Thursday, September 11, 2008

And Plenty of Sleep...

From Karen and the crew in Majuro:

As of 6:30pm Majuro time (0630 Zulu), he was at 11 12.0S and 137 52.0E. He's got light wind and is doing about 3.5 knots, no swell, flat seas and about 450 miles to go to Darwin. I think Laurence will beat him!
As is very normal for Australia, since entering Torres Straits he's had visits in the air from the surveillance aircraft. Usually these are small Beachcraft type planes that are simply monitoring all movement. I think he said two of three in the last few days. This is good. This is great. They know where he is.
Bummer. He lost a lure and was sad about that. It was something huge... it broke his 320 pound mono-filament line (which Cary gave to him and Chris on Moana). A giant beast of the deep in his cockpit would have been... er, probably a pain.
Zac asked who was going to be able to make it down to Darwin. I think there was a hope you could make it... but we said Laurence and Jen will be there on Friday.
I asked him about sleep, cos as we know through Torres Straits he'd been missing those ZZZZs.... and he said "I've had tons of sleep." Cary just said "he's totally caught up on sleep."
We talked about the computer screen. No luck so far. A couple of the Majuro Team Zac gave him some suggestions, so we'll see tomorrow.
During the radio sched a solo sailor guy in Musket Cove, Fiji, Bob Rouner on Boomerang, hopped into the conversation. He had good copy and agreed to tune up tomorrow and see how all was going. I think the personal Zac scheds are about to widen, which is super.
Jerry and Bob spent a bit of time feeling sorry for this young man having to talk to "us old folks", but Zac said: "Hey, it's great." Then he mentioned that the Dove guy spent a lot of time talking to "old folks" and sounded quite happy about this feature.
Bob said: "Good luck on your great adventure. I'm 65 years old and I'm out here on my own too."
Jerry (McGraw on Po'Oino Roa in Majuro, Marshall Islands) suggested Boomerang Bob
should google Zac. Bob replied: "Just so happens that while I'm talking to you on the radio I've googled Zac on my wi-fi and I'm reading all about him right now."

So the boy sounds good, no? Laurence and I spoke on Skype while he was at the airport in Brisbane awaiting his connection into Darwin. He will try to hop on the Majuran net tonight at the Darwin Sailing Club and get Zac hooked up with some folks in Darwin who can advise as to the currents/tides on his approach to Darwin. So, Laurence is gone and Zac is incommunicado...what will I do? Go to bed early with 2 kids in my bed and 2 more on the floor!


Blogger Daveh said...

@ Axel – Funny, but their boat, albeit 80’, has sat in the placid waters of the Caribbean for 8 years. They know me well… They know I’m a fuel snob due to my many and vast experiences with bad fuel and just general diesel problems. Soooooooo they know I’ll be doing a personal inspection of the tanks prior to venturing into the West Side of the Canal… I’ve already lectured them, “do you guys have any idea what kind of crud is sitting in the bottom of your tanks just waiting to be slushed about for your filters?

@ Melanie in Torrence – I call her whatever she tells me to call her LOL… Trust me on this, she probably holds the world record for the question; “is that your real name?”, which is always followed up with a secondary probing question of; “is it on your birth certificate?”…


September 11, 2008 at 7:47 PM  
Blogger Daveh said...

Cool post Marianne, I can tell that you are about as relaxed as I've ever heard you...

Boy sleeps, mom sleeps... But will the other chil-ren sleep???

Great post!


September 11, 2008 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

You're so fortunate to have all these wonderful people stepping in to help you co-parent!

Santa Monica

September 11, 2008 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

It all sounds fantastic on the Zac front, except that he wished his mum was going to be in Darwin. I wish you could too Marianne.

But it sounds like you have the REAL Zac-pac at your feet, and can take this time to enjoy them. And you too, can catch up on sleep!!

Thanks for the update. So glad Zac is almost there! Can't wait to hear. I'm dying to see how the boat is doing. Zac's video showed rope, bolts, and other issues, I hope are minor fixes!

