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STILL on the way to Hawaii

Weather is clearing up a bit, but if anything it has gotten windier. For those of a nautical bent, we are solidly in Beaufort 7. Winds consistently between 30-35 mph, gusting higher. An advisory was put out to hold onto something when venturing out on deck. Not only are the decks slippery with spray, the combination of wind and ship heave can knock you down.

Of course I had to go out <grin>. I did avoid the bow area, staying about midship on the port rail where I could view most of the wave action up at the bow and still avoid most of the splash. Even the higher decks are getting spray now up at the bow. It was intense. A 35-40 mile wind cutting across the water with nothing for it to run into except you. Spray directly off the waves, not from the ship hitting the water, but grabbed right off the wave tops and flung along by the wind It stings when it hits.

The waves bouncing off the sides of the ship sometimes hit hard enough to lift the anchors on the sides of the ship. That is a big bang let me tell you. The biggest waves hit us almost head on, slightly to port. There is another longer swell from about 45 degrees to starboard. The different timing of these causes some interesting motions, but when they combine to crest and trough at once, we really dip and jump. The ship drops away from you, leaving you feeling weightless for a moment, then comes up strongly beneath you forcing you down towards the deck. The weightless feeling is great, but hang onto something for the next part.

And of course, the crew and older staff are still laughing at us. These are 20 foot waves. They describe 50 foot waves hitting this ship, where the water was flowing freely across the low center of the ship where the drill floor is, about 30 feet above sea level. The worst storm that hit the ship had waves at over 70 feet. They hit the front of the ship hard enough to blow the windows into the bridge, at over 60 feet above sea level. Two people were lashed together with a long tether and went out and nailed plywood from the outside to protect the bridge so they could continue to steer. A lot of stories around about that trip, some of our current crew and staff were there. Guess they have a reason to laugh at these waves.

This means that the ship is bouncing around even more, and going slower. We have a high wind profile unfortunately and headwinds of this strength cut heavily into our speed. They are now estimating a 6-12 hour delay in arrival, now getting to Hawaii about mid-day on the 5th instead of in the early morning. No real difference to me as I continue working with the ship and training the new oncoming crew until the 9th.

Bouncing or smooth, makes no difference so long as I am heading home.

Posted by pafrag 13:28

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