Monday, April 28, 2014

Nautical Ettiquette

At Sea, Monday morning
32 03.658 N 080 26.312 W
This is shaping up to be a strange passage. The wind is on again/off again, so we have been motoring half the tmie. The wind promises to get better starting Tuesday night but it wil bring potentially severe thunderstorms with it. Most strange, the weather info talks about flooding in all North Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina rivers. There must have been a really big rain event to the west that we didn't hear about.
When we do come in from the sea, it will be to a river. Flooding is a concern. I decided to continue until Tuesday morning, then decide what to do from there.
But today we are busybodies. The AIS allows us to snoop on the activities of other vessels. We've been doing that this morning. A big container ship, The New Delhi Express, came out of the Savannah River and passed close to us heading east 093 at 9.9 knots. No problem. I figured he was heading for India.
About a half hour later, we heard the New Delhi Express call the Charleston Pilot. I changed to channel 14 to eavesdrop., They made an appointment for the ship to arrive in Charleston four hours from now. We are heading towards Charleston, it is NE, bearing 052 at 60 nautical miles. To make the appointment, the ship woult have to turn left to 052 and increast speed to 15 knots.
But he didn't turn left, he turned right, heading directly away from Charleston. Strange. After 15 mintues of that, he stopped dead. Double strange. After sitting a helf hour or so, he resumed course 093 at 9.9 knots. What? That won't get him to his appointment. Finally, he increased speed to 17 knots but at 085 rather than 052. That will put him 35 miles east of Charleston at the appointed hour.
It would be a serious breach of nautical ettiquette to call him on the radio and ask if he is lost. There are numerous possible rational reasons for his actions other than being lost. He could have techical problems with the ship. He could be training a helmsman. Our role is to keep our noses out of his business, but it is sure hard to not speculate and also hard to not blog about it.
By the way. We have a new birdie num num. That's what we call the tiny land birds that land on Tarwathie as life saving refuge. We believe that they flew out to sea by mistake, and that they would perish if they didn't find us. It seems to always be a kind of small bird with yellow on his belly (Goldfinch?). If he is smart, he'll ride with us until we approachg shore. The same thing has happened a half dozen times in the past. Poor little birds. A lot of them must die.

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