Take care Sunderland's. Praying for you always!


September 11, 2008 at 8:57 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Hi There Zac, Marianne, Laurence, Zunderland family, and ZacPac too:

A BIG salute to Captain Zac for an amazing leg! It has all of the drama of high adventures on the open sea, and your video adds so much to what our imagination creates from reading these thrilling blog entries. Tuna and sleep, very welcome and much deserved. Hats off to Mum and Dad for keepig their sanity throughout this leg, Zac as you get older and some day have children of your own, you will greatly appreciate what your parents have endured, and how challenging this has been for them. But, you my man, may you be higly encouraged for your endurance, courage, and faith, which has served you well thus far. You CAN complete this. May your time in Darwin be a new adventure, and provide you with the necessities for the next leg.

ZacPac ~ For those that are newer, you can see just how widespread the ZacPac is by viewing and putting your pin on the Zac Guestmap at

And anyone that has a pin that you wish to move or that is not where you want it, let me know by email and I will delete it and you can then add a new pin.

Blessings to all,
Bob in OKC

September 11, 2008 at 9:08 PM  
Blogger MissWarren said...

Glad to know all is well.
Id love to know what all your other children think about Zac's adventure?
Do any of them want to follow in their brothers footsteps?

September 11, 2008 at 9:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news all around (except for the one that got away!). It's wonderful how so many people jump into help when help is needed.

And now, Marianne, Zac is well rested and Laurence, at this point, is probably in Darwin getting things ready for Zac.

How about a nice soak in the tub?
Perhaps a glass of wine?
You deserve a rest after all you've been through lately.

Continued prayers for Zac and Team Sunderland. We so appreciate all that you and Laurence do to keep us Zac Packers informed.

Many blessings!

Sherman Oaks, CA

September 11, 2008 at 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Meredith and the boys said...

Way to go mom!

Way to go Zac!

You are ALL in our prayers!

Can't wait til Zac get back online to hear his news. The boys really enjoy the blog and are now asking when we can go sail around the world!

Thanks for letting us be apart of the journey!

Love the new YouTube video!

your biggest fans in TN ...

September 11, 2008 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger bakergirls said...

Sunderland Family,
I am sure it will be quite a reunion for Zac and Laurence. How nice for the both of them. Good to hear that Zac has caught up on much needed rest. We are daily impressed with his instinct and navigational skills. What gifts and talents he has.

Praying Daily,
The Bakers

September 11, 2008 at 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Ginger in Colorado said...

Great post Marianne!

I know how glad you must be for the help of all these wonderful people!

Praise God that you are getting information on Zac "through the grapevine" as it were. This Zac PAC community is awesome!

Blessings to you and the whole Sunderland gang camped out in your bedroom!

Smooth sailing Captain Zac...enjoy the time with your dad. We're all very proud of you!

September 11, 2008 at 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to get updates On Zac's progress, no matter who writes them! Glad that he has had a chance to get some rest.

Question; Zac's locations, as given in the last three postings, seem to show him heading approx WSW towards a mass of small islands at the NW corner of the Gulf of C. Beyond that to the west, is a huge mainland land mass in his way before the approach to Darwin. It seems that he is now far enough south, that he will have to alter course to the north to navigate around this land mass, before he can approach Darwin..... at least that is the way it appear on Google Earth. My question is, why he is going so far south at this point, when it appears that a course, perhaps 10 degrees to the north for the last three days, would have kept him well clear of the islands and coastline, until he is much further west, at which point he would turn south towards Darwin?

I imagine there is a good reason, but can't figure what it might be. Hopefully someone will have an answer.

September 11, 2008 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Fulgum said...

Thanks so much, Marianne. The "Karen" update was really informative. Sounds like Zac is doing swimmingly great! I can't wait to see some pics and updates from Darwin!!!


It must be difficult being the person left behind. You want to see how your swashbuckling son is doing on his great, big adventure, but the rest of the family requires your attention at home.

