Noon Position 33°37'5.94"N, 155°48'44.52"W
Day 14 Sunday 9/20/09
I finally got the rest of the story about the Explorer’s club flag. The Explorers Club started in 1905 and is a prestigious group to belong to with such members as Thor Heyerdahl, Don Walsh, and Sylvia Earl. In order to be a member you had to have two sponsors. Charlie was approached by Don Walsh to consider becoming a member when Charlie took a ship-of-opportunity with the Explorers Club cruise to Japan in 2004. Charlie went on the ship so that he could study the plastic accumulation in Japanese waters. While collecting data, Don Walsh, who was on the cruise, became very interested in what Charlie was doing and asked that he present his research to the Explorers Club members that were on the ship. Don Walsh offered to sponsor him and shortly after Sylvia Earl became the other sponsor. After filling out an application to carry their flag on his next expedition, Charlie received a letter stating he was selected. Charlie chose to carry Flag # 134 because of the unique history it had. This same flag in the picture was carried in 1948 in the 3rd Danish Central Asia Expedition, the 1987 Yangtze River Expedition by Joel S. Fogel, and the 1998 Illi Tiki Explorations Manteno Voyage by John Haslett. Other Explorers Club flags have gone on the Apollo 8 and Apollo 13 flights. It is an honor to have been selected to carry the flag and well deserved I might add. To learn more about the Explorers Club go to http://www.explorers.org/
Let's talk about the weather. I never knew that stars could be bright enough to cast a reflection across the ocean water given it was dark enough. I witnessed this around 3am Friday morning. With the moon cycle near complete, the stars reigned. At first I thought maybe it was an airplane headlamp coming straight toward our starboard side, but then I noticed another one on our port side. I couldn’t believe how low the stars hung and yet a few so bright as to leave a string of pearl lights caught on tips of waves that pointed to Alguita. That would not be the case Saturday nor this morning... Our five day run of sunshine and calm, windless weather ended yesterday morning. The clouds had worked they’re way across the tapestry of stars, making it a black, moonless early morn.
According to the captain, we have a low coming out from Siberia that is heading toward the Gulf of Alaska. We are sailing on the rim of this system which has produced some nice free energy. We’ve been averaging about 8 knots an hour since yesterday at 1000. We’ve traveled 260.7 shortly after I came on my 1600-1800 watch. As of 1630 today, we had another 708 miles to go to get to our first waypoint in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We are nestled between the low and the high convergence zone so we can see it raining off our port side, but we haven’t got but a few drops of rain. It’s such a great ride.
We were traveling twice as fast last night and with a sea state of five, we were catching some air. Well I was anyway. My berth is a top bunk (see picture), closest to the bow starboard side and when I laid down last night my head literally levitated off pillow. With my muscle relaxed, I feel my body moving around effortlessly to the rhythm of the ship. Not that I’m going to fall out of bed, but the motion is like being on a water bed with a couple of small children jumping on it. Along with the boat being pushed around by waves and wind, the speed bumps were more like car wrecks. I laid here wondering how this boat could take such repeated pounding. I might have been thinking about it too much last night.
Because we’re in transit, not a lot of collection going on. We’re moving too fast, not to mention we are several days behind schedule and will not be getting back until October 1 at the earliest. With the captain not tending to sampling, he’s been cooking up a storm. Last night we had oven roasted lamb with purple sweet potatoes, and to top it off we had cheese cake for dessert. Tonight, he put together an Indian dish, which included his own curry, rice, lentils and fried bananas. Bill called it ”Charlie’s spice bazaar in the middle of the Pacific.” With all the great food we’ve been enjoying, Lindsey is missing her running and before dinner she did laps around the boat - 23 of them!