Thursday, May 17, 2007
The Road Goes On...
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Blog readers of the Land,
We're on the road again. We left Isla Del Rey and motored all night. At one point we encountered one of the most amazing things I've seen yet while at out sea. As the bows sluiced through the water, large, greenish bursts of light would appear within the sea all around the sides and aft of the boat, but not in front of us! Somehow we were causing them to appear. They ranged in size from one inch to as large as two feet across, and were about the brightness of a twenty watt light bulb, diffused a bit more as they got larger.
It was eerie. I roused the rest of the crew and we watched them (there were thousands) for several minutes and never could figure out what they were. Our best guess was some sort of bio-luminescent jelly fish, but no doubt one of you all may be able to tell us more. I found a picture of a bioluminescent Moon JellyFish, which is what we think it might be.
We stopped briefly at Isla Jicaron (N07,17 W081,48) to rest and try some snorkeling. It turned out to be a difficult place to anchor, we never actually held bottom, which was mostly a course, gritty, sand mixed with thin mud. Even with the CQR down, it still slowly dragged across the ocean floor. We tried adding a second Danforth anchor, which also caught as well, but wouldn't hold us in place. As we sat on the deck we watched the island's vegetation slowly, ever so slowly, slide past. I dove down to see what could possibly be the problem. Both anchors were set fully, and buried up to their shanks, yet as I hovered above them I could clearly see them slowly digging a trough along the ocean floor.
So much for the guide book's claim of "good anchorage". Fortunately for us, the wind and current were pulling us along parallel to the shore, and so slowly (maybe a foot every two minutes) as to not be an issue, but had the wind come up we would have had to pull anchor and leave immediately. We must have drifted along the shore for three hundred yards in the several hours we were there. This was definitely not a great situation but you learn to deal with shit like this while at sea.
Jeff somehow convinced Thorny that they needed to go ashore exploring, although why anyone who has listened to even two of Jeff's stories would agree to this is unclear. Thorny really was pushing his boundaries on this trip!!
They made cardboard holders for their machetes, used string to tie them about their persons, packed some water and a radio and looked quite the Great White Explorer part. I refused to let them take the dinghy off by themselves, instead offering to ferry them to shore, worried that they might never return, or worse, if they did come back with anything to show for it, they would be insufferable for days afterwards. So, we loaded them into our landing craft, warning them to care not to slice anyone with their shiny new weapons, and whisked them off to danger and adventure; but not without first taking pictures with which we will later blackmail them.
Making a dinghy landing with the surf was a bit tricky, but we managed to drop them off without having to empty the dinghy by pitch-poling, as illustrated here. Holly and I then did a little bit of snorkeling ourselves, but it was terribly muddy and we quickly abandoned the idea. Instead we collected a few coconuts, played in a fresh water stream, then headed back to the boat.
Eventually our explorers called for their taxi and we pulled anchor and picked them up. They returned bearing unripe bananas, a green coconut and a weird flower like thing that never did anything but wilt and smell. They told tall tales of the various animals they encountered, including a couple of different kinds of monkeys, birds and a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex. I think they may have been exaggerating a bit which, as you might have surmised, was unusual for this crew. We cleaned up the boat and set sail for Golfito. As we motored away it began to rain.
Now, everyone always complains about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it - until now. The Triton Crew has just applied for a patent on our new rain eliminator system. This is more effective at stopping rain than washing your car is at causing it. Within seconds after quickly setting up our water collection system, it stopped immediately. We're hoping to set these systems up all over Seattle, transforming it instantly into an indistinguishable suburb of San Francisco. House prices will sky rocket, and we'll all get rich.
As we motored on through the night we hit some square chop. These are short, steep waves that bang against your boat if you go too fast. We can slump along at three knots without problem, but if we try to increase speed it just gets too bumpy. The ride is unpleasant, and we're all tired. No one stays above to socialize, sleep is at a premium right now.
A few minutes ago a very large bird (bigger than a typical seagull) flew up along side our bow, and matched our pace for about a half hour. We thought it might be trying to land on the boat, but it never quite seemed to find a decent place to perch. I tried to video tape it but it was too dark. Earlier, Jeff had a very similar experience. He snapped this photo of a bird that hovered just behind our mast as we sailed along. It wasn't clear if it was looking for a place to land or not, but it hung there for quite a while.
We've also been trailing a fishing line, but no luck since our last catch. If things continue like this we might run out of food in the next three or four weeks. Thorny has done marvelous things with cans of octopus, pineapple and mayo, but even he is beginning to fret. I'll send word if we need help.
We should arrive in Golfito sometime tomorrow or the next day, which is where we check into Costa Rica. I'm told this is a great place to do so, very efficient and friendly. I can't wait.
In the meantime, I hope everyone is doing fine and look forward to sharing our photos and what little video snippets we have. BTW, did anyone manage to get a shot of us going through the canal? That would be really cool to have.
Editor's Note: Although more than thirty computer geek friends of ours attempted this, no one was able to navigate the complexities of the Canal Authorities' camera system. There were a few distant shots of some boats going through, but nothing that anyone could recognize as our vessel.
Talk to you soon,
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