Passage to Barbados: Day 3

Day 3: 11 November 2016

Our third full day at sea began with continued brisk trade winds of 25-30 knots and a slightly more organized sea. The swell was running at times higher than 3 m, and this contributed to continued good surfing conditions. The kids, unfazed by the powerful wind and waves, invented a new game called “Surf’s Up!”. When they would see a particularly large wave coming from astern, they would yell “Surf’s Up” if they thought that the boat would start surfing at over 11 knots.

So far, the boat and equipment has been holding out well in the powerful conditions. The only loss sustained, thus far, has been an overboard solar shower. One of our 20 litre solar showers, previously lashed to the stern deck, was washed overboard during the night. When we found the remaining handle, still lashed in place, but sans water reservoir, Dorian proclaimed “One shower down, two to go!” Clearly, he is not optimistic that the other two solar showers will remain on deck as well.

The White Ibis that landed on deck yesterday stayed with us throughout the night. We treated it to a breakfast of partially-dried flying fish – fresh off the decks. We first fed it the very small (10 cm) fish and it immediately gulped it down. We thought that the larger fish (25 cm) might be too big for a one-bite-meal, so we graciously cut it up into little bite-sized portions and tossed it on the deck near the bird. After about 10 minutes of staring at the fish-bits suspiciously (we suppose the bird doesn’t normally receive such excellent service), it approached cautiously. With GoPro in hand, and the kids focused intently, the bird stretched out its long neck towards the new meal and promptly regurgitated the first fish onto the deck. Now, the deck was covered in fish bits, partially digested fish, and of course, plenty of bird poop from the previous night. Unimpressed by our culinary skills, the White Ibis took off for its next meal and it has not returned.

In tribute to the many flying fish we have found on deck, and as part of his continuing Language Arts program, Dorian composed a short poem titled “One Last Flight”:

— One Last Flight —
by Dorian Siegel

I fly through the water and the air.
I jump often here and there.
I hope not be ‘meal of the day’.
Instead, I land on Laridae.

Anneka added to the poem with the following versus:

As a flying fish I am the prey.
So when I land on Laridae,
I think it safe, but its not,
Because the decks are really hot!
Then a boy comes up to say
“Here little guy, I’ll save the day!”
He puts me in a plastic bag,
Then throws me into a wave.
Oh no! A shark!
I jump back on, it’s safer here.
But I guess that was my one last flight.

As part of our continued physical oceanography projects, we deployed the first of our “messages in the bottle drifters”. Anneka and her friends wrote a series of messages and we put them into a glass wine bottle and tied it to a GPS drifter with Iridium tracking telemetry. At mid-day, in position 15N, 30W, we turned the drifter on and tossed it into the sea. The position of the messages in the bottle will be reported every hour for the next several years. We look forward to tracking the position of the bottle, and hopefully, one day, receiving a reply from the lucky beachcomber who finds the bottle.

We have two more drifters, one for Dorian and one for Eliana, that we will be deploying over the next two days. The goal is to deploy each drifter about 200 km apart, and watch the different paths that they take across the ocean. We will post a blog with the real-time tracking map as soon as it is ready.

Our total miles run for Day 3 was 160.

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