Journal Entry  -  September 30, 1999  -  Day 19

Thursday Evening Position Report
8:00 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time

19 Degrees, 14 Minutes North


105 Degrees, 47.7 Minutes West

Days Run:

53 Nautical Miles


4.43 Knots (Average)  running at reduced speed due to a fixed ETA of October 16 at the Panama Canal.

Total Run This Leg:  1,136 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.25 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  216.5 Hours, 9.02 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  1,811 Nautical Miles to Balboa Sea Buoy, Panama
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  7:00 a.m., Saturday, October 16
Present Course:  125 Degrees South by Southeast
Winds:  25 Knots from the Southeast, dropping off slowly from 40 Knots through the afternoon
Seas & Swells:  Combined at 10 Feet from the Southeast
Barometric Pressure:  1008 Millibars
Air Temperature:  81 Degrees
Visibility:  10 Miles
Skies:  Partly Cloudy
Sea Floor:  2,475 Fathoms or 14,850 Feet

Position:  USS New Jersey continues on a South by Southeast track off the West coast of Mexico, and is currently 82 Nautical Miles nearly due West of Manzanillo.

Superb Technology, Very Shaky Frame

For more than three weeks straight, from Bremerton, Washington to Long Beach, California and through USS New Jersey's passage Southbound off Baja California, Mexico, the Sea Victory and the Battleship have enjoyed calm, following seas, good weather and steady progress.

Today and this evening, the sea finally presented another face.  By the standards of the Sea Victory's experienced crew, these conditions are no more worth noting than each day's rise and fall of the sun.  But to this reporter, who relies on typing words on a small laptop computer to send to a New Jersey state website, a rollicking sea asserts purely physical challenges not confronted on this trip until now.

Gale force winds of up to 40 Knots at noon generated sea swells that had the tug in a continuous hold, as some kind of Humphrey Bogart, Captain Quigg marble, rolling around nervously in the palm of his hand. Captain Ogaard called them moderate to heavy seas.  We'll take the following seas, thank you.

Stability is a desirable condition for typing on a small keyboard.  Great heaving sea motions, unexpected, sustained and frequent, turn one's fingers and arms into simple runaway limbs, when the body's frame reaches desperately for balance, and manages only to find it 4 or 5 feet away.

Then, returning to type, having survived collapse or visions of dismemberment, brings a grand sense of accomplishment.  For about 13 seconds.  Until the next surge of sea hoists the tug upward, around and over, producing the identical loss of control, as a youngster losing balance while straddling a teeter-totter's mid-point.

Through it all, though, the technology available aboard the tug, and usually at these fingertips, has shown the opposite performance.  The Sea Victory weathers it all and brings USS New Jersey closer to home; the Virginia Beach LandSea Systems marine satellite telephone for uploading and dispatching these reports has never failed; and, Comsat corporation's reliable connection to the Inmarsat satellite system has proven flawless and completely reliable, despite angry winds and seas.

We eagerly anticipate the return of our teeter-totter balance

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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