Iron Sails

Author: Mark
Date: Nov 26, 12:50am NZT
Location: 32 19 S - 176 53 E
Conditions: 8-10ts @ 165 TWA, 212T COG, 6.2 kts AVG SOG, 1.0m swell
24 HR Avg: 156 NM (We are tracking 1pm - 1pm)

We had a good, uneventful day. The biggest struggle aboard is the need to use our engines. We've been motor sailing most of the day with winds variable, light and sometimes non-existent. Overall it's better to have calm conditions than getting whacked with a low passing over New Zealand, but it is still frustrating to use engines. If we were not racing against the arrival of a small low on Saturday, we'd truck along at 4-5kts under sail...but the luxury of the wind and only wind driving us to a destination south of 30 degrees can be foolish with potentially strong and dangerous weather systems ripping across these low latitudes. Last week the low over New Zealand brought 50kts, lighting, rain and hellish conditions on the water....so engine propulsion is the order of the day!

To keep ourselves busy during the calm conditions the crew has found different ways to keep occupied. I was in the galley making a chocolate cake as a luxury item while James and Carlos enjoyed an in depth conversation on aviation. James however, wins the prize aboard Field Trip for the most creative way to enjoy the down time. He had a small project - find a way to remove critters from shells he found while diving. After soaking the shells in a bleach concoction, with the crab no where to be found, James grabbed the cordless drill, some small drill bits, and proceeded to drill holes in the shells. Once complete, he used wire to poke the deceased critters out of the shell. It was a long, hard afternoon's work, but success was achieved. Bits and pieces slowly freed themselves from the inside to the fresh outside air and into a bucket. James was thrilled to get them clean. Now, he's on the hunt for some epoxy that matches the shell color....hmmm....what can we get into tomorrow??

Our ETA for Opua, NZ is Friday midday. I'm not sure what we'll do to celebrate Thanksgiving. We'll just be thankful for a 20kg Yellowfin Tuna....that is if we can land any fish! We've added some chumming devices to stir up the fish in our pursuit of 'The Big One'. So far, the fish between Minerva and New Zealand are winning 3/0. Three lost, none landed as of yet. I guess we may have to settle for SPAM and just be thankful on Thanksgiving!

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