Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jeff saves the day

Day 2: 1/22/08
Our noon position: Longitude: 2024.570 N, Latitude: 15813.145 W

Continuing on our westward course. Steady winds have been propelling us along at 6-10 knots – a fair clip for those unaccustomed to thinking in nautical terms.
Question: how do we calculate a nautical mile? Weather conditions should remain constant for a few more days, 4-5 foot waves, gently heaving swells dotted with whitecaps, warm, sunny skies.
Though today held relatively little in the way of debris – winds were still too powerful to sample - it was far from uneventful. Beginning with our Sashimi catch for the day…We hooked a sizable bull Mahi Mahi that took considerable patience, 4 crew members, and serious muscle to reel in. Having never seen Mahi Mahi outside of a restaurant, I was struck by its beauty - bright iridescent emerald-yellow, with a flat, bull-shaped head.

Upon finally hauling it on deck, we noticed a perfect bite mark, tell tale signs of a cookie cutter shark. Question: how big are cookie cutter sharks, and what is their primary prey? Perhaps we hooked his dinner right from his mouth…..

Ship happenings
Boats require constant maintenance, as all boat owners know. Today was no exception. Faulty welding back in Hilo had burned a hole in our hull, into which a steady stream of water was trickling. “This could be a problem” is not a phrase one hopes to hear from the Captain….
Fortunately, our nimble boat monkey Jeff was able to fix the problem, squeezing into an uncomfortably tight space, and patching the hole with epoxy glue. Many high fives and relieved smiles were thrown his way. Kudos!

Lessons Learned
Though we may not have had direct encounters today with marine debris, the lessons drawn from today’s main events – catching a fish, and dealing with boat repairs, can be applied metaphorically to larger issues.

The Mahi Mahi was a reminder that we depend entirely on the natural world for our food, our sustenance, and our survival. The ocean appears limitless, yet as we will see in a few days, our human impact travels far and wide;
And the boat repairs reminded us that everything requires maintenance - our bodies, our vehicles, and most importantly, our ecosystems. (Question for students: what is the second law of thermodynamics? How might we apply this to the statement above?). If we want to continue coexisting on this planet, we need to begin treating it with the care we often reserve for prized personal possessions.
Tomorrow, we'll provide some more background on what we plan to study in the gyre. In the meantime:
Aloha from the Captain and the Crew of ORV Alguita.


T-Birds said...

Have a safe voyage

ORV Alguita said...

Edwards Middle School,
Great to have you back!!! Go ahead and sign in under "School Introductions." (If you have any troubles with that you can email me at And thank you for the message! I will send it along to the crew!
-Holly Gray-
ORV Alguita Support Coordinator

ORV Alguita said...

Questions from Burbank Middle School

What is a cookie cutter
shark? What do you eat besides fish? Have you seen a
Guadalupe fish or any kinds of jellyfish?
Who is the oldest person on board? Have you been
attacked by a shark aboard the Alguita? Good Luck and
God Bless!
Burbank Middle School January 24, 2008

T-Birds said...

Hello Ship to Shore

I was just wondering if you knew how much the mahi mahi weighed.

Here in North Carolina we have a fishing competition called "The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament" which takes place in beautiful Morehead City. This year happens to be the 50th anniversary.

In this competition, all different kinds of fish are weighed in (but the grand prize is the blue marlin because of its size). Your mahi mahi looks huge compared to some Ive seen ( I worked there last summer).

Thank you.
Edwards Middle School T-Birds

Anonymous said...

Animo Leadership Charter High School
1155 W. Arbor Vitae st.
Inglewood Ca. 90301