20 - 24 April: At Sea, Western Pacific Odyssey. We departed Chuuk Island,
Micronesia late evening on 19 April. We would spend the next eight and half
days at sea! The original schedule called for us to land at the Bonin
Islands, Japan. However, the schedule has been modified (and two days
dropped off the voyage, making it a 31 day voyage and not a 33 day voyage).
We shall not make landfall until the morning of 28 April. The first two
days at sea, 20 + 21 April were definitely "dead zone" days. Precious few
seabirds were observed. We crossed the Mariana Trench, one of the deepest
places on the planet. Most folks on board were heavily involved in either
reading books, editing photographic images, making plans for birding in
Japan, or watching DVDs. I am reading, "The Bounty" by Caroline Alexander.
Several of us watched the Lyrid meteor shower, and a "tropical" party theme
was held in the bar. Until the late evening of 22 April, we were, again,
riding in the trough. The seas calmed that night. 23 April the first Bonin
Petrels were spotted in the early morning. And, today, 23 April, the first
Bannerman's Shearwaters were spotted, again in the very early morning. About
10 am, we crossed the Tropic of Cancer. Seas have smoothed out considerably.
It remains quite warm and tropical on deck, and quite a few Matsudaira's
Storm-Petrels are following in our wake.
Debi Shearwater, on the Western Pacific Odyssey