Oceans of Opportunity

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dispatch 053009 | Underway

After a late night of orientation on the boat, we were still eager for an early start. At 6AM, I hopped in the water for some minor adjustments to the M/V Tortue’s anchor. While warming up the engine, we blew a fuse, which caused a minor delay. Better to work out these small kinks before being out to sea. We ended up leaving Elizabeth Harbor at 7:45, and set out northwest along the Exumas with a target destination of the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park. At under 6kts, the Tortue is built for cruising…no speed records being set here.

As we passed Lee Stocking Island, we saw a research vessel in the distance. Through binoculars, I identified the boat as a NASA vessel and they had an ROV on deck. They appeared to be hovering stationary over a prior research site that I’ve worked called sub-transect ‘AA’.

The winds were light, and we were able to transit over the deep waters of Exuma sound, while skirting the shallower fore reef. Watching the depth sounder shift from 80 feet to more than 3000 feet within just meters is amazing, and leads the mind to start thinking ‘deep thoughts’ for a future expedition…look out 2010.

The day was mostly overcast, though the sun peaked out around 2 PM. The seas flattened throughout the afternoon, and we enjoyed curry for dinner while keeping underway. Seventy some miles and 12 hours from our start this morning, we arrived at an anchorage just inside the Land & Sea Park at Cambridge Cay. After taking up a mooring, I was eager to go for a swim before sunset, but two small yet intimidating bull sharks cruised the area…I opted to stay put and swim another day.

Tomorrow we’ll motor further up the cays and dive a bit, as our progress today bought some play time for the next two days or so.

More tomorrow