Monday morning, and the wind has died on us completely. We finally made it to the high pressure and have dropped the headsails and turned the engine on. The aim is to cross this big patch of no wind as quick as possible and start sailing again, so Otto (auto pilot) takes the wheel and steers (roughly) Nor’ east.
With no wind, and less than a meter of swell, we made the most of the calm weather. The mahi mahi was fried for fish tacos, and after lunch was cleared up we decided to trawl for micro plastics. Anna and Maggie, with muh experience in the field, showed us how to do this experiment with the collection and analysis of a sample pulled from a ‘manta trawl’ skimming the ocean’s surface for 1nm in a straight line for 30 minutes travelling at 2knots.
We weren’t yet in the North Pacific Gyre, but it was a good time to trawl and see how much plastic is generally in the ocean, and let me tell you – theres a lot. When the ‘manta trawl’ was lifted, and the contents emptied into the “sieve”, all crew were shocked as to how much plastic had been caught. Everyone took a turn to pick through it all and throw the tiny micro-organisms back to the ocean, and in the end after trawling for about half an hour we had picked up over 600 pieces of plastic. It is truly saddening to think that the whole ocean is full of this plastic we can’t see, and that sea life are eating it and suffering because of our doing.
After packing all the plastic collecting equipment away, Anna decided to open up the official Sea Dragon swimming pool…the North Pacific Ocean! Swimming trunks and bikinis were donned, and with the guidance of Maggie, we rigged up a rope swing from the spinnaker pole. I think most people had a go of swinging off the bow, Steve and Mike managed to master it within a couple tries! Everyone was surprised as to how warm the sea was, and we all spent about an hour jumping and swinging into the ocean. After quick fresh water rinses and packing day the rope swing, Otto took the wheel once more for the rest of the day and evening while we enjoyed potato curry on deck, and a beautiful sunset in the background.
The wind picked up enough Tuesday morning that we set the yankee and stay sail and made our way best course to windward, East.
With about 20knots true wind Sea Dragon is back heeilng at 20 degrees on port tack this time, riding the waves at 8knots. I must say, as much as I liked the break with Otto, I much prefer to feel the wheel whilst sailing as Otto tends to zig-zag back and forth a little too much. Im now falling out of bed on this tack, so hopefully within the next couple days we’ll tack and head north again for the last week. When we near Ensenada, we can sail downwind, and I’ll be able to sleep comfortably without the fear of falling 4ft to the floor beneath me!