Wednesday, June 22, 2011

West across the South Pacific

The mast on the Sea Dragon is 95 feet tall. 

We are back at it. Only three days of research needs to be done because then we will be far enough outside of the range of the gyre that further sampling will not be needed. But you can also tell from the contents of the trawls that you've gone out of range of the South Pacific Gyre because there is hardly any plastic bits in the samples when we pull them in. In fact, on the first leg of the trip from Chile, we were wll into the gyre when we started seeing anything but plankton, jellies and other blob-ular life forms in the nets. 

When you are on watch though, one of your duties is to pull the trawls in and out of the water. Grappling with the high speed trawl, even at less than 3 knots, takes more than one pair of hands. 

It doesn't take long for Garen to get back to a full beard. I know the number of grey hairs in it surprises him. But I think he looks handsome. I can hear the collective AWWWH....

The rope in the photo is a more flexible variety than any of the other lines on the Sea Dragon on purpose. On the Atlantic Ocean crossing from South Africa, the line on the trawl got wrapped around the gear box for the engine and pulled it almost entirely off of the back of the boat. They had to use the sails to get home from that point on. They were half way across. And for the first 72+ hours there was no wind. Welcome to life on a sailboat. 

We see the moon, Venus and the Sun rise and fall. We watch the stars come out or sail beneath a dark blanket of night when the clouds have taken over.

I never get sick of watching the ever changing sky. 

Every night after dinner, one of us "presents" for the evening. Clive is taking the new crew through all the instruments on the navigation station. He's already given Sailing 101 on deck. Now we are all down below doing our best to remember all of the bells and whistles necessary that run the boat. 

I admire Clive's state of mind when it comes to living on the boat for long periods of time. He would say (and I am liberally paraphrasing here) that the news doesn't matter, that you have to find things to do with your time, and that your time is what you make of it. That life on board shows people who they are and the dynamics of the crew are molded out of the restless, or serene energy that every one of us brings to a given situation. He loves the simplicity of life at sea. From his point of view, I can see why.