March 16 letter from Adam

HI Guys,

I have sailed quite a few miles since the last time I wrote. Lets see, I think I was north of Hawaii las time I checked in. The Polar Adventure has since crossed the International Date Line, ducked south of the Tropic of Cancer, sailed throught the Mariana Islands and passed through Luzon Strait into the South China Sea.

I am having to adjust my clock back every few days, one hour at a time as the ship travels through multiple time zones. This makes it very difficult for me to call home and know when Lisa and Annabel are awake. Sometimes I mess up and call wicked early in the morning or miss them after they have gone to bed. Right now It is 7:00 PM on Monday and it is 7:00 AM for you guys. I am getting ready for bed and you are getting ready for the bus. When I left California, I was only three hours behind you on the same day. Well how did I get twelve hours ahead of you?

Crossing the International Date Line can be a little confusing. It makes a big difference on wether you are steaming East or West when you go to adjust your clock. Its your direction that determines how you manage time onboard your ship when you pass.
A day on earth starts at the Date Line. So when the sun passes directly over that point, it is noon on that day at the date line. Well guess what? It is noon at each and every place on earth that the sun passes directly overhead, and the sun is always moving. Well actually the earth is spinning, the sun is still. Are you confused yet?
Like I said, it is confusing. The truth is the International Date Line is an imaginary line. So it happened like this, my ship was traveling West on March 4th and at 11:30 AM, we crossed the Date Line. As soon as that happened, it was then March 5th at 11:30. It was like hitting a time warp.

Now picture this. If my ship was traveling East, how would we handle the time onboard and what would happen to the date when we crossed the Date Line? Think about it and get back to me!

The Mariana Islands are home to the deepest part of the ocean. The Marianas Trench as they call it, is almost seven miles deep (35,800 feet). Can you imagine how big the pile of rope would have to be to set a lobster trap in seven miles of water? I didn’t see any lobster buoys around as we passed. Nobody had that much rope I guess.

The trip through Luzon Strait, a part called Bashi Channel, is very exciting. That is where we started to see a lot of other ship traffic after a pretty lonely trip across the Pacific. Luzon Strait is between Taiwan and the Phillipines and takes you into the South China Sea. That is where I am now and there are ships everywhere! It is like a super highway for ships, except there are no lines on the road. In the South China Sea you see every type of ship imaginable. Car Carriers, Tankers, Container Ships, Flo Flo Ships (Float on/Float off), Ro Ro Ships (Roll on/Roll off), Fishing Ships, Navy Ships, Livestock Carriers, Drill Ships, and what ever other ship is out there. On top of all the ships, there are the smaller fishing boats. We are zigging and zagging all the time to make our way through.

The craziest thing I have seen over here are the Tea Cup Fisherman. Right in the middle of the shipping lanes there are these guys, each in his own little tiny boat that looks like a Tea Cup. It has no motor and it is completely round with no bow or stern. A bigger boat plops them in the water with one guy or two and they drift around and fish until the big boat come back to pick them up. Goodness knows how long they have to wait to be picked up. All they have is a little white light that shows where they are so my ship doesn’t hit them. Be thankful that you don’t have that fishing job!

Well, I am four days away from arrival in Singapore. I will write more from the shipyard and tell you whats happening. I look forward to hearing from you all!