We are ‘Flying’ across The Pacific!

One Point Zero
Howard Fairbank
Thu 1 Sep 2016 23:52

ANL Bindaree's position today:      14:41.70N 134:34.70W
'>From the Bridge'
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                            Typical rain squalls that come and go!                             Stacked containers that give me a Free Footprint ticket!

If I’d flown, I’d be ‘there’ by now!  But missed The whole Journey, hey!  What is The Journey….?  Were humans supposed to fly?  Why do we need to move so fast all the time?  Ha-ha, just reminding ya all that I’m exploring our relationship with Nature?  (See yesterday’s blog about relationships with Nature!)

But today's blog is short and just about life in the now....... Here on the Big Ocean!

Sunny skies and star filled skies are here…. well, for a while anyway, things are always changing out here!!  It’s really hot, and the equator is only about two days away now!  The ‘brochure’ said there was a swimming pool on board, but this has proved to only be a reference to the big blue around us!  Damn, how nice that would ‘have’ been…. Simplicity, simplicity, Howard!! 

Today we crossed the exact point where the eye of Hurricane Lester passed through about two days ago, with 100mph winds and 6m waves not far from its centre!!  Quite astonishing hey, as the sea is back to the ‘tranquil Trade Wind swell’ and there is no sign of any rampage!  

You guys with CNN, BBC, etc. probably know more about all this then me who is just hundreds of miles from Lester and Madeline.  The weather charts show Madeline passing just south of Hawaii's Big Island today, and then Lester passing further away tomorrow on the north of the Big Island. Let’s hold thumbs for those in Hawaii, that they are ‘untouched’…??  It’s quite unusual to have two Hurricanes so close together, and so nearby.

Today was Engine room day, and I spent a few hours in the hot steamy, noisy sauna room, under deck! 
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                         Chief Engineer Adrian Gradeanu (Romania)                                   His Domain: The Engineer's Control Room  

There are nine people who work on the Engine / auxiliaries side, who are responsible for the reliable and efficient running of this pretty complex ‘village’.  The engine is a huge 9 cylinder 44 100 BHP ‘beast’, made under license in Korea for MAN International.  Apparently most ships engines are this make, with a Swiss company the second, albeit much smaller supplier.  Fuel usage is about 70 tons, or 60 000 litres a day at the 17.5 knots (32 km/h) speed we are currently traveling! 

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                                        Mhai and ‘his’ Engine!                                                                                      A spare piston, two stories high! 

Amazingly, each day the ship makes 30 000 litres of fresh water a day, from sea water.  This, using the heat from the engine and a vacuum boiler with no external power involved.  Humans being humans want stuff in abundance and we use it all so the decks get washed almost daily!   A UK study showed that on average UK people use some 56 litres of water a day, of which some 40 % is hot water!   That takes me back to The Boundary Waters a few weeks back with my friend Imi, when I was down to maybe 3 litres a day!  Read here

So how is life on board going Howard?  Well to be honest, it’s a mixture of solitary bliss and bordering on social sterility!  I do miss not having fellow passengers who are not in this ‘I work here and just put up with it', mindset.  Yesterday I had the Chief Engineer join me as the only other person at my dinner table and I tried my very best to be warm, friendly and sharing, but after many angles with just no response back, I capitulated and we sat for maybe 15 minutes eating and saying nothing.  Having my extrovert side, I find this very tough and abnormal in the presence of another human.  I was hesitant about meeting him for the engine room tour this morning but on arrival and showing him I knew something and could ask intelligent questions, he became a changed man and we had a great discussion, albeit just about engines, ships and maintenance!  He enjoyed it so much he wanted the photo of him above taken.  I had similar experiences on Cap Capricorn, and realize these people are working, and to them passengers are lazy, stupid about ships and crazy to be coming by ship!  Once I demonstrate that I don’t fit that mold and am interested in their lives and know a bit about about what they do, they do a complete 180!  This has happened with at least three other guys on this trip, to the point they now look forward to seeing me for a chat either at midnight, 3am or 6am…!   As with all humans, as one gets to know someone at a human to human level we see surprisingly how much soul level overlap there really is!  This takes effort, so is tiring, but also has been rewarding. 

The solitary bliss has been very challenging, but also rewarding.  Dealing with this One Point Zero activism path and the maze of contributing problems above me is daunting.  I’m trying to work out if and how I can play a real contributing role in all this.  Two days ago I started reading Daniel Quinn’s book, “Ismael” and his conclusions about humanity are almost exactly mine.  This makes me feel a cocktail of emotions.....hope, excitement, sadness, and in the context of my 6 weeks in the USA, a huge sense of betrayal and disillusionment.  

I’m beginning to get a real sense that ‘everybody knows ‘the myth’ of ‘The Success’ western development, and knows it’s a crime and yet just carries on seemingly ‘chained in captivity’ to its destiny!  (If you haven’t read this blog already you may find it strikes some chords?)  So yes, a whole lot of very important inner work going on ‘out here’ and this is ‘serious fun’!

This absolutely ‘Free Space’ on the ship is quite extraordinary for doing this reflection stuff and being able to pop up to the bridge for a break and chat provides a great formula in many ways.  Anyway we have a big Equator crossing party coming up soon.......  

The plan is to celebrate the crossing with an outside BBQ on the outside deck on ‘B’ level!  I sense this feeling of ‘something to look forward to’, by all the crew I speak to and for Felix and Adonis in the galley, preparation has already begun!  It’s a time when it’s OK to have alcohol in ‘public’ so all is set for an interesting Neptune party!  Like last equator crossing, but now more so, I’m hoping Neptune will arrive with a mermaid Fiona!! (It’s been a few months away now, and we all know what happens…!!)

The main accommodation tower is a serious eight storeys high!  That, from what they call the first upper deck level. (Everything below that is ‘under deck’ and without sky or horizon view!)  I’m on ‘D’ level, the gym on ‘C’ level, Galley on ‘A’, and the door to outside walking and freedom is on the Upper Deck level. The bridge is obviously at the top level, so all in all, one does a huge amount of ‘vertical travel’ each day!  Like the last trip I’m committed to ‘no elevator’ travel, so I know the staircase pretty well!

Lots of flying fish, and a few lone birds soaring on the swells just add the final touch to the special-ness of this vast open 'Oceanness'.

There we go, just a simple 'Ship Blog' today!  Tomorrow we will head to the United Nations, and talk about Focus. In preparation, you may find this article and its links to UN related documents very interesting.  Enjoy!  

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Remember I’m not Flying for Sustainability Reasons!