Day 170, Year 5: The BIOT Boat
Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Weather: Partly Sunny with Rain Off and On; Winds Variable
Location: Ile du Coin, Peros Banhos Atoll, Chagos

Last night just after Mark sent the log, he went outside to take a look around. He was a bit surprised to see ship lights coming our way as that is not something we normally see here in the atoll. We figured it had to be the BIOT boat, the Pacific Marlin, but there was no way to tell that at night. We watched it until it anchored and checked in by radio with Constance to tell them we had company in the anchorage. They had been watching the lights as well and had tracked it on radar. They agreed that it must be the Pacific Marlin. It was a coincidence that when we sent the log we received an email from our son-in-law Jed that included an article about Chagos that mentioned the Pacific Marlin. The article from the Times of London Online announced that on April 1 Britain announced the creation of the world’s largest marine nature reserve in Chagos-all 250,000 square miles of ocean in and around the atolls here. The article said that the ocean here is some of the “best preserved seas on the planet.” I can certainly believe that and we believe that the presence of the Pacific Marlin has something to do with this. Again, quoting the Times of London article, “The area is patrolled by the Pacific Marlin, a small vessel that costs £1.7 million a year to operate. Until now licenses sold to French, Spanish, Korean and Taiwanese tuna-fishing vessels contributed about £1 million a year to the cost. A faster patrol ship will probably be necessary to prevent illegal fishing in the new reserve, but there are hopes that the US military base will assist enforcement by sharing information from existing intelligence networks on activity in the area.” Making this area a reserve has doubled the global coverage of the world’s oceans under protection. Those that used to live here oppose this move because it means that they can never return to live here. They had hoped that once the US is no longer leasing Diego Garcia that they might return. But on the positive side, because this area is literally unpolluted, making it a reserve assures “a valuable scientific baseline against which to judge human impacts to other areas of ocean.” The Pacific Marlin is a bright red vessel and she spent her day here at anchor. The large dinghy went far out into the atoll, probably gathering scientific data, and then at sunset, she pulled up anchor and went back out of the atoll the way she came in last night. We saw camera flashes as she left, so maybe there will be a photo of Windbird and Constance in Chagos recorded somewhere in the history books.

We had a bit of a rocky start to our morning. We had our granola and checked for email and then I went to the forward head to get some cleaning agents. I have been smelling this sweet smell every time I open the door to that head and this morning I discovered what it was. A big bag of dry Tide detergent was stored on the sink counter and it had somehow torn open and there was a huge pile of Tide on and in the sink. It is amazing how sweet it smelled. An hour later that was cleaned up and Mark found the next problem. He was turning the eggs when he saw something dripping-a broken egg. So we had to take the egg palates apart and check and clean each egg. We found five bad ones, so it was a good exercise. But when we finished it was 10:30 and we were just starting our day. I cleaned the wooden louvered cabinets in the galley and then applied lemon oil to them while Mark worked on the electrical connections of the solar panels. The connections to the fuses were corroded and needed to be cleaned and fuses changed. We kept thinking the solar panels weren’t clean enough and that was the reason we weren’t getting a charge from them, but now we know it was the connections. In the afternoon, I wrote emails and Mark went to Constance to help Lynne organize the files on her computer and ran software to eliminate viruses that may have gotten on her computer when she was connected to the internet in Gan. She has been getting warnings since then but hopefully today’s work eliminated the problem. Later, Mark went to shore with Ed to burn garbage and get more water. We had dinner on Constance tonight. It was a squid pasta and was delicious. Lynne caught the squid and Ed fixed the pasta-a perfect combination.

I can’t believe it, but the calendar tells me it has been two months since my brother Dickie died. Today would have been his 75th birthday, so I know this is a particularly hard day for my sister-in-law. Conda, we just want you to know that we are thinking of you.

100414 Day 170 Peros Banhos, Chagos–Pacific Marlin Visits Ile du Coin