14 September 2006

Noon Position 14-Sep-2006

Tonga to Fiji, South Pacific Ocean

  • 16°52.3000"S/179°27.6000"W
  • 110nm last 24hrs
  • 341nm from Tonga
  • 70nm to Fiji
  • 10-15 knots E
  • 3ft E seas
Thursday night and we are still at sea. I knew dropping the hook today was too good to be true. However, we should be in tomorrow morning.

Not much excitment here on the Sandpiper. Tom has read almost 6 books in 5 days, I'm on my 3rd. The passage has been really calm, but I'm looking forward to passages being over and being in one place for a while.

We did have an exciting event last night, just after sunset. We were both in the cockpit talking about the pumice. Then all of sudden the boat slowed down and the water all around us looked like a thick chocolate shake. We turned on the spreader lights to get a better view, and we were surrounded by pumice. Way cool, and a little freaky too!

We'll be in Fiji tomorrow. So it may be a couple of days before you hear from us. Hope all is well with everyone at home.

Amy and Tom

Note From Ron: Most of the underwater volcanos are actually around Tonga, where Tom & Amy just left. Here is a list of all the Tonga volcanos, of which 8 are submarine (underwater). Tonga sits above the subduction zone where the heavy Pacific Tetonic Plate slides under the lighter Australia Tetonic Plate. This creates the deep Tonga Trench, the spot where the Pacific plate actually disappears under the Australian plate. And it creates the line of volcanos to the west of the trench, in Tonga, where the Pacific Plate is crushed, melted, and shoots back up to the surface through weak cracks in the Australia plate.

The lava that leaks out of these volcanos and vents is quickly cooled by the ocean. It then becomes pumice. It is very light and floats to the surface. The pumice is then pushed west, toward Fiji, by the tradewinds and the ocean currents.

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