Monday, April 18, 2011


There are certain things you don't like to hear "hofficers" on boats discussing.  Things like: "How long do you think we can stay afloat?" And "Do you really think it's cholera?"  One other is "Whatever you do keep away from the whirlpools!" Michael was deep in conversation about our journey today.  Suzuki-san and also Scott were leaving Sunday - jumping ship? - in order to return to their families.  Eiko and Jasmine were taking their places.  Once I heard the whirlpool thing I wondered if Jassie, as a seven-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had the skill to help us avoid this upcoming danger.
Jasmine, our new bosun's mate

It seemed that as we were about to bid farewell to the great Pacific and enter the Inland Sea. we had to pass under the Onarutu Bashi Bridge.  There is a twelve foot drop in levels during tides and even more during Spring tides which we are currently in.  Ha ha!  It was critical that we pass under the bridge at 8 a.m or a few minutes either side of it.  With 30 miles to make this time, we needed to leave at 4 a.m.  In fact we left at 3:45 under darkened skies and lots of fishing boats around us with green, white and red lights as their beacons.
But not only is there a current to deal with, there is the problem of whirlpools and even at 8 tons, Milestone would not appreciate being caught up in one of those.
Roiling water under the bridge

We arrived at the bridge at 7:45, and as we closed the gap up to the center archway, we could see the roiling water all over the place. One could only imagine what it would be like at the rush.  We were in what passed for slack water as we went through.

The whirlpools were everywhere to the sides, and we shot through the stage at over 12 knots - 50% more than our maximum speed, but with the incoming tide we were through and ready for some breakfast.  I have to say that I was mightily impressed by Michael drinking a beer at 5:56 a.m. he said it was his lucky breakfast beer.  His LBB! Good Lord.

No comments:

Post a Comment