The morning after the mysterious slowdown was spent wallowing in 8-10 foot beam seas, courtesy of the cold front passing through from the west. After a few 30 degree rolls, the unanimous decision was to launch the paravanes. The fish, as we call them, are fifty pound steel triangles suspended from outrigger poles on each side of the boat. They run 15 feet under water angled slightly downward to resist any upward force, and greatly reduce the oscillations of rolling after each wave slides under the boat. An excellent simple device, they do cost a little in drag, and they require a tedious retrieval with grappllng hooks and winches, so we will leave them in a couple of days until conditions improve.
Meanwhile, the rumble seemed to have an extra component which is only gradually and begrudgingly acknowledged. Denial is a potent force against objective observation, and as a physician, a parent, and a mechanic it is important keep analyzing the information. Our midnight solution may have only been a partial one because there is a subtle thumping, like a tom tom paradiddle coming through the boat. It is time for GoPro to take a swim.
Screwed onto its selfie stick and wearing a little orange floatie, I then strapped the GoPro to our ten foot boat hook and ventured out back into the cockpit awash with each rolling wave from the beam. Its red light blinking happily, I plunged the camera over the side trying to pan around to capture the running gear in action. Kathleen slowed from idle to neutral, and after a few minutes of filming we came inside to dry off and review the footage. All four of us huddled around the computer watching each frame download, trying to recognize the structures and disregard the multiple frames of just bubbles and Laysan’s maroon bottom. Gradually the propeller and rudder views were there, and undeniably a 2-3 foot swath of net was hanging from one blade and the prop zinc! Arrgh! We all moaned. Does this mean a shutdown and a dive trip for me? Oh, the humanity of it all.
Sarah, the diligent and unflappable, continues to review the following frames and exclaims “look, it’s leaving!” And, incredibly, it is. Like a veil in the wind, the netting detaches from the prop and wafts away by the rudder, and is gone. Amazing. The subsequent frames show our shiny prop unfettered, and we are absolutely all smiles. No shutdown in big swells, no diving under the boat, just engage and go forward. Fantastic. And the tom tom paradiddle vibration is no more either. All is good again aboard Laysan.
It is almost six am, and the big red sun is rising off our starboard bow. The wind has clocked around to the north and the beam rollers are flattening a bit. All the best to you out there.
39 13 N
884 miles to go