"As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean" Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
The ancient mariners referred to them as the “horse latitudes”, also known as “the doldrums”. Notoriously calm - a sailor’s nemesis. The story behind this: back in the days when ships laden with fine cattle and horses would transport cargo by sea, those passing between Latitudes 30 and 40 were sometimes stalled in a windless lake, redundant sails a flutter. As supplies dwindled, and fresh water reserved for human consumption, perished livestock were tossed overboard.
Fortunately, we have a solar powered reverse osmosis desalinization unit to make fresh water, and plenty of food, so no ones getting tossed.
But we are having to get creative to keep busy on these long doldrum day afternoons – to each, his/her own:
· Jeff whittles pieces of ginger root,
· Herb, having completed his 36-hour existentialism lectures moves on to the History of Science – another epic course.
Too much time on our hands? Perhaps. But forced down time often leads to interesting speculations…
For about a week now, we’ve been tracking an unfamiliar bird – not the usual Albatross or Petrel, but a bird even Charlie couldn’t place. We sent an image to Richard Erickson back on the mainland who identified it as a Glaucous-winged Gull, not generally seen in this region.
Charlie wondered: All the debris we’ve found has attracted tons of life – pelagic crabs, fish, barnacles - might the presence of these new potential food sources, not normally available in this oligotrophic zone, be attracting these birds to the area? Or was it simply winds or curiosity bringing them to new territory? Inquiring gyre minds want to know.
Our fuel reserves are low, and while we’re not in any danger, we do need some wind ASAP to make our February 22nd arrival…So keep on blowin’, ya hear?
Aloha and gracias from the Captain and Crew of ORV Alguita!