Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day 5: Traveling Day

Noon Lat Long: 23 33.8 North, 164 49.5 W

We awoke this morning to a noticeable shift in the weather. Gray blustery skies and a few scattered rains – we’ll soon be out of the tropical zone, as we head towards cooler northern temperatures. We began the day with some early morning sampling– Marcus, Joel, and the Captain pulled up the Manta Trawl first thing, to find the by now predictable tangle of tiny life forms interspersed with plastic particles.

Daybreak also brought us a stunning view of Necker Island (shown above) or “Mokumanamana”, an extremely remote Island in the NWHI-MNM. Mokumanana stands 200 feet high, a relatively small Island with sheer rocky cliffs and sparse vegetation. Now on the National Registry of Historic Places, Mokumanana was likely used for religious purposes by local Islanders, between AD 1100 and AD 1700.

As we needed to make some emergency boat repairs in he lee afforded by the island acting as a windbreak, we had the rare opportunity to observe the islands austere beauty. Frigate birds, petrels, and boobies were everywhere. A young humpback whale surfaced right next to our boat. A rich habitat indeed! The momentary reverie was shattered as we spotted a large piece of floating debris – a plastic fishing float bobbing on the water where moments before a baby humpback had surfaced.

Our repairs dealt with, thanks to Joel and Jeff donning snorkel gear and diving under the hull with splash zone putty - we quickly switched to high-speed sail mode, battening the hatches, stowing all gear, and raising our Main and Genoa sails. We’re heading deeper into a high-pressure zone, ideal sampling conditions, so were making a beeline to get down to work.

Both spirits and winds are high, and we’ve all settled into our marine routine – bouts of intense activity followed by stretches of keeping busy with our various projects. As soon as we hit our sampling area, we’ll be scrambling to get as many samples as possible, weather provided, so a bit of down time now is welcomed.

Just before getting underway, Jeff hooked us another dinner – an Ono or Wahoo – perfect timing, as last nights fish tacos finished off our fresh fish. Here are Jeff and Anna, holding up our next meal.

The next few days we expect will be fairly similar, a straight shot for the Gyre. A good chance to learn a bit more from our Captain about the future implications of what we may find, both ecologically, and from a policy/legislation perspective.

Many thanks from the crew of ORV Alguita, your support is highly appreciated!


Sr. Chief said...

I am getting hungry for your signiture seared Ahi. I am jealous of the fresh fish diet you are all enjoying. I contacted your old biology teacher at Buena High (Mr. Wilson) and gave him the links to the blog and foundation. He was excited about it and will share it with his class. Is there anyone else, you might suggest, to alert about Alguita's voyage and mission? Is there chance projected course and/or way points can be added to the blog entries?

weeber said...

how lucky you are to see those far-flung volcanic outposts! gorgeous pic!