Sea Log 17th, 18th 19th June
We are well and truly in the tropics now, and the days are significantly warmer and noticeably more humid. We have maintained a steady speed of 11.3 knots and expect to be at the entrance to Torres Strait at 22:00 hours on Wednesday 20th.
Noon on the 17th had us at latitude 19° 45.8’ South, Longitude 155° 35.4’ East.
Noon on the 18th had us at latitude 16° 34.0’ South, Longitude 151° 53.9’ East.
Noon on the 19th had us at latitude 13° 26.5’ South, Longitude 148° 34.2’ East.
After working in the equatorial tropic regions for over 10 years, the heat and humidity do not bother me too much. Although I sweat freely, I seem to thrive where most other white men wilt. I do keep up my fluid intake though, well over 2 litres per day.
Everyone is feeling better now that the bad weather is but a distant memory. The only spanner in the works is that our air conditioning system packed up totally on the 18th.
The chief engineer recharged it with gas twice in two days, but there is obviously a significant leak in the system that he has not been able to locate. The result being, we are without cooling on board, other than the two small independent units on the bridge and in the engine control room. It is more than a wee bit warm inside the accommodation, and there will be no respite next week. It will get even hotter then, as we pass North of Flores, getting up to latitude 8 degrees South.
Sitting here at my computer writing this, I have sweat running down my face and neck. No one is getting a restful sleep at all I surmise.
As anticipated, the weather has continued from the ESE at 20 knots throughout the passage. This is almost from directly astern, so is no doubt assisting our speed in some small way, however is doing nothing to pass a cooling breeze through the open accommodation.
We undertook some routine safety drills on Sunday. Abandon ship, Fire fighting and a talk about ship board security. Although there is a recognized piracy problem in Indonesia, it should not be an issue on the route we are taking. There is a greater risk of piracy closer to Singapore, centred around Batam & Bintan Islands. However it is prudent to take overnight lock down precautions regardless, as we have a very low freeboard and would be seen as an easy and soft target to board.
We also undertook a statutory emergency steering drill this morning. It was operationally functional, however as is similar on most ships, virtually impossible to maintain a prescribed course. Regardless of the practicalities of the system, the log book will dutifully recall that the emergency steering system was tested and found to be operationally functional. All satisfactory.
One would not really want to have to steer the vessel for any length of time from the steering flat.
Other than for one unfortunate flying fish being washed up on to our stern roller in the heavy weather and another smaller one today, the results of the fishing have been abysmal. Not a single strike so far on our lure, in spite of them being trolled from dawn to dusk. Due to us being in the open sea in very deep water, there are possibly not many fish around here.
At 11½ knots we are also possibly going too fast to really have much hope of getting a strike, other than from a passing Wahu.
The 2nd mate completed constructing a multi coloured lure yesterday, so I put it over the stern today (19th). The only creatures showing a keen interest in them are a pair of mature yellow headed Gannets swooping low astern of us as they complete great arching loops around the vessel. There was four pair of them circling the lures this evening.
They are certainly a long way from their home at the Muriwai cliffs rookery.
I received an email from IM today. He is flying out to join the GO Capella today, sister ship to the GO Canopus. A very small world. The last time we sailed simultaneously on sister ships would possibly have been the Ngapara and Ngahere, over three decades ago.
Signing off from the Coral Sea, 300 miles South East of Torres Strait.