GoPro the Diver

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.


An amazing series of photos; here the debris netting is wrapped on the prop.

An amazing series of photos; here the debris netting is wrapped on the prop.

The netting is still wrapped...

The netting is still wrapped…

...still wrapped...

…still wrapped…

We captured the exact moment the netting releases from the prop and starts to float away; the net is floating past the rudder in the photo.

We captured the exact moment the netting releases from the prop and starts to float away; the net is floating past the rudder in the photo.

39 13 N
140 27W
884 miles to go

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9 Responses to GoPro the Diver

  1. Lyle Woerth says:

    Greetings Laysan crew and congratulations on your steady progress! I have tried sending mail to your captain account but am not certain whether it’s coming through. In any case, we’re cheering for you here in Nebraska. Can’t wait to see the look of satisfaction on all of your faces when you’re enjoying your cheeseburgers, fries and sushi. Keep those posts coming.

  2. sandie and joe says:

    Aloha, sure glad that worked out for you as dive trip doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. Sounds like there have been at least a few easier days and some nice sun and moon rise and sets. Something different for sure. It is discouraging to hear of all the plastic and trash, I guess no matter how big the ocean is you can’t keep dumping trash in it. Not much news here, latest hurricanes seem to fizzle out before they get here, thankfully, Joe and Sandie

  3. Steve says:

    A little luck never hurts. 884 miles to go. Definitely progress. I love the trash website. Cool to see the tracks of all of the boats.

  4. Penny says:

    Good news! Watching the netting detach and disappear must have been a joyous sight. You’re all doing a great job of handling issues as they arise.

  5. Steve says:

    More good news. Been looking at your track on cleanup website and if accurate, it looks like you’ve picked up some speed in last 24 hours. Following seas? Do you have an ETA for arrival?

  6. Julie Noyes says:

    Love to follow your journey. Thank you.

  7. Laura Thielen says:

    Now you can look forward to the Persiad meteor shower. It will peak in the early morning hours of the 11, 12 and 13 of August this year. You guys will have an awesome view! Enjoy!

  8. Steve says:

    According to the tracking map, you’re only 2 inches from Seattle.

  9. Steve says:

    Noticed your speed has slowed down. Headwinds? Still getting closer though.

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