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Floating around

A few days ago, I can’t seem to recall which day specifically as I am only now making some time to write about it, but earlier in the trip we stopped the ship! I didn’t know it was possible to do such a thing with a full set of sails up, but then again, I am not an experienced sailor nor have I taken enough time to study the physics of wind. Now that I do know, it makes sense. Stopping the ship, also called heaving to, is done by backing the mainmast through bracing. The sails of the foremast push us forward, the main pushes us backward. As a result, the ship stops. And it does, which really hit me during coffee break, as I was glaring at the water, kind of expecting it to move past us as usual. Except it did not and we were just floating around. This shouldn’t have surprised me as the command was literally “we are going to stop the ship”, but there is something surreal about not moving anywhere when all the sails are set.  

In the past, the crew has taken a lot of sails down for the sake of science, and it was nice to have another department cause a lot of sail handling for once. 

Yesterday the ship was brought to a halt again. This time, the opportunity was used for a swimming stop. It was the perfect afternoon. The sun was out, high in the sky, there was a gentle breeze and everyone was very excited. Almost everyone was swimming or sunbathing on deck; it was the perfect afternoon at sea.  

This morning the weather has changed again, making yesterday feel like a daydream. We are sailing between squalls. We are following one, and are being followed by one. Being surrounded by rain cells makes us appreciate the sunny moments onboard even more. Now, just after a morning coffee break, one of the squalls has finally caught us. 

As I am writing this, rain is tumbling down, but the wind is nowhere to be found. We braced a few times, trying to respond to the little wind present, but the wind direction kept changing. As a result, we are sailing in circles under a blanket of dark clouds. The manta trawl is lying on deck, waiting for better circumstances. Our average speed of 1.5 knots, is too slow for science. The crew is now standing on deck in full weather gear, ready to take sails away in case it is necessary. There is something so cozy about it, all of us, outside in the rain, staring at the sails, coffee in hand, wondering what the weather will bring us next. 

Geschreven door:
Marretje Adriaanse | Researcher

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