The Twilight Zone

Yesterday afternoon we experienced some significant tidal flow as we passed through and by the channels between the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean. At one point we had more than four knots of current helping us along. We also had some tide that slowed us down but so far we are winning more than we are losing.

Late in the day we crossed Unimac Strait, the eastern most shipping lane through the Aleutians. There was a lot of traffic there, and we altered course to cross the shipping lane quickly and stay out of the way. We spoke to a couple of ships headed west to determine where they were going and what they were carrying. One was going from Long View, Washington to a port near Hong Kong carrying soybeans. Perhaps Lori's cousin Ron Williams, a Portland grain trader, arranged that cargo? They said their route was the shortest distance between the two ports. We were surprised to hear that the great circle course took them this far north.

Later in the evening i was awakened be what sounded like a bag of marbles rolling around in the port stabilizer. I went up to the wheel house to tell Don, but he could hear it there as well and he confirmed that we'd snagged some kelp on the fin. Sometimes the kelp dislodges itself so he gave it a half hour, and then tried backing

Starr down to get rid of it without success. After another half hour of powering the kelp eventually came off, but I think there is still a piece of stalk lodged between the fin and the hull because the stabilizer squeaks now whim it turns. Maybe Clay, who is known to go swimming in water that is too cold to drink, will volunteer to go in to remove it the next time we stop?

I volunteered for the midnight to 3AM watch since I didn't have a night watch during our crossing from Hawaii. Looks like I don't have a night watch this time either. When I came up to the wheel house for my shift I found Starr moseying along in the twilight with more than forty miles of visibility. The cloudless sky was crystal clear, and abeam I could see Mount Shishaldin, a 9,372 foot high active volcano smoking away as we passed. The wind had died down to about ten knots from the north, and since we were protected in that direction by Unimac Island, the eastern most of the Aleutian Islands, the seas were calm.

Shortly after I came on watch we entered an area that was full of drift net boats, dozens of them. We altered course to avoid the fleet, but it was nerve wracking as more and more of them kept popping up around us on the radar. Some of them did not have any lights on. We were told that their nets can be almost a half mile long

Clay got excited when he saw his first star since leaving Oahu more than 2,000 miles and two weeks ago. It has been nearly complete overcast at night until tonight.

At 3AM, after leaving the drift net fleet behind, we entered a new world of wind, chop, and dense fog. The fog blocked out the twilight and it felt like sitting in a closet. It was navigation and collision avoidance solely by instrument, something this Hawaiian boy has never done before. An hour later we sailed out of the fog bank into clear skies and the approaching dawn.

 
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Comments

rcbeltz 6/12/2018
SUBJECT: Re: The Twilight Zone > On Jun 12, 2018, at 9:45 AM, Starr''s Blog wrote: > >
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