Logbook Entry 7 - Easter Island to French Polynesia

11 Mar 2018

 

TOTAL MILES TRAVELED ON SAIL to SEE EXPEDITION: 6,998 (Nautical Miles) 

 

THE LAST PASSAGE

Total Miles traveled on last passage:

1,480 NM

 

Miles traveled using SAILS – WIND POWER ONLY:

334 NM

 

Miles traveled using both SAILS & ENGINES together: 869 NM

 

Miles traveled using ENGINES – FOSSIL FUELS ONLY: 277 NM

 

 

 

Ship Sightings: zero  [There are no major shipping lanes in this area]

 

Animal Sightings in Pacific Ocean:

Frigatebird**, Flying Fish**, Long-tailed Tropicbirds, Squid, Brown Booby

 

**Check out Logbook Entry 6 for some fun facts about the Frigatebird and Flying Fish!

 

VOS Reports Filed:

8 VOS (Voluntary Observing Ship) weather reports were filed with NOAA on this passage through our satellite communications. 

 

Average Air Temperature: 82 f/27.7 c

 

Average Sea Temperature: 82 f/27.6 c

 

Science & Math Side Note:

Many devices have been invented to accurately measure temperature. The most common is a thermometer, which is an example of technology built on the observation that the properties of certain liquids (e.g. mercury) change with changing temperature.  For example, when it is hot the red liquid inside the glass tube will expand.  Because the red liquid is confined in the tube, the only place for it to expand is up so will therefore appear to 'rise' in the tube.  The opposite happens when it is cold.  These changes in liquid height are only meaningful because the tube is mounted on a backboard that is marked in units called degrees.  This is the temperature scale.  In the early years of the eighteenth century, Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686-1736) created the Fahrenheit scale. He set the freezing point of water at 32 degrees and the boiling point at 212 degrees. These two points formed the anchors for his scale.

 

 

Many other things in nature change in response to changing temperature, such as chemical reactions, plant growth, and animal behavior.  Did you know that the unmistakable sound of cricket chirps can be used to accurately predict temperature?  Read more about why and how this works so you can try this at home!    (Hint: a cricket is a cold-blooded insect!)

 

 

 

 

Challenge Questions:

1. Why does Elcie report temperature measurements in 2 different units - fahrenheit (f) and celcius (c)?

 

2.  These temperature scales are related.  Using the formula provided, convert the following measurements:

 

  • 32 degrees f  = ____ c

  • 80 degrees f  = ____ c

  • 5 degrees  c  = ____ f

 

Strongest Wind:

27 Knots (knots are a wind measurement of Nautical Miles per hour) 

 

PASSAGE NOTES:

 

After a great stay in Easter Island, we set off early in the morning on our next passage, which was about half the length of the previous one. Again, the wind was very light and the seas were very calm; we kept trying to find enough of a breeze to sail by, but we ended up having to rely on the engines once more. We had a tight schedule to keep; one of our crew members had a flight to catch, so we had to make sure we kept on moving.

 

One night, at about 1am, we ran into a rainstorm. Fresh water can be difficult to come by, so the crew on watch hurried to put buckets down where the rain was running off the roof and collect the water! We all got soaked – it was difficult to guess where the water was going to come surging down, and we always ended up standing in the wrong place! We ended up using the water to wash some of our clothes, as we didn’t know where we were going to find the next laundromat.

 

 

However, for most of the passage the ocean was what we call “glassy” – so calm and still that the water reflected the sky like glass. This is amazing at night when even the stars are reflected on the water. We even found some time to go for a little swim in the middle of the ocean. Looking down into the deep blue sea, which stretched down for miles, was a little scary for some, but it was such a refreshing stop after nearly a week on the boat.

 

 

 

After 6 days at sea, we caught sight of our next stop: Pitcairn Island.

 

Even though Pitcairn is only about 3 miles square, it has one of the most infamous histories of the Pacific. In 1789, the crew of an English ship HMS Bounty forced their captain, and a number of his supporters, onto a small boat (launch) and cast him out into the middle of the ocean. The mutineers who remained on the boat, led by a man called Fletcher Christian, eventually made their way to the small, uninhabited Pitcairn Island and started a new life there in 1790. The Bounty settlers found the first few years on Pitcairn very difficult, and many of them were killed after arguments, or fell to their deaths from the island’s high cliffs. In fact, many of the island’s place names tell tales of this grizzly history – Where Dick Fall, Stone People Fight For, and Break im Hip are all reminders of what happened on the island hundreds of years ago.  The island’s current inhabitants are almost all descendants of the mutineers and their Tahitian "companions" (e.g. wives and slaves).

