Monday, September 18, 2006

The Jersey Shore

At Sea, N 39 53 W 73 57

Monday, September 18, 2006

We have the New Jersey Shore in sight, but not near enough to see beaches, just near enough to see distillation columns.

The second 24 hours of this voyage we only made another 65 miles, the same as the first day, we have another 65 to go to Cape May so I expect getting there about sunset tomorrow. It has been a slow passage, but the days were nice.

Everybody seems to be getting along fine, and our sleep hours are perfectly adequate. Having extra crew means also that there is more time to socialize and to chat about whatever. It's a lot more fun than cruising with two people.

A very impolite fishing vessel dropped a seine net right in front of us this afternoon. It had floating buoys and flags every 100 meters or so marking the spot. I was loathe to drive over it after my experience with the fisherman in Mexico. Our course crossed the net line at right angles. We looked off to the side with binoculars but we could only see more buoys out to the horizon. I tried several times to call the fishing vessel on the VHF to find out if we could sail across the net line. I called on channel 16 and 13 and 9 but no response. We detoured to go around the end of the net but boy was the line long. We had to go 4-5 miles to get around the end of the net line. Wow! I had no idea that they could carry nets that big. But wait, we soon ran into a second net line that also stretched out to the horizon. After following it for a mile or so and seeing no end in sight we lost patience and sailed across the line. We didn't snag anything.

What's the deal when encountering a seine net at sea? Are they all set up to be deep enough so as to not get snagged by passing vessels? There was a container ship in the neighborhood too and I'm sure he wouldn't change course to avoid the net. How many miles long can these nets be? Wouldn't you expect the people in charge of the net to monitor the VHF radio and to respond to hails? Should I have been impolite and improper on the radio calling, "I'm going to run right over this net unless I hear someone on the radio tell me not to." Do they leave them up at night? If we encountered one at night we would just cross without seeing anything.

After leaving Port Judith something has gone wrong with the battery charging. We're loosing 0.5 volts somewhere causing the batteries to not charge fully. This morning it was calm enough to lift out the cockpit floor. We did than and Carmello and I worked on changing the alternator belt (that was one suspected cause). Carmello earned his keep as crewman by laying prostrate on top of the oily motor holding a wrench to tighten the nut holding belt tension. That was the job I gave to Libby last time. My excuse for not doing that job myself is that I am too big and I can't get my legs out of the way.

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