Consolation prize: When Zac nears Central America, perhaps the entire family can go on a tropical vacation? Meet Zac in Costa Rica after he goes through the canal?
I hear Costa Rica is incredible!



September 11, 2008 at 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another wonderful blog.

What a mom and what a family!
I can just picture the scene.
Being a mother myself,I can identify quite often with you M.
I guess we just get by...a day at a time....sometimes an hour at a time....and sometimes a moment at a time. Guess that is how it is supposed to be. You're doing a wonderful job.
Loved the new video of Zac and Intrepid....wonderful... but scary, all at the same time.
What an incredible young man.
Our prayers continue.
UK friend.

September 12, 2008 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

As always Marianne, many thanks for keeping us all up to date; we LOVE hearing from you!

That flight to Oz is NOT fun.....I traveled from Rochester, NY to Tasmania just this past Feb.. Hope Laurence had a good seat....LOL!!

I'm sure your entire family is just bursting with pride for your young man. Such an amazing adventure, handled with such grace. It's a pleasure to see something so positive esp. in the times we live in. Reading this blog and hearing all the encouragement, and offers of lifting Zac in prayer does a body good. Look how many people have come together to cheer all of you on!!! My prayer is that after Zac finishes THIS journey he will continue to be true to himself, live out all his dreams and be the inspiration' I'm sure he's been already to others.

Well done Laurence and Marianne, I'm sure all your young ones will go on to do great things. Blessings to all of you.

Best wishes, and keeping you in prayer,
Anita M. Miracle ~_/)
Waterloo, NY

September 12, 2008 at 3:11 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

I noticed the harbour in Darwin seems to have a lock like entrance with the ability to close it during low tides. Is that the way it is? Is it only accessable during flood, or near full flood tides? If so, that will require more time sensative arrival adjustments.

Peter Mercer - Ontario Canada

September 12, 2008 at 3:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "kid" sounds great! Gotta love any 16-year-old who enjoys conversing with the "old folks." As if we all didn't already love Zac. Hope you got a good night's sleep knowing that he is rested up and anticipating "dad time" and further adventures in Darwin. Must be very hard to stay back and let go. Kudos to you for all you do, Marianne!


September 12, 2008 at 4:31 AM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...

If Team Sunderland was ever out of complete control of the situation, it's moot now. It apears that they're on top of most everything and itching to get their hands on the rest. It'll all be sorted out before Zac leaves Darwin ... well fed and well rested and ready to just do it!!

This blog has become a community bound by a common thread ... Capt'n Zac and the Intrepid, and it'll last for several more months. How great is that?!

For centuries the Eskimos and the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest have dried fish as a means of preservation. Is this a viable plan for Zac when he catches more that he can eat before it goes bad? Any Native Americans here? Eskimos?

Sail on.

The Croaker

September 12, 2008 at 4:55 AM  
OpenID nettieg222 said...

Glad to hear you are finally thru the Torres Straits and safe and sound, am happy to read your Mum and Dad's posts, but miss hearing about things from your perspective! I love the Youtube video - it was awesome. I also sent you a "friend" request on Facebook :-)! Keeping you in my prayers.

September 12, 2008 at 5:13 AM  
Blogger Willyboy said...

Thanks, Karen and Marianne for the update. Glad Zac has gotten some rest! I agree with Karen, hauling in and dealing with something that ended up breaking a 320 pound line might be more trouble than it's worth. Wonder what it was...

Hang tight, Marianne... Zac will be in Darwin before you know it and you'll be able to catch up with him. In the interim, it sounds like he has plenty of people in contact with him - plus the Australian "border patrol". All seems well...

Cheers all,

milford, ohio

September 12, 2008 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger Heather Wilds said...

Sounds like everyone is catching up on much needed rest from the Torres Strait. My heart is filled with pride as we watch him conquer fears and surpass even his own expectations.

