Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wind, Rain... and Blue!--South Atlantic: Day 15

Blog 7-- Day 15: Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday proved to be another trying day.  Our True Wind Speed meter stopped working, but one doesn't need to know the exact number to feel the sensation of the flying and floating with occasional speed bumps.  Flying up to 50 knots and hitting one head-on creates havoc, like in "Jaws" when he slammed Shawn Connery's boat.

It isn't just the wind.  Rogue waves can also be damning.  James Pribram had just stepped up on deck, clipped in and then wham.  An enormous wave came over portside and washed him from the cockpit (a sitting area in front of the companion way) and carried him 20 feet.  It flipped him over the mainsail traveler, mashed him into and then over the railing to the steering column... then he felt his clip snap into action.  Jerking him to a holt, it then dropped him on the wooden slotted floor a foot from the deep blue.  Had he not been clipped in, he may not have stopped.  The back of the boat was completely filled with water.  He said he had a vision of being in the water and watching the sails fade in the distance.  It was a warning to us all that it only takes one split second for things to go wrong.  Bruised but not broken our star surfer is okay.  James is not only a professional surfer, he has his own TV show called "Eco Warrior" and is a freelance writer.  Give him a Google... he's a multi-gifted character activist, athlete, and writer who's personable and handsome like my son.  (Sorry, had to throw that in)

Yesterday, I spent four hours on deck and watched the wind poke holes in the gray blanket that has been following us for nearly 500 nautical miles.  At 6am, the sky thick with gloom.  By 9am, the large blue patches reflected off the ocean creating a multi-blue plaid pattern.  Our observations of plastic trash floating by has increased somewhat, maybe because we are nearing the high pressure system, maybe because the sea state has calmed some to allow debris to pop up through the water surface or both.  Our samples continue to collect plastic fragments.


Marcus and I were discussing ways to convey to the world just what these samples mean.  I likened it to a fine quality of fabric that has a three mile radius and we are sampling just one small portion of just one thread.  His analogy was that we are sampling a razors edge in an area the size of a football field.

At midnight, I was back on watch and finally got to see the full moon we feared we'd miss.  It lit up the sky blocking out most of the stars but entertained me with a rainbow ring of brilliant orange and yellow.  Another first.

More later.

Bonnie

Be sure to visit 5 Gyres blog to learn more about the above photo :)
5 Gyres Blog: I Can See Clearly Now the Rain is Gone

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