eXXpedition: All hands on deck

eXXpedition: All hands on deck

1900 hours 27°08.58N 23°24.63W

2 days of heavy weather and what do we turn to? Chocolate was all too predictable – good job we have a great supply. Trying to remember to clean teeth, check bilges and move safely at unlikely angles has left little time for blogging – but hey, today the sun is out, all 3 sails are up – some less tidy than others –  and although many waves have smacked us in the face up on deck from all sides – we’re still smiling! We have even – all 14 of us – been seen on deck today at one point or another, though one or two are still looking for their sea legs.

We’ve started the science too – too rough for a trawl but fine to begin sampling the water and seeing what’s there.  We dangled a bucket of water astern to catch a pail, then using a jug and measuring cylinder we proceeded to filter 1500ml of seawater through Jenna’s filtration system, which has 3 sieves of increasingly smaller pore size, to capture microscopic particles from the water column.  If there, these particles were then washed off the filters with alcohol and preserved for analysis by dynamic light scattering back in her lab.

Today’s lunch was ‘goodbye to the salad leaves,’ as we made the most of organic but perishable Canaries lettuces. And the opportunity to make guacamole while discussing the effects of endocrine disruptors on the male hormonal system was pretty much the sort of thing we signed up for.

In the afternoon we were having a very merry time, bouncing through the swirl, occasionally getting faces full of seawater, as waves broke over the boat. We were pinching up wind, with Shanley at the helm, making 7-9 knots with 2 reefs in the main sail and both the Yankee jib and the staysail flying. Then all of the sudden, the sheet of the Yankee jib severed in a gust of wind. The Yankee was whipping out of control into the staysail, ripping a tear of 1m of length. This triggered a big commotion, pulling all hands on deck to control the situation and bring down the Yankee and Staysail in. Some stitching is in order for tomorrow.

A quick supper of pasta pesto and buttered courgettes was prepared with delicious sweet papaya from the Canaries as a dessert. The weather for the coming days is strong north-westerly winds, so we have at least another day of beating through the swell. Hoping for calmer seas at the weekend so we can start our daily trawls.

eXXpedition crew, November 20th, 2014