September 12, 2008 at 5:41 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Team Sunderland & Everyone,

Thank you again Karen for this update. What would we do without you!!!

So Zac catches a tuna yesterday and today almost brings up a small whale into the cockpit. I guess when you break that "never caught a fish" it comes back to bite you. Sorry about loosing the lure and the small whale. In fishing this is always expected, you loose more lures than the fish you actually catch.

It's great to hear that Zac actually got plenty of sleep. I know that was something he was really lacking especially after passing the Straits.

It sounds great that we know Zac is communicating with others like Jerry and Bob. Laurence is almost there so please don't worry so much Marianne. You'll be hearing from Zac shortly.

Marianne it sounds like getting into bed was tough. You can't walk into bed without stepping on a few kids and even if you make the bed it's already occupied. I hope it turned out well and you actually received the much needed rest you deserve. Hopefully you didn't sleep on the couch.

It's great to have you back on the blog writing again.

Sail On,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

September 12, 2008 at 6:14 AM  
Anonymous bikegirl said...

People talk about it being a small world. I think Zac's is getting bigger and bigger each day. The number of people meeting Zac, hearing about Zac, and following his story will be quite incredible when this journey is over.

With all the negative stuff you hear about folks today it is great to know that decent people really do exist and all over the world.

Smooth Sailing Zac.

September 12, 2008 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Hey Zac and family,

Wow, what a ride, eh?! I was on 'holiday' last week and missed some stuff; so when I got back and started reading the blog from Laurence about losing communication, I decided to go back and read the other blogs first. I'm so happy it had a pretty good ending. That had to be crazy worry when you thought he was way off course.

It seem like the Torres Straight was fairly good, although it was probably Zac's skill that made it seem so. He probably has a different perspective!

I had found the youtube video and I think I was the first subscriber. I also left a comment on it, but sometimes youtube has issues, and so my comment didn't post. It was neat to see a little video of life on Intrepid!

The tuna~~wonderful! Finally!

I hope your hand is healing good Zac. Take care of you and have a wonderful time in Oz!

Thanks so much to everybody who is helping to keep us informed.

September 12, 2008 at 6:31 AM  
Blogger John said...

Turn about is fair play! Bob Rouner can be googled too.

September 12, 2008 at 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the boy sounds great...and so does any night you can curl up with the remaining children and go to bed early.

September 12, 2008 at 7:05 AM  
Blogger Joy on Journey said...

G-d bless you, MaryAnn! Your 2 men gone! Thanks for keeping us up to speed (again!)

SOO Glad to hear Zac is a well-rested dude again. That is wonderful. I am also so glad he can be in contact with SOMEONE - and so glad they can relay, and you can Amazing.

Won't be long now until he is on land again.

The coordinates look like he should be further north - but - he's the Captain! The new Teen Captain of Navigation! I'll just keep watching ;)

Karen didn't report Intrepid's wind up the bum again? That was really new sailing terminology to me! :P

Breaking 320 lb test! UGH! I think I am glad he DIDN'T get whatever that was aboard!

Zac DOES sound good and we look forward egerly to new video to SEE him LOOKING good, too!

Sail on, Cap'n Zac! To OZ and beyond!

LA in MN

September 12, 2008 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Mona said...

Yes, the boy sounds good and so do you. There seemed to be a calmness in your post that was good to hear. As much as I know you would love to be in Darwin I'm sure it does your heart good to know that Laurence is on shore waiting for him.
Boy, everyday it seems more and more people are joining the Zac Pac. Does Zac know how many people he has pulled together from all over the world? And he is only 3 months into his adventure. Can you imagine how big this family of Zac Packers will grow by the time Zac sails into MDR?
It's so exciting to part of something so positive, heartwarming and adventurous, all at the same time!
Thanks for the post Marianne.
Glad to hear you are caught up on sleep and you have people to check in with. Hope you're still enjoying that Tuna. A rested mind and a full belly should make sailing into a Darwin a breeze.
Sail Safe,
Tucson, AZ

September 12, 2008 at 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the boy sounds good. Good and rested and ready to approach Darwin. Who could ask for more? A little more wind might be nice at this juncture.

