Kwai Voyage 50, another milestone in our path to wherever. Kwai departed on 27 June with a full ship bound for Kiribati and the Cooks. She is not stuffed as full as some previous trips, but this is a relief to us aboard. There is actual room on deck to stand and work the sails. Our V49 collecting ghost nets ended with a major success and exposure for the ship. Forty tons of net and debris were discharge with the ship’s gear into waiting open top containers provided by Schnitzer Steel. Plenty of publicity about as the deck load of nets and then the bags from the cargo hold were swung into the skips and hauled away to be burned in the H Power Covanta Power Generation plant. Kwai was on local news and morning shows and on the front page of the Honolulu paper. This was the most plastic ever removed from the Pacific Ocean. Thanks and appreciation go out to Mary Crowley and Ocean Voyages Institute, the charterer and driving force behind cleaning up the ocean with conventional ships and gear. Kwai proved suitable for this task. Her sails allowed her to cruise 3000 miles, halfway to San Francisco and back, meandering through the good hunting ground on the southern edge of the Pacific Gyre while only burning 1775 gallons of fuel. A conventional ship can burn that in 3 days. Our 8 ton cargo winch and boom set up was adequate for the biggest nets. Our crew is well versed in this kind of cargo work at sea from years of serving the small islands where cargo is loaded and discharged into small boats often in difficult sea conditions. We were all of us, form top to bottom, excited by this new work and never bored as there was plenty to haul and process in the 25 days we were out. By now hopefully there are pictures on this site and links to video of the trip.
Back on V50 we made a quick 9 day turnaround in Honolulu. Supercargo Myra and Warehouse Manager Jennifer had already been a month preparing our cargo and we accepted cargo from shippers the day after we arrived. The big hurry was to be out on time to reach Christmas Island a few days before Independence celebration the week of 8-12 July. We loaded the ship on Sunday and Monday and by pushed through the preparations to get out on time. Evy came as Port Engineer and finished the installation of the deck generator, rebuilt our road compressor so it can again run 8 needle guns during maintenance operations and took care of many small engine room and deck repairs. Kiribati crew had their shipping hours shortened but did manage to particiapate in a welcome ceremony at the Elks Club, catch some interviews by TV and of course load the ship. After the fanfare died a bit we had our own quiet celebration of Captain Brad’s 70th birthday and a private awards ceremony to honor the fine work and accomplishments of the Kwai crew.
Back on the ocean, we are now 5 days out with enough excitement to go around. The ship is making water in the cargo hold. We have checked all the plumbing and other possibilities, so it seems there is a leak either on deck or in the hull. This to be determined once the hold is emptied. The water amount is small and more a nuisance at this time, hopefully not ot come a danger. The wind has been a bit more southerly than usual thoroughout the trip so far and not too strong for the first half. We had a 30 knot squall yesterday evening which tore the clew iron right out of the mainsail, so that will require sewing starting tomorrow. Today we rigged the pilot sail, but the wind has been too fickle to set it. We are currently on the starboard tack with headsails, mizzen and main engine set. We are in the area of the ITCZ with low pressure cells nearby causing this unusual SSW wind. We have been able to maintain 6 knots this trip, with only half a day of pure sailing. The kinks are not all worked out on the new deck generator set which today refuses to run. Evy found this set for free in Honolulu. He replaced the generator head and got the motor working but it has a high tech interface and plenty of safeguards that have temporarily stymied us Maybe if we had the manual? The old Lister is still working fine in the engine room, so the frozen cargo is still frozen, pumps are working and batteries charged up. Kwai is doing her thing. Hopefully we will have some days for maintenance on this trip. V49 was way too busy for chip and painting, so the old ady looks a bit tired, right now, like her Captain. Aloha, Brad 9N 158W