Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 11- The Visit

Noon Coordinates 30°47'42.00"N, 158°41'3.12"W

Day 11 Thursday 9/17/09 The Visit

We had a little problem this morning while making freshwater out of saltwater and I was in the middle of it. It’s called desalinated water and I have to admit, you can’t tell. In fact, it’s good. The problem wasn’t the water, it was me. When Gwen left me on duty she told me we were making water and to keep an eye on it. We were trying to get both the port and the starboard tanks full before all 12 guests arrived. I checked it every 15 minutes. At about 0515 I knew they were full, but didn’t know exactly how to turn it off. I went down in the engine room and stared at all the controls, but nothing made any sense so I woke up the next person scheduled to be on watch. He told me not to worry about it and that the captain would be up to take care of it. My gut was saying go wake the captain, but my head was saying, let him sleep, he was up from 0200-0400. I should have listened to my gut. The tank overfilled. Not a way to start the morning. After getting the water situation under control, the captain went out on the dinghy looking for plastic accumulation areas. He was gone a long time and when he came back, he had a boat load full of stuff. There was barely room for him in to sit.

So back to the guests. The GreenLandOceanBlue film crew attempted to interview Captain Moore while out in the North Pacific Gyre today. Michael Prickett, the producer, scheduled the meeting to take place more than 550 miles off Hawaii’s shores via a Billabong owned seaplane. The captain changed into his uniform shortly after we got the call from the plane saying they were minutes away. I grabbed my waterproof camera jumped into the dinghy with Jeff and we rode off to find a good front row seat to film the seaplane coming in.

We could hear it before we could see it and then it busted through a small patch of clouds and headed right toward us. It’s a crazy moment being in the middle of the ocean on a little dinghy with a double prop seaplane heading right at you. The pilot zoomed over our heads then passed low in front of the ORV Alguita. The Surfrider, AMRF, and Pro Esteros flags that the Captain and Bill put out waved over the bow. The ship looked great from a distance especially since I hadn’t been off of it except to swim. Jeff carted me around like Miss Daisy as the plane tried to land in a few different places. But after one attempt that caused the seaplane to bounce three times across the water before it found air and speed to climb back up, they aborted the mission. The pilot came over the radio saying they were unable to land due to the confused nature of seas producing large swells with only five knot winds. The captain said he understood and saw the rough ride they had with the attempt to land. And the pilot came back, “You should have seen what it looked like from here. It could have ended badly.”

But all was not lost. The captain asked if the pilot he would check for any debris sightings. After making several laps around the area, the pilot came back on the radio to report they saw not one but two huge wind-rows of plastic debris. He started rattling off things they could recognize from above including a coat hanger. On his last lap around, the pilot preformed an air drop. The packaged contained something the captain had asked him to bring for a badly needed part for a generator- Thank you!

There is one more cool part of the story. It has to do with something in the first picture.

More tomorrow.



srchief said...

What a shame they could not land after flying almost 600 miles and then having to fly another 600 miles back without stopping. As for Jeff and Bonnie, how many people in the world can say they were in the middle of the ocean in a tiny inflatable dingy watching a sea plane skim their heads and then bounce three times off the ocean. That is a sight that you won't soon forget. The good news is that no one got hurt and the sea plane survived undamaged to return home with its passengers. You did not say what happened to the water from the over flowing tanks. Did it go over the side or did you fill the bilge with your over produced fresh water? Do all these new evolutions change your arrival date coming home?

Anonymous said...

If you could talk to elected officials about plastic pollution... what would you say?