Another glassy morning, water slick and still, with an almost oily sheen indicative of these ocean dynamics. We’re in a high pressure system, about 600 miles from the center of the accumulation zone. Light, variable winds force us to motor along, occasionally grabbing ahold of opportune gusts to shut off the engine. There’s nothing like the quiet peace of gliding along under sail only.
Today’s research was a repeat of yesterday – trawls mostly filled with tiny Portuguese Man O War, VelellaVelella, juvenile Myctophids, and translucent crabs. We’re running the high speed trawl continuously, stopping twice a day to deploy the manta trawl, and for Garen to conduct his research – more about that tomorrow.
Along with our barometer, spirits are also sky high. After tonight’s dinner – vegetable wraps with handmade tortillas, roasted onions and garlic, and a peach cobbler – we capped the evening with a round of recited poems, songs, a hilarious Scottish eulogy by Charlie (not a word of which was intelligible) and a sunset bagpipe serenade on the Sea Dragon’s bow. 6 or 7 cameras were immediately on hand to capture the moment. Its difficult to find words to describe how wonderfully incongruous both the sight and sound of this are….I’m fairly certain having a skilled bagpipe player on board a research expedition to the South Pacific Gyre is a first.