Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 48

Noon Coordinates: 31°37'12.00"N 158°35'60.00"W

July 27
We are motor sailing along at 6 knots on a course is 176, heading almost straight south towards Oahu with only 568 lovely miles to go. We've logged 6200 miles on the trip so far. Without our days broken up by trawling or stopping to dive a large piece of debris they’re all kind of starting to run together.

We hit winds of a steady 25 to 30 knots over the weekend….with gusts up to 40 and 50 knots! AS Jeff’s father pointed out to us, during this period we made the most headway in 24 hrs than we have in any of the past several voyages he has tracked!

It was a bit of a rough ride, beating into weather most of the time. At that point we were flying along at 8-12 knots with the weather hitting us at our beam. These conditions made for a noisy couple days. “Water bombs” were going off left and right. “Water bomb” is the term Drew has been using to describe the jarring “BOOM” that happens when the Alguita slaps down onto a swell. Walking around the vessel was quite a task during this weather. You don’t so much get the option of choosing where you are going as being forced to land somewhere by the yawing and slapping of the boat. The galley transforms from a place to prepare the food, to a passageway full of counters and random objects to brace yourself on your rocky journey to, well…the other side of the boat. Heavy weather also meant that the bilge alarm was going off again. There’s a hole somewhere that let’s water invade the port hull when the weather picks up (we thought we fixed it in Hawai’Ii, but apparently not). So what this means is that someone gets to pump out 5 gallons of mucky bilge water every 12 hours or so-which I must say is a small price to pay to keep the boat afloat.

The night shift on the 25th (Saturday) was particularly hairy-this was the night we saw gusts of 50 knots. The auto-pilot went out on Joel’s shift around 10pm and then morning team had to hand steer the vessel because the auto-pilot wouldn’t correct the course adequately.

The way Captain puts it, the Alguita is kind of like an albatross. When there is enough wind an albatross barely has to flap its wings-saving its energy and gliding along on the gusts. Only when the weather is calm will you see an albatross flap. Likewise, when there is enough wind the Alguita glides along, powered by sails and no energy is being spent. But when the wind dies, the boat has to flap its wings and so we turn on the engines.

Plans for our arrival in Oahu are in the works. It’s a little difficult to get things set up when our ETA is, well, a little fuzzy to say the least. We are hoping to arrive by the 30th. So far our plan is to get into the harbor at Kewalo Basin, take a day to clean-up the vessel a bit, and then invite the public and press to take a look at the debris we’ve found. There are also opportunities for us to present our research in a more formal setting. With the help of some of our Oahu based friends from Surfrider and Roz Savage’s support team we should be able to get something good going on the island.

If you live on the island and want to come by and say hi or have any ideas for a reception please contact Holly Gray at vesselsupport@algalita.org and she can put you in touch with us!
To all of our family, friends, and supporters thanks for continuing to follow the blog! It’s been refreshing to get the supportive and insightful comments from home.
On the home stretch,


shannon_ansell said...

Miss Nicole, I just finished reading all the blog posts from beginning to the 'end' (so far). I couldn't stop, it's better than any book! What an incredible adventure. I am so amazed at the hard work the six of you are putting in to this research; it is so refreshing. I even get slightly jealous hearing about the reflection of Jupiter's moon on the ocean and the dolphins who look like they are glowing!! Wow!

I wanted to share something with you all too..Whole Foods Market, Long Beach displays a sign on the front of their store that says--We are what we eat, and so is our beef, chicken and FISH.

After reading your posts this has become all the more disturbing-- Larger fish are not only eating plastic first hand, but are also eating smaller fish who have already feasted on a plastic fragments..

We must stop polluting the ocean and the Earth or else our trash will be all we have left to eat.

I am so thankful for your research and all your hard work.

Love, Shannon

Maria Truitt said...

Excelent work..!!

It would be great to see more pics and videos.

Does this trash problem has any solution?

Maria Truitt said...

Excelent job..

I would like to see more videos and pics.

Does this trash problem has a solution.?

C A Logan said...

I am so thankful for your work in this area. I envy you your opportunity to be on the front line. I live in Connecticut and have begun posting links on Facebook to a Youtube video featuring your research. My goal is to raise national awareness of the plastic continent among those who have the vision and power to do something about it! I do hope that your 10 year study does not show an alarming increase in the ratio of plastic fragments to zooplankton, but I fear what you probably fear as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you (that's one from my son, his potential children, and their potential children as well!!)