was a wonderful summer – I too remember Thor Heyerdahl and RA II – my brother Mark got his picture published in the National Geographic Magazine standing next to the RA raft when it was in the Carenage – the dry dock in Bridgetown. I have autographs of Heyerdahl and all the RA crew and even a small piece of the raft in safekeeping.

    I returned with an English friend of mine to Barbados about 17 years ago to catch a cricket match at the Kensington Oval. Keith rooted for the English 11 and I cheered for the “Westies!”

  3. I was an airman in the Air Force on the USS [Mt] Rainer launching weather balloons for the project. I learned I love the ocean and Barbados. The people were so warm and friendly. I came back to the USA and went to college to major in Marine Biology but diverted to computers. I still yearn to travel the world and dive the oceans though. I hope Barbados is still the beautiful and friendly place I remember.

    Thank you for remembering BOMEX. I thought it was gone and forgotten.

    We by the way left out of Gulf Port, Mississippi to start BOMEX that is where Camile hit land. Guess we irritated the hurricane gods.

  4. I was there for BOMEX ’69. We also flew a tethered balloon at the UN Weather Site on the West side of the Island.

    My short time in Barbados is etched in my memory as one of the happiest, best times of my life. My first time outside of the US, on a tropical island, doing work I loved, and lived for. Meeting people very different from my homeland, and learning to love them. I listened to the landing of Apollo Eleven on the moon, over the BBC, learned to snorkel, discovered new foods, and a different way of life. I learned to drive on the wrong side of the road, and the gas pedal on a Mini-Mote was not as big as my big toe! I remember Thor Heyerdahl and Ra 1, looking out to sea from the beach on the Northeast Bathsheba coast, the Southern Cross, and so much more. What a magnificent land and people!

    I told my wife that I would love to take her there, but life has interfered with that, and now I am very old, and tired, with much sorrow. But, once, long ago, I was 24 years old, and visited Paradise. I wept when I discovered the loss of Sam Lords Castle. I still have the photos I took when there, and sometimes take them out, and remember…….

    Thank you, Barbados, and all of your people. You accepted a young man from a small town in Alabama USA, and gave him a richer, fuller life, with your goodness, beauty, Calypso music, and don’t forget the vanilla ice cream made with Mount Gay Rum! God Blessed you with so much, and you shared it with me. Thank You. May God continue to Bless you.

    Ed Mallory

    1. My father Herbert Chadwick was part of BOMEX & my mother & I did travel to Barbados to visit afterwards. I remember Sam Lord’s castle and the exquisite beaches there. My father had worked for the US Government as an Upper Air Specialist during the Atlantic Weather Project. I know he was proud of his participation in BOMEX. He was on the USCGS Oceanographer 4/22/69 – 7/29/69.

Leave a Reply


You might also be interested in these BajanThings posts - Matched Content provided by Google

Scroll to Top