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June 9, 2000

Tarawa to Solomon Islands voyage, Update #10

Date: Fri, 09 Jun 2000 23:48:00 -0700
Day 11
Wind E 5 knots
Heading 180 Magnetic

This is the first time I've sat on the front of the boat, out of the safety of the central cockpit area, and written the daily update. Normally the boat is lurching too wildly to be able to attempt to risk such a maneuver. The risk of losing our not inexpensive laptop PC - ruggedised for the salt-water environment - over the side would be too great. But today the surface of the ocean is like a mirror. It's definitely the place to be; riding the prow, tapping away at the keys while a mile above the ocean floor and 400 miles from land. Earlier in the day Chris and I jumped over the side for the first time of the voyage and spied a massive shoal of fish far beneath us, stretching out in all directions as far as our masks would allow us to see. Four hours later it is no doubt the same shoal now surrounding the boat in a 360 arc to the horizon, taken to the surface in a boiling morass of silver sides leaping full clear of the water. There must be literally hundreds of thousands of fish out there right now. Whether they're escaping predators from underneath, doing some strange fishy-mating thing or simply jostling for the night's bedding arrangements (as Chris just suggested), we have no idea. But it's truly a most spectacular sight. The sound they make collectively is like a river thundering in full flood.

10 minutes later: after about 20 minutes of this strange behaviour the whole lot suddenly disappeared as quickly as they arrived. As if on queue they all just vanished, snapping us rudely back into the silence that has characterised this very hot, airless day. It's as if the fish God heard our complaints of lack of life out here uttered earlier in the day and sent his salty squadrons to entertain us before sundown. But how did they all know when to start and to stop at exactly the same time (to the second) across over a mile of open water? Questions for us to chew over dinner tonight for sure.

Jason & Chris,
The Moksha motors

Posted on June 9, 2000 3:13 AM