 

 Historical Side Note:

Against all odds the captain William Bligh survived more than 3,500 miles at sea to reach the home shores of England.  Just months after his return he published the book Narrative of the Mutiny recounting the legendary journey in the overloaded, under-provisioned 23-foot launch.  He was hailed a national hero, and his vow for justice led to a years-long, and often tragic, search for the mutineers.  Ten mutineers were captured and returned to England to face court-martial in September, 1792.   Check out this site for more gripping historical information about the real people, the testimonies, and outcomes of one of the most famous trials in English history. 

 

Challenge question: 

What is the difference between the words 'famous' and 'infamous'?

 

Cultural Side Note:

The mutiny on HMS Bounty has captured the interest and imagination of people around the world for hundreds of years!  Many books and movies portrayed these events.  While entertaining, historical accuracy is sometimes lacking!  The first known film, The Mutiny of the Bounty, is a 1916 Australian-New Zealand silent film, but is sadly considered "lost".  Later films are still available and feature some of the most revered actors of their time including Clark Gable (1935), Marlon Brando (1962), and Mel Gibson & Anthony Hopkins (1984). 

 

The Elcie crew were greeted in Bounty Bay by the friendly islanders. They offered us necklaces made from shells and seeds found on the island, and drove us to the Adamstown town square on quadbikes.

 

The islanders were hosting a big dinner that evening to say goodbye to a visiting ambassador, where everyone brought along a dish of food to share with the whole island, so we made sure we also had something to offer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since we had an afternoon on the island before the meal, we all went for a walk to stretch our legs after the passage. Some of our crew headed up to Christian’s Cave, where Fletcher Christian is said to have spent a lot of time thinking about his fate, and keeping a lookout for ships. The climb up was steep, but we managed to scramble up to the top and see the view from the cave. I wanted to head up to the Highest Point of the island, where a signpost told me how far I was from my home in London - nearly 15,000 km (9,320 miles) away!

 

The meal in the evening brought the whole island to the Adamstown town square. A long table was filled with different dishes and platters, and we all shared stories with the islanders. The ambassador made a short speech and said grace before the meal, and everyone tucked into all the delicious food on display. After eating, a group of the islanders unpacked their guitars and ukuleles and started to play, and before long several of the islanders – and even some of the Elcie crew – were singing along to the music! The night also gave us a chance to listen to some of the local language, called Pitkern. It’s a mix of Polynesian, Old English and boat slang and is unique to the island.

 

The next day, we decided to visit St Paul’s Pool, which several of the people at the dinner recommended to us. This is a large pool, around 75 feet long and up to 10 feet deep, which is continuously filled up by the waves breaking over the pool’s rocky sides. After another long, steep walk to the pool itself, we took a long swim to look at the various fish and corals in the crystal blue water. We had fun exploring all the corners of the pool, trying to keep out of the way of the waves crashing over the sides.

 

We made it back to Bounty Bay in time to watch the Pitcairners launch the old metal boats that they use to take tourists to and from the cruise ships that visit the island. Again, it seemed like the whole island had come to watch the launch, so we had lots of goodbyes to say as we too were leaving soon. The islanders were so generous – they gave us what seemed like hundreds of passion fruits, avocados, bananas, pineapples and even a pumpkin. Fresh fruit is so valuable when we’re at sea, and it was appreciated by all the crew.

 

In the evening, we set our sails and headed off to the Gambiers in French Polynesia, about 300 miles to the Northwest. Our stay in Pitcairn was very short, but an incredible opportunity to visit and learn about the island and it's unique culture. We’re all looking forward to the adventures that the next leg brings! 

 

Here is Emma's latest video - adventures on Pitcairn Island...

 

 

 

COUNTRY FACTS

 

Official Name: Pitcairn Island

Population: 52

Area: 2 Sq Miles / 3 Sq Km

Main Town: Adamstown

Type of Government: Governed by a Local Mayor, as a dependency of the United Kingdom

Currency: New Zealand Dollar

Language: English, Pitkern

Highest Point: Highest Point (347 m)

Climate: tropical marine 

Economy: Tourist-based

Major Exports: None

Natural Hazards: earthquakes, tsunamis 

Country Flag

 

Interesting Facts:

1) Out of all of the original Bounty mutineers on the island, only one (John Adams) is buried on the island itself. All of the others either left the island or perished on the cliffs, their bodies swept out to sea.

 

2) The population of Pitcairn hit it's peak in the 1930s, when 200 people lived on the island. Since then, it's dwindled to about 50.  Due to an aging population, the island is actively looking for new settlers as part of the official 2014-2019 Repopulation Plan.  Even though land is free and ideal year-round temperatures (60-86 degrees Fahrenheit), only one person to date has applied for a visa.

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