2011 BentProp Progress Report # 27

P-MAN XIII Update #27 - Balance: a fun "tourist" day, followed by a slow one

01 April
(from Flip)

First off, a new BentProp tradition: pancake Friday. Blueberry pancakes with real Maple syrup (or the Premium brand with some maple syrup for the more pedestrian of us). A little turkey bacon, but not real bacon. The island ran out of both when I went shopping the other day. I must say that the pancakes taste better when done in bacon grease, but that might just be me. Maybe a resupply run is in order.

We did something yesterday with Joe that we had never done before. We were tourists. We visited The Milky Way, three places to feed and see beautiful fish (check Derek and Wesley's update for u/w photos), a place to swim with black-tip sharks, see giant clams (the kind that can eat submarines) and cruise the rock islands at high speed. Everything that the tourists do on a daily basis and the way Joe earns a living the 11 months out of the year we're not here.

The Milky Way needs some explanation. And hopefully Derek has posted a photo somewhere. In one particular cove in The Rock Islands, there is an area with white mud. We're told it has magical healing powers - like Mangrove Juice, which we know really works. The tourists (that would be us yesterday) get to cover themselves in this mud, looking like any client at a high end California spa. Or Arnold in the climactic finale of the original Predator movie. Then a rinse in the ocean. Then off to see fish for the rest of the day. Which we did.

Dinner out at Kraemer's, then we picked up Molly Osborne at the airport. Now our team is complete for the rest of the mission.

Hhere are a few shots from cruising the rock islands:

02 April

Derek and Wesley got up way too early this morning. Derek is out running a half marathon and Wesley took him to the starting point. Dan just cooked breakfast and while he was doing so, Wesley ran in, grabbed some Gatorade from the cooler and dashed back out. He and Pat were driving to pick Derek up at the finish spot. They found him most of the way there and made a hydration run for him.

Now we're waiting for them to return so we can feed them and head out to everyone's favorite activity, side-scan sonar (SSS). We've been having some issues with the SSS gear, but we think we've gotten it squared away. It seems our power supply isn't as clean as it could have been, should have been. So we adapted and tested a new source and it seems to be working. On dry land. We'll head out in a bit and see if we can get more than a few minutes out of this set up.

The day passes...now it's tonight!

So there we were, out on the water with fully functional SSS set up. Our new power supply works like a champ. We have a new heavy duty battery powering the SSS unit. And we have a portable battery booster box feeding the battery. Nary a burp out of this setup. And we actually found a few targets of interest near Aimeliik.

Here's what SSS surveying looks like when it's interesting:

Now here's what it looks like when it's not...

However, this was Molly's first day on the water, so a warm-up dive, rather than a work dive, was in order to get her back up to speed. Joe led Molly, Wesley and me on a lovely little short dive on a reef in our target area. Lots of good looking fish. Pat asked us to keep the dive short so we could clump the targets, then dive on them. Clumping means dropping a weighted line and marker onto the target and if you can get the weight onto the target, you dive it. If you don't, you clump it again.

Joe, Molly, and Wesley.

When we came up, the skies had darkened, the wind had come up, the seas began to pitch. And off to the west for as far as the eye could see, and approaching us at a rapid rate, a squall line. So we bundled everything up and headed back to home port. It rained on us for most of the journey home. Visibility was nil occasionally. But Joe, being a master navigator, took us to safe harbor.

Finally, out to The Taj for dinner. We made plans for tomorrow based on the tides. We'll do a resupply run, get some things at the hardware store, review some interview tapes, then head out and clump our targets. When the tide shifts to incoming, we'll dive.

That brings you up to speed. But for extra credit, who can tell us why sometimes cows and horses all face the same way in a field?

- Flip

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