TNS458 25/03/2016

(Day 26) Good Friday

Greetings from the South Pacific. We have now completed 2901
nautical miles of our epic voyage and Aft Port watch are wondering if we
will make it a hat-trick by being on watch when we pass the 3000 mark.  The
calculations involved in anticipating whether or not this will happen are
just the kind that Charlie revels in, and they provide a welcome deviation
from the focus of discussion that has recently kept both he and David fully
occupied: namely, the optimum trajectory for our flying egg in the upcoming
Egg Drop competition – postponed until tomorrow (depending, like all rocket
launches, on the optimum weather conditions).  The uncooked egg must be
protected ‘in the best way you can’ and will be thrown from the fore top
(lower platform on the foremast) as far aft as possible.  The protective
wrapping must be biodegradable, in case it catapults into the sea; the egg
must not break; and a total of 25 points are up for grabs (not to mention
Watch Kudos), so the pressure is on. I’m unable to divulge details of our
creation until after the Egg Drop takes place (you never know, someone on
board might actually read this blog!) but suffice to say it has been a
genuine team effort, with the design and creative team focussing on the
outer casing and the engineering team ingeniously putting the precious egg
inside. More news on all this in our next blog.
Sailing-wise, we continue at a good speed (5-6 knots), on a westerly course,
with comfortable seas and the temperature just below 30 degrees C. The
highlight of the past few night watches has been the full moon: there’s
nothing quite like the sight of the ship under full sail in the moonlight,
or a great path of glittering water lighting up the night.  Recently, on a
First Dog watch (4 – 6 p.m.) we were sailing directly into the sunset and
had the full moon rising at our stern. Twelve hours later, we came on watch
at 4 a.m. to find the moon directly ahead of the ship and at 5.30 a.m. the
sun came up at our stern!  Out here, natural phenomena such as these, and a
beautiful full rainbow arch we saw the other day are all note-worthy.
Also note-worthy are two interesting talks we have had: yesterday our four
cadets gave us an amusing and informative interactive talk on ‘Ships’ lights
and Collision Regulations’: Mona and Dr Kate modelled for us as ships of
different lengths and tonnage, decked out with red and green coloured
beakers, and white lights stuck in strategic places.  Today, Bosun’s Mate
Kat (Adena) gave us an excellent talk on ‘Ocean Islands’ from a geological
perspective. We are hoping to be able to identify some of the features she
mentioned when we get to the Marquesas.
As others have mentioned, we are now using the chart where these islands
appear and are already seeing the relative (900 nautical miles) proximity of
land, with increased sightings of birds: Madeiran storm petrel; Sooty tern;
and a Red-tailed Tropicbird. Other significant events today were our
contemplative Good Friday service, which followed a special morning smoko
with Hot Cross Buns, a delicacy unknown to our North American crew members.
At afternoon smoko, Micah (our Cook) surprised us with a magnificent simnel
cake – as you can see, we are well into our Pacific Ocean Easter
Greetings from Aft Port watch: Kate S, Charlie, Kath & Paul, David/Dave,
Chris W and Michelle.