Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Even Angry Seas Can't Wash Away Plastic...South Atlantic: Day 13

Blog 6-- Day 13  Sunday November 21, 2010

I wish I could send pictures, words cannot describe and even pictures struggle to convey what has been unleashed upon us.

Twice a day the Captain gives us a weather report.  For the past week he says roughly the same thing, "It will just be another 24 hours of high winds according to our weather forecast ."  Today he paused, then added, "Yeah, whatever."  Funny to hear even him grumble a bit.  Too many days we've been hopeful for just one ray of sunshine.  Just one.  We can handle being knocked about collecting bruises, but no sun and high winds means staying down below if not on watch

For the past two weeks, whenever the weather gets the craziest, Anna and Marcus attempt to make us feel better by saying, "At least it isn't as bad as it was in the North Atlantic in January." Yesterday, the North Atlantic was surpassed.  Fifty-one knot winds pounded into our sails.  The "Cape Fear" movie sound effects howled and moaned as the water sprayed up over the deck.  Vertical rain pelted our eyes.  Yet, as the angry sea attempts to wash us away, it cannot wash away the plastic that we invariably see floating by.  Random parts of once bigger objects surface then disappear.  I wonder to myself where the other parts are.

More news.  It took two days to repair our main sail that tore last week.  Yesterday, the repaired tear was dwarfed by yet a larger one.  In fear of damaging another sail, we now lumber through the water at about three knots just using our Staysail.  Currently we are three days behind schedule, but the Captain assures us  that we will make up time once we get into the high pressure system-- our targeted research site.

I spent six hours on the deck Saturday regardless of the wind and rain.  The air is so amazingly fresh, nothing back home compares.  We have no idea what air should really breath like and most definitely, the air "fresheners" pull us further from what it truly is.  I enjoy watching the petrels and albatross laugh at the wind as they dart around the waves at 50 knots.  It temporarily beats staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day.

By the way, Butchie you were right (again).  My fingernail that I pinched in the tile cutter two months ago is on its way off.  I liken it to losing a tooth as a child.  It probably seems worse than it actually is.  But losing a fingernail is better than losing our opportunity to collect good samples.  So we wait it out another day.

Clear skies and calm seas please.

Bonnie

For more about what's happening with the crew in the South Atlantic, be sure to visit:
www.5gyres.org

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