Sunday, June 14, 2009
There is however news to report regarding our travel plans. Due to a large and persistent high pressure system, we have to rethink our original route, which would have deposited us along the International Dateline (180W) at latitude of about 35N. Because of the high pressure system we are dealing with light winds, which is not optimal for sailing. The weather has forced us to spend most of our time underway motor sailing. We have already used roughly 200 gallons of the 700 gallons we started with? If we keep up at this rate we will exhaust our fuel supply. At this point we are forced to bend to the will of nature and follow the winds.
As is required when dealing with the seas, the Captain has a backup plan. Our new route and sampling strategy will take us to a more southerly location than planned, but will still present us with ample research opportunities. The new plan is to continue our heading south in order to catch the easterly trade winds. This route will bring us to Hawai’i and allow us to survey a debris convergence zone located off the southern tip of the Big Island. This convergence zone is thought to be responsible for the accumulation of debris on beaches such as Kamilo. After sampling this convergence zone, we can refuel and head up the island chain toward the International Dateline at a lower latitude than planned. How far we will actually get is to be determined by the amount of time it takes us to get to Hawai’i in the light winds we have been experiencing since we left.
Speaking of debris sampling, today’s debris catch was a 300mm buoy fouled with barnacles and pelagic crabs (See photo to left of Captain Moore with the buoy and the photo above of one of the crabs, any experts out there know the ID on this little guy?).
Keeping in tune with the rest of the weekend, the weather was phenomenal. Much of the day was spent out on deck stretching our limbs and taken in the scenery (which is mainly….water). Capt. Moore gave a presentation to an assembly of 14-18 year old students at Hawai’i Preparatory Academy. He was able to lead them through a power point presentation via satellite phone.
Our wildlife sighting for the day included a Red tailed Tropic Bird and some Petrels.