Noon position: 26°39'39.60"N 161°20'20.40"W
Before dawn this morning the vessel was attacked…by a ghost net. Judging from the color, level of fouling, and mesh size it seems that the net which lodged itself around our propellers this morning might be a piece of the same ghost net we caught yesterday afternoon (although we can’t say for sure). The force of the propeller rotating at 2400 revolutions per minute wound the net so tight around the drive shaft that it thrust the motor forward on its mounts one full inch and started a horrible grinding of metal on metal with the alternator hitting the belt guard. At first we thought the motor had thrown a rod, but Joel saw where the impact was and the Captain removed the belt guard and the motor ran OK in neutral, but stalled when put in gear. This is pretty much diagnostic for a wrap of debris around the propeller. Lucky for us, Drew and the Captain got lights and knives and were able (after an hour or so of sawing) to cut off the intruding net and its now residing on deck with the rest of our collected debris.
Many vessels are not so lucky though. It has been estimated that 6.6 billion Yen/yr (almost 70 million US dollars) is spent on damages to Japanese fishing vessels under 1000 gross tons because of marine debris related incidents(Takehama,1990). In 2005 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that marine debris caused 269 boating accidents and $3 million in property damage.
We are now motoring along (still) over the Pacific Seamounts, specifically Sibelius, Haydn, Ravel Seamounts which are named after famous musicians. We are now relaxing, watching a gorgeous Pacific sunset and waiting for cornbread to come out of the oven.
All the best from the Captain and crew.