Transatlantic Sea Day Logs: Day 7 of 9
February 21, 2022. 84 °F/29°C
As so often is the case on sea days, mine started with a lecture, this time Michael Bradley’s fascinating talk about navigation in Polynesia during the early spread of people onto those islands. The idea that wooden canoes under sail, their construction lashed together with coconut fibre, some of them with an outrigger that made them look a bit like modern catamarans, moved people thousands of miles across the Pacific is frankly terrifying (so is the concept of the Vikings crossing the north Atlantic in their ships, frankly).
Navigation was done with no “equipment”, not even a sextant, but instead used collected knowledge of wind, waves, ocean swells, and the flight habits of birds.
Birds do 2 things: (1) they tell you where fish are, and (2) their flight direction tells you where land is. In the morning, birds fly FROM land to fish; in the afternoon, birds fly TOWARD their nest on land!
Fun fact: the constellation we call Orion, is in Hawaiian called “Cat’s Cradle”. Find a picture of Orion and you can see why!
Mike also shared pictures of boats currently being built using the original specifications and mostly original materials. Interesting was his anecdote that the stretchy natural fibre ropes used by the Hawaiians to rig their sails actually has an advantage over using modern ropes or steel cables that don’t stretch, because in a strong gust of wind, the sail itself would be able to flex, rather than the entire boat tipping and dumping its passengers.
At noon today, the ship had set up an onboard county fair! Each department on the ship created a “booth” with various contests and games, my favourite of which was the Housekeeping Department’s towel folding event (I made an elephant). The scariest booth belonged to the engine crew; any activity requiring goggles, helmets and a safety vest can’t be good! (It ended up being hammering a nail, and assembling nuts and bolts.) The grossest booth belonged to the Restaurant staff, who had a “guessing” booth: put your hand into a box whose contents you can’t see, and guess what’s inside. I thought I’d lucked out when the person in front of me got the bowl of cold creamed spinach, but then I got a thin slice of raw meat floating in liquid (that I incorrectly guessed was a wet cleaning cloth). Eww.
Of course the Food & Beverage Department went all out with county fair treats: freshly made spiral potato chips on skewers, corn dogs, and fresh hot beignets. Naturally there were lots of colourful drinks being passed around along with tall glasses of cold beer. The Viking Band provided live music to add to the festive mood.
Each passenger had the opportunity to pick up a “Chilean passport” (an in joke, since passemgers and crew worked for weeks to obtain our Chilean vaccine passports, and then we were not ever asked to show them) which, if stamped at every booth, could then be entered into a prize draw.
At 3:10 p.m. we crossed the Equator again, making us all eligible to wear a gold hoop in EACH ear and put BOTH feet on the table while eating! Captain Olav suggested we anticipate a bump as we traversed the “line” on the globe.
On to dinner at Manfredi’s with Karin and Allan, which is always a fun way to spend an evening.
After dinner, magician/comedian Greg Moreland performed his second show of the crossing. We’ve seen lots of magicians on TV, and a few live, but none of them ever made us laugh as much as Greg. Oooooooh….Ahhhhhhh.