How Will We Survive?

Posted by Keith on April 3, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

Tuesday, April 3, 2007
31.25.05 N//112.42.143W
About 290 miles Southwest of San Diego

Oh, the horror!

Our satellite TV system stopped working 40 miles ago! Direct TV, in its wisdom, apparently does not send its signal this far out to sea.

And to make matters worse, it’s baseball season! Yesterday we watched games on the large TV in the aft salon, and on one of our Furuno monitors in the pilot house.

Speaking of hardship, The Global Adventure has only three TVs, including the wall mounted unit in the master suite. Can you imagine? Talk about roughing it! But now things are much worse-apocalyptic really: No TV signal — kaput! Nothing! My God, how did the ancient mariners survive?

Actually, we knew we’d lose the TV signal about now, so we’ve planned accordingly. Crew member, Kate Chapman, brought her Ukulele. I believe First Mate, Rip Torn brought his harmonica; and Captain Wolf Petrosko has volunteered to provide percussions with wooden spoons on our pots and pans.

And me? We’ll, the crew heard me singing our first day out, but for some crazy reason they’ve not invited me to join their musical musings!

We also brought along more than a dozen movie DVDs to entertain us. I forgot to mention: We have two movie DVD players, and XM satellite — all hooked into our Bose sound system, of course.

Man, the hardships!

Moon Over Parador

I have the sunrise watch this morning – from 6 AM until 10 AM. And of course, the real entertainment is all around us. When I took over the helm from Rip this morning, we were pointed right at a magnificent full moon, hanging like the ultimate night light about 30 degrees above the horizon. The moon cast its glow across the water before us, as if to make us a path.

Don’t know why, but my first thought when I saw the moon this morning was of the old Richard Dryfus movie, Moon Over Parador. But we’re still a long way from tropical waters.

Meanwhile, behind us the sun debuted bright orange as it peeked into view at the horizon, on its daily journey across our skies. (Yes, I know, we’re the ones actually moving around the sun, but let’s not permit a few facts to get in the way of a perfectly good metaphor.)

The Community within Our Oceans

It’s now 7:40 AM MST, and of all things I’m watching a school of flying fish about 200 yards off our starboard bow. At first I thought they were small birds, but then I noticed their very un-bird-like mannerisms.

These fish scoot across the surface of the water, dive back into the sea, and reemerge perhaps 20-30 yards from where they entered. I’ve heard stories of sailors on smaller boats, where the deck is closer to the water, being knocked out cold after they were whacked on the head by a flying fish! No, I’m not kidding.

Meanwhile, this past Sunday, when we were about 60 miles out from San Diego, we encountered an incredible oceanic feeding frenzy.

No doubt thousands of krill were just below the surface. You could see the disturbance on the surface of the water. Meanwhile, at least a hundred birds feasted atop the water while – no kidding – at least 100 small west-coast Porpoises herded the krill up toward the surface, while also forcing the smaller fish into a protective ball.

From our perspective, the dolphins’ behavior, as they splashed and leaped above the water, seemed to lack any coordinated purpose. However, we all know from watching those nature documentaries on TV that their attack on the krill was highly coordinated among, with each taking its turn to attack and feed upon their prey.

The water temperature here is 59 degrees – way too chilly (for me at least), to go diving with the dolphins. However, I hope that when we hit warmer climes, we’ll be able to do just that, scuba gear and all.

Meanwhile, only a certifiable idiot could spend more than a day at sea and not come away agreeing wholeheartedly with the point made in a recent National Geographic article. It urged us all to regard our oceans and what’s in them, not as commodities, but as communities in which we have a life-and-death stake.

According to National Geographic, more than 30 percent of the most popular eating fish populations are being dangerously depleted.

Equally disturbing is the phenomenon of “by-catch”. This involves the countless other species that poorly regulated fishing fleets outside the U.S. inadvertently (carelessly) catch, kill and dispose of, as they pursue more valuable eating fish.

No, I’m not an environmental whacko. We plan to catch fish on our journey, and to eat what we catch!

But I am a conservative, in the Teddy Roosevelt tradition. It was Republican Teddy (not his liberal cousin), who established our National Parks system not only to preserve their unspoiled beauty, but also to preserve the living things within them.

My point is simply this: When it comes to our oceans – and unless you prefer soy beans as a fish substitute – we – The United States – must play diplomatic and economic hardball with governments who fail to regulate their fishing industries at renewable levels.

The Global Adventure

Since our departure last Sunday, and despite the heavy seas we experienced until early this morning, our Nordhavn 55 has acquitted itself more than admirably.

We have now increased RPM to 1250, and we’re making a very satisfactory 7.4Kts. Once we reach the halfway point to Hawaii, we’ll make a final decision regarding whether have sufficient fuel remaining to crank up the engine even more.

Yahoo! I smell breakfast! Kate is our official cook, and she does a splendid job (Although I need to encourage her to cut back on the onions!) Meanwhile, Wolf, Rip and I do a splendid job of eating. It’s a culinary marriage made in heaven!



2 Comments so far

  1. John Sytsma on April 3, 2007 7:29 pm

    Hi Keith,

    Being an avid Nordhavn fan, I was perusing their site recently, when I came upon the link for your site. Nice job! I plan on following your journey as my time permits.

    Oh…by the way…one of your photos in The Global Adventure album – number 1_145, has a caption – “Keith Portside on the Portuguese Bridge” – shouldn’t that be the Starboard side? 🙂

    Anyway, I’m sure you are all having a blast! Some day, I hope I can follow in your footsteps, but for now, its just in my dreams!

    Smooth Seas!

    John Sytsma

    P.S. – I run the above site in my spare time, which, as is the case most of the time, there is very little of that!

  2. Dan Streech on April 4, 2007 9:46 pm

    Some years ago, PAE salesman Larry Gieselman was driving a Boston Whaler at night at high speed. A flying fish hit him in the forehead and almost knocked him out. We still laugh about it today, but also cringe at the thought of how it could have turned out if it had hit him in the eye or knocked him overboard.


    Those flying fish are amazing! We’ll keep our heads down! Thanks again for joining us on our April 1 radio show. Our Nordhavn is performing splendidly!


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