On-board Diary: The winds are back. Tuesday, May 24th, 2005
Author: Xavier Pastor
Date: May 24, 2005
Winds came back three or four days ago, along with a storm we have been trying to circle around and keep at length from it. In general, winds followed a Northeast direction, at 20 knots, sometimes increasing up to 30 knots. We advance at full sail again. When Bibi, Sole and Jose were on guard duty, the Ranger reached a speed of 10 knots, despite the fact that the wind direction is not particularly in our favor. If someone is following the route of our ship on the tracking system-which sometimes freezes up, as we were been told-will be able to see the Oceana Ranger slightly wiggling around the Atlantic, on occasions shifting to Northeast direction when the situation allows, to be able to take advantage of winds following that direction, or going down in Southeastern direction and then make port in Azores. The Gulf current probably helps by pushing us with a force just below one knot.
The truth is this ship is trustworthy. It firmly endures the force of the sea, although some of the waves that get between the two hulls hit with impressive force on the inner side, right where someone usually rests the head when sleeping. As David the mechanic mumbled the other day in his American accent:”If Steve was onboard, he would be proud of the ship the chose”.
One job is not at all comfortable in this circumstance is to work with computers. Keeping one’s eyes fixed on the screen is not pleasant, so we try doing it as little as possible these days. We are less eloquent and communicative with the outside, at least in writing.
Nevertheless, several times a day we establish radio communications with other ships navigating throughout the Atlantic, and even through other oceans. It is a forum where we exchange information on positions, wind intensity and direction, state of the high seas, situation onboard and any other data that may be of interest to those who navigate. Day after day, we form relations with crewmembers onboard ships traveling hundreds-sometimes thousands-of miles away from the Ranger. The most experienced crew members in our ship often recognize the names of friends or acquaintances they met in other trips.
It is particularly interesting to participate in “La Rueda de los Navegantes” initiative created by Rafael Del Castillo, almost two decades ago, broadcasting from Palmas de Gran Canaria, where dozens of ships routinely participate every night at 22:00 UTC. For many of those ships, weather predictions and other data they gather from La Rueda are vital to their comfort and safety.
Motors are unnecessary again since a few days ago. Yesterday, Nuño gave instructions to bind some sail on the main sail mast, because the wind intensity recommended reducing sail. It was not a difficult maneuver, but it was worthy of notice observing the different attire of crew members working on deck, compared to what photographs showed barely two weeks ago. T shirts, shorts and caps have been changed for polar linings, wool hats and water proof clothes. The north Atlantic is not giving, not even in May. But we are coming closer to Azores and after that, to the Mediterranean summer, and their illegal fishing boats.
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