14 March 2008

2008-Mar-14 Noon Position

Arabian Sea

  • 117 nm last 24 hrs
  • 167 nm to Salalah, Oman
  • 1259 nm from Uligamu, Maldives
  • Winds N 0 knots
  • Seas F.A.C 0 feet
Dead Calm...0 knots of wind and flat glassy seas. Not what we were hoping for. Today the seas are the calmest we have ever seen. Not even a ripple on the surface. It is so calm we can look straight down into the ocean and see all kinds of sea life as we putt along. Millions of jelly fish of all different sizes. The only thing we caught on our fishing line was 2 jellies.

At night the phosphorescence in the water is super bright. The porpoises like to swim along Sandpiper at night, and with the phosphorescence being so bright, it makes them one large glowing ball. When I was on watch the other night each porpoise had a 20 foot glowing circle of water around them. It is was quite weird as I could see them zooming around a 1/2 mile away in their circles of light.

We were supposed to have NE winds this whole route. Instead, we have done a lot more motoring than anticipated. One great design on Sandpiper is her large fuel and water tanks. This is the only 35 foot boat that I have seen that has 180 gallon fuel tanks. While other boats cruising out here have fuel jugs tied all over their decks, we have plenty of stowage below for our liquid load. We topped off in Sri Lanka and we are now at half full on both tanks. We will probably have to motor the rest of the way to Oman.

It seems that we never see anybody during the day. I am not sure where everyone goes in day light, or where they hide their nets. But at night we always seem to be surrounded by them. At midnight last night we saw several lights off on the horizon and heard a ship on VHF CH16 talking to a fishing boat trying to get around his nets. I called the ship because we could not hear the fisherman's side of the conversation. He gave me his position as I did not want to tangle up with a net. It turns out that there are drift net fisherman out here and the ship I was talking to was trying to get around a net that 6 miles long!

This is the first time we have run into drift net fisherman. I am pretty sure it had been banned years ago as it is such a destructive fishing method. But who is going to enforce this ban out in these waters? Drift nets sit on the surface and go below the surface for about 20 feet. They are very long, some 20 miles long, and catch everything in sight... birds, turtles, sharks, and fish. Everything is killed. What the fishing boat is not targeting is thrown back into the water dead.

I thought we were passed these fisherman and cleared one boat less then a mile away. Amy took the watch, and just as I got below she yells out "There's a net out here!". We ran parallel along a net, and then it went off in the other direction with no boats in sight. I am not sure how we missed this one, or where the ends were. But I did hear the last time the ship talking to the fishing boat that the fishing boat told him to use a spotlight to follow his net as the ship was getting quite frustrated trying to get around the net an hour later. He told the fisherman next time to put out a smaller net. We are hoping to be clear of these guys tonight as we are now within 200 miles of Oman and now in Oman's fisheries waters.

Each night it seems to be getting a bit chillier. After months on the equator we are now wearing cloths we have not worn in some time. Amy and I were both in sweat shirts hooded up while I was sipping a hot chocolate trying to figure how cold it was. I was thinking it was freezing outside. I went below and looked at the thermometer. It read 75 degrees. We must be spoiled. Not sure how we are going to make it through a winter anywhere away from the equator.

S/V Shiraz pulled into Oman today and we are hoping to be in by Sunday morning.

More in 24,
Tom and Amy

No comments: