Ocean Learning Unbound!

dave_acWe’re in the thick of it now! With so much to do for the Atlantic Cup Kids program, time has really been flying by quickly. The start of The Atlantic Cup Race is less than 10 days away and our first group of students will be visiting the race village in Charleston, SC a week from now! In Charleston alone, we have scheduled over 500 students to visit the race village and boats! That’s an epic leap forward!

In early May, I visited six schools in Charleston to inspire and to be inspired by hundreds of kids. I talked to 15 different classes over two days! It was great to see how much they already knew about weather, oceans and science - and how insightful their questions for me were.

carolina_dreamer
Carolina Dreamer Project on Display at the Science Fair

One class in particular, Amy McMahon’s, had done something extraordinary. On May 17, 2015, they launched a small unmanned boat named Carolina Dreamer (to the right in the above photo) out across the Atlantic. Each day along the way, the students tracked its progress on satellites, checked the weather along the course and did many of the same calculations I did while sailing Bodacious Dream around the world. At a certain point, they lost contact with the boat, until it was spotted on February 10, 2016 off the coast of Wales, retrieved and sent back to Charleston. Now that was an inspiring tale, which you can read about right HERE!

In response to the enthusiasm and curiosity I’ve encountered around the ocean and boats, I’ve pulled together some thoughts on what is required on the design and budding side that enables racing boats to sail the way they do… with a focus on the physics, chemistry, math and engineering that goes into getting a boat into competitive shape for a race like the Atlantic Cup.

merf_owen3To help me with this, I engaged my friend Merf Owena noted naval architect and the designer of two of the boats in the Atlantic Cup to talk about his life and how he came to be a racing yacht designer.

:: Check out the story called “How Boats Sail” as well as “An Interview with Merf Owen – Naval Architect” at their respective links.

A number of the high school students who will visit us in the race village in Brooklyn/NYC and Portland, ME have already expressed their interest in pursuing careers in the marine industry. It’s really an eye-opener when you realize just how many different disciplines are involved in the design, building, maintaining and sailing of modern boats – from engineers and builders to shippers, accountants, business managers and computer specialists. Reading Merf’s interview you’ll see the interesting path he took to becoming one of the best. He also shares what subjects he feels students who want to ready themselves for marine careers should pay closest attention to in school.

merf_design3

So, stay tuned. It will be a busy month ahead! And if you haven’t done so yet, please LIKE our Atlantic Cup Kid’s Page on Facebook. Also check out Carolina Dreamer’s (Educational Passages) Facebook Page and LIKE it for those amazing kids.

Also if you go to the Atlantic Cup Kid’s Page, you can VOTE for your favorite boat and team in this year’s race, where The Atlantic Cup Kids will be presenting the trophy for the Fan Favorite!

More to come! Heading to Charleston early next week!

- Dave (along with a host of friends & students!)

How Boats Sail!

There are few things more beautiful than the sight of a sleek boat full sail skimming across the water. But how does it all work? How do nature, science and human design come together to enable a sailboat to move in so fluid a way?

greek_boat_300From ancient times onward, using wind power to move boats required being tuned into the ways of nature and how its many forces might be harnessed to serve human purposes. To that end, boat builders have always relied on observation and calculation, tradition, testing and passed down refinements to build their boats.

Today though, with all the incredible advances in physics, engineering, computing technology and material science, boat building (and especially racing yacht building) has become a most exciting and cutting edge industry.

Merf_200To help us get up to speed on boat building today, I asked an old friend of mine, one of the world’s top racing boat naval architects, Merf Owen of Owen Clarke Designs to field some questions about his life designing boats.

You can find my whole interview with Merf RIGHT HERE, but for now, let’s imagine that I asked Merf to design a new Class 40 racer – to say, compete in the Atlantic Cup – a vessel much like the Class40 I sailed around the world a few years ago.

weatherMerf would first want to know how I intend to race the boat and where in the world I plan on sailing it? My answers to these questions help provide him with guidelines for particular factors he will need to consider in designing my boat. When he learns where I want to sail the boat, he will ask a meteorologist (a weather scientist,) to study the weather patterns in those areas and so provide him with weather data (percentages of light, medium or heavier winds and the general wave patterns resulting from them.) Merf will use this information to optimize the design for those regions of the world and for the type of sailing and racing I want to do.

Once Merf has gathered the information he needs, he designs the shape of the hull and the “sail plan.” The hull of course is the “body” of the boat, and the sail plan is the combination of mast and sails and rigging that “power” the boat. He must align his design to the laws of physical science laws in arriving at the best shape for the hull, so that it will move through the water and waves with the least amount of “drag,” to avoid anything that slows a boat down – (like dragging your feet while riding your bike.)

merf_design4

One hundred years ago, a boat designer would carve the model of a boat from a wooden block – using their experience and creative instincts to determine the best shape of the hull. This model would then be converted into hand-drawn blueprints. Today, computers automate much of this process, but Merf still must exercise his intuitions and creativity to course-correct the computer output he receives.

iom_cfdAs Merf progresses with his design of the hull shape and sail plan, he can test his work using powerful computer simulation software, which shows him where modifications might help to improve performance. When he’s happy with the design, Merf emails his digital designs to the builder and the fun of boat building can commence!

OCD_Class_40_Deck_P2

Once the builder reviews the design drawings, there’s much that needs to happen. You can just imagine the many things they have to figure out, and how many of them require a solid understanding of mathematics.

How much space do they need in their shop to build the boat and parts? How many layers of fiberglass cloth will be needed? How many gallons of epoxy resin? How many screws? How many people will they need to hire? How long will it take? How much is it going to cost? All of this is must be carefully figured out in order to develop a solid project plan that includes realistic cost estimates.

boat_moldOnce the build plan is in place, more advanced math or “engineering” phase comes into play. First the builders have to build molds in which the boat parts are cast. These molds have to be engineered strong enough to withstand people moving them around and walking on them as the boat is being built. While science, math and engineering are requirements for getting all of this correct, seasoned builders also rely on practical or “seat of the pants” engineering to build the best and strongest molds.

Once building begins, technical engineering drives the process. Structural engineers and designers figure out the details of the composite structure – the number of layers of fiberglass cloth that offer the strength to handle the “loads” (weight and forces) that various parts of the boat must support.

pulleyHere again, an understanding of physics is necessary. A rope or “line” turning through a block is a good example. The line pulls a lot of weight and when it turns around a pulley, it changes the direction of the load. The pulley has to withstand these loads and not break loose from its mounting. All these loads and attendant forces have to be calculated so that the size of the block, bolts and composite materials can withstand these always changing loads.

halyard_200An even more complex set of calculations is necessary when it comes to the mast, which must support the power of the sails through the supporting cables called “shrouds.” There are many calculations to consider in how the shrouds spread the loads across the entire hull. All this has to be worked out so the boat and mast won’t fail in a powerful storm, yet still remain light enough to be competitive on the racecourse. There are always trade-offs to consider between strength and weight when making these important calculations and decisions.

Once construction of the hull begins, workers lay the layers of fiberglass cloth in the mold and then a lightweight core of balsa wood followed by additional layers of cloth to meet the stated engineering requirements. A layer of plastic is then laid over the mold and the edges sealed, at which point a vacuum pump sucks all the air out of the mold. This forces the materials together tightly as an injection system pumps epoxy resin into the mold, filling in the voids and soaking the cloth.

resin

In a few hours, the chemical reaction of the liquid epoxy hardens, creating the strong, hard shell of the boat. To further strengthen the epoxy, the whole boat is put into a large oven and “cooked” at a specific temperature for a period of time. Chemical engineers figure out the specific formulations of the epoxy resins, the temperatures they work at and the time it takes them to harden.

block_mold

The mast and sails require similar engineering and science know-how. Sails are designed to work like the wings of an airplane – only vertically instead of horizontally. Most people think the wind just blows a boat along, but this isn’t exactly correct. It is the shape of the sails that produces power by allowing the wind to flow along the cloth thus creating pressure differences, which actually “pull” the boat toward the wind. Nowadays, the sails are made from composite plastics and the engineering of their strength and flexibility so that they can bend with the forces of the wind and sails and not break. The mast itself is made in a similar way as the hull of the boat, with cloth and epoxy resins.

Bodacious DreamWhen the body of the boat is complete, the real fun can begin. The mast and boom, the sails and the rigging are mounted and the boat is launched. Finally, it’s time to take it test sailing to see how the sailplan and the rest of the boat work together.

Once on the water, powerful onboard computers receive signals from multiple sensor devices that monitor everything from the angle and speed of the wind to the shape of the sails and the speed of the boat. These numbers are compared with computer-generated models to determine how well the boat is performing. Even with all this technical help though, the human sailor still must make the strategic refinements necessary for the boat to outpace its competitors and win a race.

2495_Nav_Screen_1000

An experienced sailor today must master many skills. They must be conversant in many subjects before they can compete in a race like the Atlantic Cup. They need to have learned meteorology and how to anticipate changes in wind directions and speeds. They need enough knowledge of oceanography so that they can track currents and tides and how they dynamically shift and flow around a harbor or coast. They must have also learned how to work with computers so they can program, interpret and manage all the information the computers are capable of providing. And of course they must know their math and engineering, so they can keep the boat moving safely. Some good handyperson skills come in real handy too when called upon to fix things that break in the middle of a race (or when far from land.)

Bringing a boat into existence takes the work of many people with many different skills. Designers like Merf lead teams of skilled engineers, scientists and builders who all take pride in the building of fast and beautiful boats. And finally, there are the sailors, who use their wide range of technological skills and sailing instincts to help them win races like the Atlantic Cup.

DragonfeatureNEWW
D
ragon, which Merf designed and will be co-skippering in the Atlantic Cup

Next time you hear your teachers (or parents) talk about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education – you will be able to relate that to how it applies to the artful science of boat building.

SCIENCE: Weather science, chemical science, computer science, human physiology science
TECHNOLOGY: Computers, monitoring instruments, sail designs and shapes
ENGINERERING: Computers, composites, hardware, pulleys, loads, masts, sails and building
MATHEMATICS Lots and lots of math. Numbers, computer calculations, engineering load calculations, speed calculations, parts and construction time calculations, cost and business calculations. Endless Math! (The more math you’re able to do in your head, the easier it will be to make these decisions.)

Atlantic Cup… Big News & Views…

red_sailIt’s been quite a while now since I last updated you. Winter arrived, the holidays passed and soon the snows will pass too and behind them, spring, along with that ol’ sailing spirit, will rise again!

Going back in my own memory, the spring of 2012 and 2013 were marked for me by the excitement of the Atlantic Cup Race… and this year will be no different! The Atlantic Cup is coming up soon (May 23rd – June11th) but this year with a few notable changes. Starting again in Charleston S.C., the first leg will still end in New York City, but the second leg instead of ending in Newport RI will conclude in Portland, ME, where the inshore leg will happen. This course change will add a whole new challenge for the race competitors as they negotiate the coastal waters of Cape Cod on their way to Portland.

dave_acThe other change, and a very exciting one for me, is that this year I’m heading up the Atlantic Cup Kids Program. I won’t be racing the Atlantic Cup this year. Instead I will be getting kids, students, parents and teachers up-to-speed and excited about all that’s happening. We want them of course to follow the race, to get to know teams and to come visit the Race Villages, but in addition we are also going to expand the broad educational agenda that began while we were sailing around the world. We hope to help inspire kids to embark upon their own journey to learn about the sport of sailing, but also about oceans, the environment and how they might live a more sustainable lifestyle as they grow into young adults and the leaders of tomorrow.

new_logo_300We’re all grateful at the Atlantic Cup for our friends at 11th Hour Racing who once again are the presenting sponsors. I’ve had an amazing time being one of the “Ambassadors” for this insightful and inspiring organization.

So, here are some things to watch for and some actions you might take to help me share the Atlantic Cup Kids Program with young people everywhere and specifically with the young people in your life.

1. We’ve started a new Atlantic Cup Kids Facebook page - so please go there and “like” the page. Liking it is a helpful pat on the back for us and will also keep you informed with updates to your Facebook timeline.

1182. Check out the enhanced Atlantic Cup Kids Page on the Atlantic Cup website. There you will find a fine of set of Education Guides in place and new ones like the just published Wind and Weather guide, which in the time leading up to the race will be followed by other new guides. In addition, from the AC Kids page you can also find information on the sailing teams, and vote for your favorite team! Also, you will find a link to sign up for the AtC Kids mailing list which will get you news and updates in your email inbox.

3. Reach out and help the kids in your life navigate the guides and contents of the AC Kids Page and the Facebook page, so that they can learn and follow the race on their own.

4. If you know of teachers, adult mentors, scout leaders or other kids groups, please spread the word and point them to our pages. We want to make this information fun, valuable and available to kids everywhere, especially to those living inland and out of sight of the oceans.

5. If you’re in Charleston, New York City or Portland or will be during the Atlantic Cup stopovers, please come on down and visit the race village. If you know of schools in those areas, contact them here by email so that they can visit and take part in the great activities we have planned for visitors and kids.

 Here’s a video of kids visiting in Charleston, SC in 2014.

Thank you for lending whatever support you can to our efforts. 

So then, let’s get on and talk about the race itself!

Many of you have told me how exciting Atlantic Cup Class 40 racing is and how much fun it was to watch Bodacious Dream come to life on the race tracker. I fondly remember getting calls in the middle of the night from friends telling me they couldn’t get off the computer watching us eek out another close win. This year, we expect the racing to be just as exciting.

123There are a couple of brand new boats which will challenge each other to showcase their designer’s talents, along with our old friends on their proven  rides. Some of the boats to watch for are Longbow 143, a brand new boat from Merf Owen and the Owen Clark Design Team. Tales II 123, a brand new boat from Botin Design in Spain and Campagne de France, a brand new design from the Anglo-Franco team of Halvard and Miranda. I’m excited to see these new designs sail but will also be rooting for old friends on equally fast boats… Pleiad Racing 39 and Dragon 54Toothface II 128 and Ahmas 127, both third generation Akilaria’s will be battling for a podium place alongside the full field of nine boats. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, my favorite, ol’ #118 will be back, skippered this time by sailors from Oakcliff Sailing. It’s going to be a great year on the water.

39I know I’m going to miss the racing, but I’m going to have more than my hands full with energized kids hungry to learn more about the ocean, weather, sea life as well as the many real dangers the ocean faces and that threaten its future sustainability. 

Helping the oceans back to better health is a mission we can and should all embrace.

So, please take a minute to like the kids Facebook page and to sign up for email updates from the Atlantic Cup Kids Page… and let’s take the kids sailing, racing and learning together.

Thanks to everyone!
- Dave

tradewinds

P.S. For those of you who have wondered, I have been working steadily on the book about my solo circumnavigation sailing adventure, and I’m happy to say it’s almost done! Stay tuned!

Summer’s End … Fall’s Launches!

Two years ago this week, I was filled with anxiety as the clock ticked down to my departure from Jamestown, RI bound around the world. Looking back, what a short ride it was to completion on June 14th of last year! While there are always new things turning up in my world, it’s always fun to look back and see the connecting eddies of life that converge around us.

• If you followed along, perhaps you recall the name of Joe Harris who aboard Gryphon Solo 2 sailed alongside Bodacious Dream as we exited Narragansett Bay that beautiful afternoon. The air was crisp and the spray of the sea tart. What a beautiful day it was!

BoDream and Gryphon SoloPhoto by Billy Black

Well, Joe is feeling his own pre-departure anxiety these days. That’s because he’s into the last month of preparation of Gryphon Solo 2 to depart Newport, RI  November 10th on his own circumnavigation of the globe! But Joe’s journey will be a tougher one than mine. Joe’s going for a record-breaking, non-stop lap around the big blue marble. He’ll be doing this in his own Class 40, affectionately known as “GS2.” No stops, no rest, below the famous capes and hopefully faster than the present record of 137 days and 20 minutes! Amazing and dangerous… but if anyone can do it, Joe can!

Joe HarrisI know many of you have written telling me how much you miss the reports from Bodacious Dream. Well, here’s a chance to get the rush again! Join up for Joe’s updates and follow him. It promises to be action-packed and filled with excitement! Click and sign up @ www.gryphonsolo2.com and get caught up with Joe so you can ride along with him around the world!

And yes, though I won’t have Bodacious Dream to sail alongside GS2 as Joe heads out, I’ll be on the docks in Newport, probably waxing philosophically, and imagining as others have in the past… of the adventures Joe will experience. Good on ya’ Joe!

tegan_200
• In other news, remember Tegan Mortimer? The always-fun scientist who kept us up on the science of the ocean as we spun around the world? Well, on November 3rd, Tegan sets off on a great adventure called “Expedition Ascension 2015” – an all-women scientific expedition to study the ways of the ocean. The voyage departs from the Ivory Coast of Africa and moves across the Atlantic to South America. Tegan will be keeping us posted on her adventure and you can follow along with her on the website @ www.oceantalk.org/.

Dave-Rearick-Trash.jpg-300x180• These are dramatic times as it becomes clearer the impact humans are having on the ocean, and as we begin to raise our voices louder against the destructive winds. Back home on the Great Lakes, as an Ambassador for 11th Hour Racing, we are spreading the word about plastics in the water. This summer, I spent time convincing other sailors to adopt a no disposable water bottle lifestyle. We were instrumental in making progress and in not using thousands of water bottles on this year’s Mac Race alone. Here’s a link to my write up about it… www.11thhourracing.org/press/dear-fellow-sailors/.

I hope you will consider joining us in these efforts, even if you never leave shore. There’s little if any reason to use disposable water bottles. Yes, sometimes we have no choice, but in those situations, we have a responsibility, that if you use it, to recycle it away when you are done!

DR_stonehenge1• Then there’s the bOOk! Most everyone I meet along the way, on the docks, on the streets, in the airports and at the lumberyard want to know how the book is coming. When is it going to be ready? Well, the bulk of the manuscript is written and is now getting edited. I’ve got a few more chapters to write and some things to rewrite – so hopefully in time for the holidays, I will get them printed and into your hands. So, stay tuned!

For now, here’s a book excerpt that relates what it felt like leaving Jamestown two years ago!

“My friend Joe Harris sailed alongside in his boat Gryphon Solo II, a kin to Bodacious Dream. Joe and I harbor the same dream—to sail around the world alone. We’ve carried our dreams for years, setting them aside as changes in life came and went, as flows of finances stalled and inspirations faded. Day after day, battling alone to keep our dream from wearing out like an untended hull in an old wooden boatyard. I was on my way, and I felt for Joe and what he must be feeling. I’d been there before, watching friends start world-girdling races with me left behind, tethered ashore.

We tacked back and forth on the fresh, cool sea breeze flowing towards shore, pulled in under the rising air heated by the warm sun on the dark land a few miles inland. Class 40 sailing boats are quick and responsive. Sailing at 8 knots comes easy for Bodacious Dream, and it wasn’t long before Joe and I cleared the guiding lights of the harbor – Brenton Reef to our port and Beavertail to our starboard… when my radio kicked up with Joe’s voice.

“Bodacious Dream, this is Gryphon Solo II.”

“Go ahead Gryphon Solo, this is Bodacious Dream.” (Standard radio communication between radio operators.)

“How you doing over there Dave?”

“Going along just fine Joe, how about you?”

“Doing great, what a beautiful day to depart on huh?”

“Yup.”

“You should be able to bear off and head towards Bermuda now.”

“Oh, ok… so, what’s the course for Bermuda?”

I was embarrassed to not know this; I hadn’t the time in the previous few days to look up this simple but important fact—the compass heading of my first course around the world! In a frantic, last minute fight with electronics and communications; I added a stop in Bermuda, a 600 mile, 4 day sail away, giving me the chance to make sure the electronic gremlins had been properly exorcised and the communication systems were working properly.

“150 degrees there Admiral!” A nickname Joe occasionally used for me.

With great relief, I adjusted my autopilot Otto’s course down 20 degrees, a bit further off the wind point, allowing me to ease the sheets trimming the sails. Bodacious Dream had been heeling (tipping up) more than necessary, sailing tight on the wind, and needing a reef (shortening the sails). Soon she leveled out and picked up speed to 10 knots, sailing off for Bermuda as graceful and nonchalant as a beautiful, confident woman along the Champs-Élysées. Joe sailed parallel for a while longer, then, with a personal, silent wave of respect, bore off and tacked back toward the bay. My only companions now were the eyes and lens of Billy Black as he continued to take a few final photos.”

As fall comes to my friends in the Northern Hemisphere and spring to those in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope you’re all prospering and enjoying the beauty and wonder of your world.

Remember, “Stay connected— keep your toes in the water.”

- Dave, Franklin & Bo (in absentia.)

Springing Forward

I know it’s been a while now since I’ve been in contact! Sorry for the absence. Back home on the shores of Lake Michigan, winter was a cold one, but I have to admit, I didn’t really mind the cold and snow… well, not too much! Spring is moving right along and summer is almost upon us!

So… the news! There are a number of exciting things going on as the spirit of Bodacious Dream continues into the future. Let me catch you up!

• Remember our good friend Tegan Mortimer? Tegan is an ocean scientist who provided us with a number of amazingly interesting and well-researched “Science Notes” on many of the unique experiences we encountered while sailing Bodacious Dream around the world. Well, Tegan was recently selected to join an all-women’s crew sailing from the Ivory Coast of Africa to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic and then onto Brazil. Along the way, they will study marine debris in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. In my opinion, the expedition leadership made a perfect choice in selecting Tegan. Her enthusiasm and spirit are only matched by her passion to share her knowledge and experience. http://exxpedition.com/crew/ascension2015/

As the spirit of Bodacious Dream ventures into the future, my hope has been to seek out others who share our love and passion for this earth and the oceans and to bring their stories to light. Tegan is a perfect example of such a brilliant an concerned person. We  look forward to her sharing a few stories with us in the coming months. Tegan is also looking for sponsors and supporters and would welcome your comments and interest as well

capt_dave_ac_125• Next up, The Atlantic Cup 2016 has pulled me in… (though, it should be said, I went quite willingly) into their circle! Through my earlier involvement with the Atlantic Cup Kids pages and the cartoon character of me, their offer to have me take on the Atlantic Cup Kids Educational Outreach Program was something I couldn’t refuse. I am presently signing up schools, kid’s organizations and others to take advantage of the program offered in the harbors.

Over the years, The Atlantic Cup has made the competing boats and their crews accessible to kids and students and encouraging them to more closely touch, listen, learn and feel the environment around them. The young girl in this video says it all to me when she exclaims… ”This does not belong in the ocean!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ee2mdGbQEY

The Atlantic Cup moved the race to an every other year format last year and 2016 promises to be an even bigger event with more international competitors. My plan is to continue and increase the number of visitors to the boats and to develop an online presence for schools and students who are unable to access the physical harbors, so that remotely, they might experience the race, learn about the ocean and share in the experience. We’ll be adding more online learning materials and Tegan has promised to do a few more science notes as well! If you’d like to involve your kids, students or young people, please let us know… you can contact me at dave@atlanticcup.org.

gryphon_solo2• As for sailing news, I’ll be competing with my friend Joe Harris onboard his Class 40, Gryphon Solo 2 in the Marblehead to Halifax Race in early July….and with my old friends on Geronimo in the Chicago to Mackinac race in the middle of July. I’ll update you more on those races as the time comes near.

• As for myself, to pay the bills, I’ve been doing some work both around the house and around town. Though you know me as a sailor, I also spent many years as a carpenter. I’ve been building some custom windows and furniture and helping on some boat projects. I’ve also been taking a few hours out of each day to write up the story of the solo-circumnavigation aboard Bodacious Dream. The book, with the working title, The Spirit of the Dream, is coming along quite well. Hopefully, before next winter, the entire book will be available!

In fact, if you’d like to read an excerpt of the book, you’re in luck, because I have a chunk of it RIGHT HERE!

• One other very exciting thing to tell you! Last month, 11th Hour Racing announced their Ambassador Program for 2015. It was a great honor for me to be included alongside such notable sailors as Charlie Enright, skipper of Team Alvimedica and the Rolex Yacht Women of the year 2014, Stephanie Roble. Altogether, there are 14 of us who will share their passion and stories with 11th Hour Racing; Tom Burnham, Brock Callen, Andy Green, Jamie Haines, Erika Heineken, Peter C. Henderson, Andy Horton, Anthony Kotoun, John Mollicone and Anderson Reggio.

The 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Program is a community of professional sailors committed to ocean health. The Ambassadors represent varying boat classes but all are respected leaders in the sailing industry. These high-profile athletes are committed to the adoption of sustainable practices in their daily lives, at their personal sailing events and regattas, and to inspire others in their spheres of influence, including the next generation of sailors.

11th Hour Racing works closely with the ambassadors to drive change within the sport by creating dialogue, leading by example, and ensuring youth sailors are educated and energized to protect and care for our oceans. You can meet all 14 of us here: http://11thhourracing.org/ambassadors

So, whew! I guess that’s enough for now, isn’t it? I hope your summer plans are for a great one.

- Dave, Franklin & Bo (in abstentia!)

A Map to the “Treasure”

I know I repeat myself, but thank you once more for following along on our journey around the world. There are so many people without whom this voyage could not have happened in the way that it did.

As I write this, Bodacious Dream is getting some fresh maintenance from the great folks around Narragansett Bay - namely Hall Spars and Rigging, Hinckley Yachts, North Sails and others.

dr_100For now though, I am heading back home to the Midwest to recoup my energies and put back in order the parts of my life that were paused for the circumnavigation.

Before I do that though, I wanted to leave you with a map of where the “treasure” is buried. And by treasure, I mean links to the bounty of sweet fruits and memories of the journey… that were the words we wrote, the photos we took and the videos we shot, as well as the various learning and discovery initiatives that we undertook, and all of which when combined, form an online trove of storied artifacts.

BDX_treasure_map_560

1) LEG RECAPS

First off, all our circumnavigation content resides on BodaciousDreamExpeditions.com

circum_leg_iconBelow are the summary recaps for all four legs of the circumnavigation (plus the pre-circum period) which can be found directly at the following links.


:-: Pre-Circumnavigation 
- Prior to October 2013 – Newport, RI
:-: Leg 1 – 10/02/13 – 12/03/13 – Newport, RI to Cape Town, S.A.
:-: Leg 2 – 12/21/13 – 2/08/14  - Cape Town to  Wellington, New Zealand
:-: Leg 3 – 3/26/14 – 5/1/14 - Wellington, NZ to the Galapagos Islands
:-: Leg 4 – 5/07/14 – 6/14/14 – The Galapagos Islands to Newport, RI 

2) OUR BLOG UPDATES

bdx_logo_70Our many blog posts can all be found in reverse chronological order on the Bodacious Dream Expeditions website at bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com/live-updates/. These posts are are also sub-divided by “categories” of subject matter AND by “date.” Select any category or month to see a list of relevant results.

3) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

dave80Upon arrival back in Newport, I began to gather and respond to some of the more frequently asked questions that were put to me over the course of the voyage. We consolidated them all together on one page, which can be found right here!


4) 
CIRCUM PHOTOS

facebook-icon_30Links to our many photos can be found here on our Circum Photos page, while our actual 18 Photo Albums, broken down by “Legs,” can be found here, on the Albums page of our Bodacious Dream Expeditions Facebook Page.

flickr-icon_30For larger format photos in one complete set, you can also view a curated 123-photo “best-of” slideshow over on Flickr.


5)
 CIRCUM VIDEOS

Youtube_iconA selection of our videos from the Circumnavigation can be found on our Circum Videos page, but all of the videos we have uploaded so far can be viewed on our Bodacious Dream Expeditions YouTube Channel.

6) TEGAN’S SCIENCE NOTES 

tegan_70Throughout the voyage, our Earthwatch scientist, Tegan Mortimer provided us wonderfully insightful science “notes” in support of wherever in the world we were and whatever we were encountering. There were eleven of these reports in all, on a wide range of subjects and a list of those can be found right here!

7) CITIZEN SCIENCE RESOURCES

citizen_scienceTegan was also responsible for helping us set up a wonderful Citizen Science Resources Page, where folks could learn all about the amazing online resources that presently exist to help lead you into the world of citizen science projects. Our various sightings were also added to the Bodacious Dream Expeditions Projects Page on iNaturalist.

8) CIRCUMNAVIGATION EXPLORER GUIDES

bdX-100Learning and Discovery have always been a primary intention of the voyage. To that end, throughout the expedition, we encouraged those of you who were following our adventure to explore more deeply the wonders and beauty of the natural world that we were traversing by referencing our custom-made Explorer “Study” Guides/ Worksheets. There were eight guides in total and can be found at the links below, where they can also be downloaded in printable form.

:-: Our Watery World
:-: Wind & Weather
:-: Math
:-: Sea Life
:-: Oceanography
:-: Glaciers
:-: Sailboat Glossary
:-: Mentor Guide

9) EXPERT INTERVIEWS

Over the course of the voyage, it was also my pleasure to conducted three sets of interviews with some very knowledgeable friends and sailors, each of whom is an expert in some area of sailing. For true devotees of the art and science of sailing, I think you will find these interviews most enlightening. Thanks to the guys for their participation.

:-: Sailing Navigation - interviews w/ John Hoskins & Matt ScharlJohnH_150MattS_150

:-: Rigging Technology - an interview w/ Alan Veenstra
Alan Veenstra

:-: Composite Materials Technologies - 
an interview w/ Lapo Ancillotti
lapo_150

And I think those are the key links. Feel free to contact us with follow-up questions. And we’ll keep you posted when we add anything new and of note.

And a very happy summer to all!

- Dave Rearick

:: BDX Website:: Email List Sign-Up :: Contact Us :: Twitter :: BDX FB

Tegan’s Science Notes #10 – Protecting Marine Biodiversity

This is the tenth in a series of “Science Notes” from from our ocean scientist colleague, Tegan Mortimer, who works with Earthwatch Institute. These postings follow from encounters with nature that I have on the water. Links to all her Science Notes can be on our Citizen-Science Resource Page. - DR

Tegan MortimerLike gigantic conveyor belts, the tropical oceans span the areas closer to the equator where water temperatures are over 75°. These warm and clear waters tend to have low levels of oxygen and nutrients, the opposite of the cold, nutrient rich waters I’ve written about in earlier Science Notes. This means that though tropical areas in general have low productivity, there are distinct ecosystems in tropical areas like coral reefs and mangroves that have very high productivity and are in fact, some of the most bio-diverse habitats on earth.

:: Coral Reefs: Gardens Under Siege

coral_reef_600

Despite the lack of nutrients and oxygen present in these warm waters, tropical areas play host to one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth: coral reefs.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 11.59.50 AMA coral reef is made up of many colonies of coral polyps which build the reef structure out of calcium carbonate. Tropical corals contain zooxanthellae, which is tiny algae that lives inside the coral where it photosynthesizes, creating food from sunlight. These algae are also what gives coral its brilliant and diverse colors. This means that coral can only occur in the “photic” zone, where sunlight penetrates the water. Corals polyps feed by extending stinging tentacles outwards to capture small prey and particles in the water column. Corals are related to other stinging animals including sea anemones and jellyfish.

The complex physical structure of a coral reef, some of which are thousands of years old, creates an ideal habitat of many other animals to thrive – from small invertebrates to large animals like sea turtles and sharks. The productivity of many tropical marine areas as well as the related economic activities that center around fishing and tourism are highly dependent on the health of coral reefs.

coral_nets

In today’s changing ocean, coral reefs are under siege. Sea surface temperatures are increasing, atmospheric carbon dioxide is driving up ocean acidity, and overfishing is removing critical fish and invertebrate species at the same time that coastal land development is increasing in many coral reef areas. All of these pressures are contributing to the unprecedented and rapid collapse of coral reefs along with the loss of the unique ecosystem that goes with them. Scientists are racing to learn more about how these ecosystems are functioning under speedily changing conditions and how we might increase the resilience of corals, and help them cope better under a variety of different stressors.

Dr. Carrie Manfrino is an Earthwatch scientist studying just this area, but with an exciting twist called “coral gardening.” A great obstacle to coral resilience is that when large areas of corals disappear, it greatly reduces the ability of larvae to successfully settle in to form new baby corals in new areas. Staghorn and Elkhorn corals are branching corals which are a critical part of the coral ecosystem, but in the Caribbean these corals have decreased by as much as 90% in some areas, due to climate change and development pressures.

two-corals

In the Cayman Islands, where Dr. Manfrino works, these corals are showing some very promising recovery, and her team is working to find out what characterizes sites where these corals are doing well. Once new sites are identified that match these characteristics, scientists and volunteers transfer baby corals that have been grown in a special coral “nursery” to these new sites. The idea behind this method is to both increase coral cover as well as to maintain islands of coral that are better connected with each other which help increase the production of new coral naturally. This is super exciting science, which is using a variety of new technologies to better understand and manage our impacts on the natural environment. (Here’s a video w/ Dr. Manfrino and her colleagues.)

:: Protecting Special Places

Just like anywhere on earth, special places need special protection. The unique biodiversities supported in tropical areas means that there are many special places in need of protection. This process is usually achieved through the creation of multi-nationally supported Marine Protected Areas or MPA. An MPA usually has one of two purposes, to protect an area that supports rare or important species, or to provide a refuge for animals from fishing. MPAs can vary in size from very small local protected areas to vast areas like those in the map below. The most important thing is that an MPA is large enough to matter and located in the right place so that it can provide the most benefit and achieve its purpose. The idea of designating marine areas to be protected is a relatively new one (2000) when compared to the creation of national parks, which started as early as 1872 with the creation of Yellowstone National Park in the U.S.

Currently just 1% of the ocean is fully protected.
mpa_600

So that the right places can be protected, scientists are studying how different animals use their habitat. It is important to be able to know what places are used for feeding, breeding, and resting so that these important functions can be maintained.

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 12.54.31 PM

On the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in an area called Gulfo Dulche, Lenin Oviedo, an Earthwatch scientist, is conducting a research project to study how this pristine area is important to resident and migratory species of dolphins and whales. Bottlenose dolphins, Pantropical spotted dolphins, and humpback whales use this area either as their permanent home or as a way stop during larger migrations. Along with mapping how these different species use the gulf, the research team is interested in how boat traffic and boat noise overlaps with important whale and dolphin areas.

It is common that special places for animals are usually special places for humans too. Healthier ecosystems support the wildlife, which also benefits economic activities like fishing and tourism. It is important to understand how these activities impact the environment to see how they might be better managed.

sea_turtle_505

Farther east in the Bahamas, Annabelle Brooks is another Earthwatch scientist whose research is in studying the spatial movements of juvenile green and hawksbill sea turtles. All species of sea turtle are endangered, so it is very important to protect areas, which are crucial for feeding. This research also allows the team to understand naturally occurring cycles of abundance and movement. As impacts from human activities and climate change become more widespread, this research allows scientists to spot disruptions, which are outside the naturally occurring changes in populations.

Researchers like Oviedo and Brooks use the power of computer modeling to better understand natural change and movement in populations. By combining observations of animals with data about the environment, they create a computer model that tells them which areas are important for specific animals or animal activities based on the environmental characteristics. Then the research team goes back into the field and collects more data which is used to validate the models, to see how good the models are at predicting observations in real life. This technique is very useful for pinpointing large areas that are important for specific animals. The aim of both these projects and many others like them is to better understand essential habitats for these important species so that we can better protect them in a changing ocean.

- Tegan Mortimer <teg.mortimerATgmailDOTcom>

Harmonics of the Great Gyres

Approaching the end of a week in Panama that saw Bodacious Dream transiting the Panama Canal… from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in just 12 hours!

6013_panama_300It’s early morning on Thursday and I’m heading down to the marina to put final provisions and water onto the boat and hopefully, by the time you read this, I will have departed. Our course will take us north towards the Yucatan passage that runs between Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and western tip of Cuba. From there, I’ll cross the Gulf Stream and skirt the Florida coast as I head to a stop-over in West Palm Beach.

The time here in Panama City has been fascinating. The city is lively and full of folks from all over the world. There is a great rejuvenation going on in the old part of the city where fine old buildings are being restored and renovated to accommodate stylish shops and fancy restaurants. The feel around here is vibrant. However, as all good journeys must continue, so must this one as well.

I expect the next few thousand miles will unleash a rush of memories that have stored up inside me since I departed Jamestown, RI on October 2nd of last year. I have no doubt that among those thoughts will be some more philosophical in nature … reflections on our amazing oceans and planet Earth. The time left on the voyage will pass quickly, but the memories I am sure will remain with me for many years to come – so I will try to share them with you here as they arise.

:: Marine Debris

One of the questions I get asked often is how much debris I see out on the water. I have to say that for most of the voyage and especially in my crossing of the desolate Southern Ocean, I didn’t see that much debris. Remember though, my course has taken me very far from land … except when arriving or departing from my scheduled stops.

Recently however, as I got to about 150 miles from Panama, I began to see floating debris everywhere. I would no sooner spot a floating piece of plastic and watch it trail off behind me, then I’d see another in front of me. One night on the approach to Panama, I heard the sound of something hard hitting the deck. I was below and suspected a piece of mast hardware had come loose and fallen. With flashlight in hand, I scanned around and found an old plastic cigarette lighter that had somehow been tossed up across the bow. I picked it up, and thought to myself …”This is not supposed to be here.”

As I learned on this trip, there is quite a field of scientific study that has built up around how man-made debris moves around in the ocean. Some special learnings for me came from a book I read called, Flotsometrics, written by Curtis Ebbesmeyers and Eric Scigliano.

Curtis spent his life as an engineer and oceanographer, first working on important issues with oil platforms: wave heights, sewage disposal and things of that nature. But along the way, as he studied the waters of Puget Sound in the northwest corner of the U.S., he became more and more fascinated with the general drift of ocean waters and what are known these days as the great “Gyres.” At present, oceanographers have identified five of these great gyres and 5 more minor ones.

World's GyresClick here to get a larger version.

The book was one of a selection given to me, just before I departed by Tegan Mortimer, our scientist colleague from Earthwatch, who thought I might find it intriguing. The book explains how through the centuries “drifters(items tossed into the sea to see where they would end up, like notes in a bottle, etc.) have been used to satisfy people’s wide-ranging curiosities about the world. From Columbus, who in observing various items floating in the sea and washing up on the shore, took it as evidence that there were other continents not that far away, to ancient peoples who commonly gravitated to specific beaches that collected the flotsam of the ocean. In many cases, these items helped provide these people with some of the necessities to help grow their civilizations. I found this book just fascinating, and especially how it was told in such a wondrous and whimsical way.

rubber duckyAs Curtis’ lifetime unfolded, he became more and more focused on these floating objects, and with the help of another software engineer friend, he began to use computers to model and predict the travels of the “drifters.”

Imagine the fun he had following and logging data on the 80,00 pairs of Nike shoes lost when a container ripped open off the coast of California, or that other famous lost container full of 28,800 actual yellow rubber ducky bath toys! Along the way, he also tries to solving the mystery of those duckies that floated upright, guided more by the wind, as opposed to those that floated upside down, more directed by the water.

This is truly a book that I can see reading and sharing with kids, as it inspires one to think and imagine more grandly the many interesting and serendipitous ways the oceans of the world interact with each other.

FloatsametricsThe part that especially captured my imagination and provoked me to write this came in the final chapter, Harmonics of the Gyres. With the sun setting into the western sea, I squinted to keep reading about how after years of study, he came to see that these gyres spin in predictable revolving patterns – revolutions that could be measured in years, and he saw how each gyre when compared to one another were separated by factors of two.

As he thought about it, it occurred to him that this was also the basis for our typical musical octave – our common scale – do, re, me, fa, so, la, te, do. So he saw that potentially, though far below the audible range of human beings, the earth’s oceans may have a similarly harmonic scale to them; a rhythm by which the watery worlds vibrate and sing to us, even if it is only our subconscious that hears it.

subtropical_gyres_550

It caused me to wonder in new ways about why it is I’ve always been so pulled to the waters of the world. How can I sit on the shore and stare off to the horizon for such long lengths of time? Why am I drawn to do what I’m doing, sailing across the oceans totally immersed in the environment, the boat, the sea and the weather? Perhaps this theory helps explain why some very basic part of me has always been so entranced by the music of the sea.

If you can find the time, grab this book and a map of the world and sit down with your children and explore the world with this whimsical oceanographer as your guide. In fact, I think when I grow up; I want to be an oceanographer too!

- Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin (who really liked the rubber ducky part)

:: BDX Website :: Email List Sign-Up :: Explorer Guides :: BDX Facebook

Tegan’s Science Notes #9: The Galápagos

Dave RearickAs I write this, I am less than 100 miles from Panama where I will commence a whole new adventure by traversing the Panama Canal. 

I do have a few more observations to share about my time in the Galapagos, but while I write those up, I’d like to hand-off here to our ocean scientist colleague Tegan Mortimer, who will share with us yet another in her wondrous series of “Science Notes” (See them all here!) – this new one on the Galapagos, naturally… as seen through the awesome lens of science! Take it away Tegan!

________________________________________________________________________
:: Tegan’s Science Notes #9 – The Galapagos

Tegan MortimerSailors called them the Enchanted Isles because strong currents and swirling mists could cause the islands to disappear and reappear right before their eyes. The Galápagos were made famous by Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835 during his voyage on board the HMS Beagle. The observations Darwin made on the islands had a direct impact on the development of his theory of evolution. Today these islands are still an unmatched source of biological wonder and continue to contribute to our study and understanding of the process of evolution.

Despite straddling the equator, the Galápagos do not have a tropical feel. In fact this archipelago is home to the northernmost penguin colony in the world, the only native penguins to be found in the Northern Hemisphere (though the penguins do spend most their time in the Southern Hemisphere, as only the most northern island is above the equator). You’ll remember from my African Penguins post (again, they are all listed on the Citizen Science page) that the KEY is in the water: cold, nutrient-rich water.

ocean_currents_470
Source: http://cmi2.yale.edu/galapagos_public/data.html

The Galápagos Islands are located in a unique area in which can be found the convergence of several currents of tropical and subtropical waters that upwell around the islands. For a long time oceanographers thought that the cold waters surrounding the Galápagos came from the Humboldt Current (also known as the Peru Coastal Current) which runs along the western coast of South America carrying cold Antarctic water northward. However another type of current, called an undercurrent, which runs below and opposite to a surface current, was discovered in 1956. This current, called the Equatorial Undercurrent or Cromwell Current after its discoverer, is now seen as the reason for the island’s cool waters. The Cromwell Current flows eastward the entire length of the equator in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of about 100 meters below the westward flowing surface currents. As the current approaches the Galápagos, it is forced upwards by underwater seamounts forming an upwelling system. The waters then flow westward again as part of the South Equatorial Current.

galapagos_map_550

There is a reason why Darwin’s visit to the Galápagos (as well as other islands) had such an effect on his ideas about evolution and natural selection. Islands often have a large number of endemic species, i.e., those that are found nowhere else. The Galápagos are no exception to this. But why do islands have so many unique animals? Geologically, the Galápagos are fairly young, they are volcanic islands formed sometime between 80 and 90 million years ago. In that time animals had to colonize the newly formed islands from the closest landmass, which is the mainland of South America, over 500 miles away. Of all the animal colonizers that reached the Galápagos, only a few would be able to survive and establish populations, which are the animals that still survive today – many of which Dave talked about in his updates.

Island_500

When animals colonize islands, a few things often happen. These animals have been ‘released’ from pressures like competition and predation that they were under in their original locale. so they can quickly diversify to take advantage of the many different ecological niches that are available in their new home. These animals often don’t have to worry about predators any longer so they lose many of their anti-predator behaviors. Dave’s story about the baby sea lion illustrates this very point. The parent seals can leave the babies alone while they go hunting, knowing that no predator will attack the vulnerable babies. It may also help explain why the baby sea lion in Dave’s story came right up to the tour group without any hesitation. Among birds, this absence of predators can account for why birds may become flightless (like the cormorant) or lay their eggs on the ground, just as the blue-footed booby does.

These traits make islands very susceptible to the effects that follow from introducing animals like cats, dogs and rats which can easily prey on native animals. Humans too have had a heavy impact on island populations by hunting some animals to extinction. Luckily, today we have come to realize just how fragile these ecosystems are, which has caused many people and organizations to take up the work of protecting such special and “endangered” places… including the Galápagos.

Darwin’s Finches

There’s one group of animals from the Galápagos that needs a special mention. Darwin’s finches are a group of 15 species of birds found throughout the islands which Darwin specifically mentions in his Origin of Species. In this way, these birds became an important part of the scientific history of evolutionary thought, and as I will explain still maintain an important role in our modern understanding of evolution and the ways humans can impact it.

darwinsfinches_500

These birds are the classic example the adaptive radiation I mentioned earlier. A colonizer species to the island, the finches diversified into these 15 species all of which have different shaped beaks, each of which is related to what type of food that particular species eats. These birds are thought to be the fastest evolving animals on earth, which means that researchers can follow them, year to year, and track the natural selection pressures which define which species thrive and which do not.

However, another pressure is being placed on them as well. Human foods, like rice, are now widely available in much of these finches’ range. Birds that feed on human foods can lose the characteristics that make them evolutionary ‘fit,’ as earlier selection pressures are no longer being placed on them. The loss of these characteristics can erode the differences between the various species of finches leading to a loss of biodiversity. So instead of 15 different species, which are highly evolved to eat different food sources, it’s possible we may end up with just a few species that feed on human scraps. It would be tragic loss of such an amazing group of birds.

This study of the finches is actually a research project that my colleagues at Earthwatch are conducting in the Galapagos not far from where Dave moored Bodacious Dream. You can find out more about their project called Following Darwin’s Finches in the Galapagos at the link.

- Tegan 

:: For more exciting science insights and opportunities, please check out our BDX Explorer Guides or stop by our Citizen Science Resources page, where you can also find all of Tegan’s previous Science Notes, Also, we welcome your input or participation to our BDX Learning and Discovery efforts. You can always reach us at …  <oceanexplorer@bodaciousdreamexpeditions.com>

:: BDX Website :: Email List Sign-Up :: Explorer Guides :: BDX Facebook

In the Galapagos Islands #1

Time sure does fly. I arrived here in in the Galapagos Islands and moored Bodacious Dream in Santa Cruz Harbor on Thursday morning. It took a bit of time to get settled before I could grab a much-needed shower and a great local breakfast complete with passion fruit juice and delicious fried plantains. The rest of Thursday and Friday were taken up with governmental errands, working around their annual May Day Holiday, catching up with emails and tracking down the best Wi-Fi hot spots!

crab2_550Red Rock Crab - Lives along the shore … used mostly for bait …

Each day I must take a trip out to Bodacious Dream‘s mooring. To do this, I need to take a water taxi; these boats run by locals hold about 12 people. There are probably a dozen working at any one time, wandering around the harbor moving people and supplies to and from boats, as well as to one of the farther corners of the harbor where people can land on a beach and hike inland. There are no roads to these beaches, so your only option is the water taxi.

water_taxi_550
A fancier Santa Cruz Water Taxi

I have to visit Bodacious Dream each day to check the lines and gear and to make sure that nothing is rubbing or wearing out that could cause big problems if undetected! This slow rubbing action is called “chafing,” and it’s one of those nagging and ongoing problems sailors face. A line rubbing back and forth across a hard surface doesn’t take long to wear through!

In the few days I’ve been here, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of other sailors from around the world. Most are headed where I’ve come from – deeper into the South Pacific or to New Zealand or Australia – so we’ve have had fun exchanging stories and information. As you might imagine, they come from all walks of life. Some are life-long sailors, some are new and have dropped out and are cruising around the world. Some are doing research on various projects, but each one had an interesting tale to tell, which has made evenings hanging out the local sidewalk cafés very lively and rich with conversation!

station_darwin_550Entrance to the Estacion Charles Darwin

Saturday afternoon, I took a walk up the road about a kilometer to the headquarters of the Park Nationale and the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is where they do much of the research on the giant tortoises and land iguanas, and where they have been able to hatch, incubate and raise tortoises in captivity and so help to keep the range of the various species strong on the islands.

land_iguana_550
A Land Iguana… 3-5 feet long – weighs up to 25 Pounds – can live 50-60 years!

Being more than a bit nosy, I tagged along with a tour group, eavesdropping in on the guide’s talk to pick up a few facts.

tortoise1_550Galápago is the Spanish name for Turtle … some of these near 500 pounds

Years ago, the tortoises were hunted by sailors who killed them for the meat and took them with them on the boats, keeping them alive until they were needed later for food. As a result, the tortoise population was nearly wiped out; hence, the need for a protected preserve and research area. One of the most famous turtles from around here was named Lonesome George. He was over 100 years old and the only surviving giant “pinta” tortoise. He died in 2012 and sadly, with him went extinct that entire species of tortoise.

tortoise4_550The number of tortoises on the islands today is around 15,000.

Most of the tortoises look the same until someone explains how they have each adapted to their various habitats. The most obvious differences in the tortoises I see are in the size and patterns of their shells and the lengths of their necks. Their necks range from short to medium and to long. They think this is because of the height of vegetation in the various islands and habitats from which they come. Low vegetation favors short necks; higher vegetation requires longer necks. Much of this is what Darwin discovered and documented during 1835 when aboard the HMS Beagle; he landed here for five weeks and studied various species of birds (finches in particular) and other wildlife.

There is so much to see here. Unfortunately, time is passing quickly so I won’t get the chance to do too much exploring on this trip. I am taking a tour on Tuesday to the island of North Seymour where I should get a chance to see all sorts of interesting and infamous species of birds and wild life. I’m especially looking forward to encountering the Blue-footed Boobie … that, believe it or not, actually does have blue feet! I’ve seen pictures before; now I can’t wait to see them in real life!

giant_prickly_pear_550
Giant Prickly Pear Cactus - Iguanas love their fruit

For now, I’ve got more chores to do with the boat today. As you can imagine, using the water taxi to get fuel and provisions to the boat takes up a lot of time. Then I hope this afternoon to get the chance to explore one of the other beaches that is close to the downtown area of Santa Cruz. I know I’ll enjoy the hike, since my legs don’t get all that much exercise when I’m on the boat.

By later afternoon on Wednesday, I hope to be back at sea, headed to the Panama Canal. So, we’ll update you before I leave and along the way.

Thanks for following along!

- Dave (on land with no Bodacious Dream and no Franklin with some people!)