Thanks to Karen in Majuro for the broad update. I'd love to see some video of the attempt at catching the "big one." Good thing it didn't catch Zac and pull him into the water!

His spirits sound good and I'm sure he's enjoying chatting up those "old salty dogs" on the radio. No offense to our resident salty dogs. LOL

As for you my dear; your evening sounded absolutely delightful. I miss when my kids used to want to climb into bed with us. I guarantee you will too, although it seems like it's gonna be awhile before that happens!

Finally, it sounds like everyone in the Sunderland family is exactly where they're supposed to be. You, holding down the fort at home, Laurence in Darwin awaiting Zac's arrival, and Zac is slowly making his way towards Darwin. I KNOW you wish you could be there, to welcome him, hold him, and brush those bangs out of his eyes. Having Skype will be great so that you and Zac can see each other.

Melanie in Torrance

September 12, 2008 at 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This query is for the Majuro team, What time (Zulu) is the Majuran net and what freq ??? I have access to some remote radio's located in various places around the globe and wanted to see if I can hear you guys from here in HNL. I have no problems copying the Sheila net on 8 Mhz. The second reason is that I wanted to try calling Zac direct from the air on SSB. I work for the airlines and am flying another SFO-Sydney trip tomorrow evening so instead of playing around on the ham freqs (yes I get bored on those long night flights)and checking in on Maritime mobile nets I thought I'd try the marine ssb freqs using our aircraft callsign (legal over international waters)Should you not want to put the detail on the blog please drop an email to Musket Cove brings back memories..we spent a couple of months there (Dicks place) many years back when we were sailing from Sydney to San Francisco...its a great anchorage and peaceful spot to drop the hook for awhile.
Those of you who have never been to OZ can get an idea of the place on this site (with some oz style music for company)


September 12, 2008 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Bill Mann said...

Congrats on the much needed rest both by Mum and Son.

As we have been focusing on fuel and contamination recently, just a hint for all the Zac Pack

Two of my many kids are auto mechanics. Both of them have relayed the following to me.

As the price of fuel, both gas and diesel has risen,so has their business fixing breakdowns of vehicles that will not start. Folks are letting their fuel tanks run very low which allows the gunk at the bottom of the tanks to be sucked up into the fuel pump, fuel filter, injectors or carburator.

So a word to all my fellow Zac Packers. Do not let the tank run dry so we can all drive down to welcome Zac back home.

Godspeed Zac, enjoy your stay in Darwin, don't catch any giant squid or whales. And need I mention, take a photo of the local barbershop?

Bill Mann
South Pasadena,CA

September 12, 2008 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger MarianneS said...

The Majuran radio net meets at 0630Z on 12356. Laurence will be trying to get everyone on the Darwin net today. I will post this info when I get it.
I know his position reports aren't accurate. Radio connections have been light. I am working more off of his longitude as a guide only. His latitude has him sailing through land today! I'm sure he is fine. Will update accurate positions ASAP>

September 12, 2008 at 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

This is the article that Karen Earnshaw ran in Pacific Magazine about Zac's phone mishap:

September 12, 2008 at 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Karyn in Simi said...

Oh yes, one more thing - about the hair that is....

I vote that he get a colorful local bandana or kerchief and tie it around his forhead to keep hair out of his eyes, or around his head pirate style!

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Oh Bill, you have a great idea! He should get his picture taken in front of a barber shop in every port he stops in! With his hair longer and longer!

Just my 2 cents.....

September 12, 2008 at 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Marianne, appreciate the radio sched details. 12 Mhz probably will work even better than 8Mhz given the time of day. Once they start working down to 4 and 2 during the day things get pretty limited/short range. Night time its great except for the static crashes.



September 12, 2008 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Zac! We loved the videos! So happy you made it thru the Torres Strait, we were praying for you! Have a great time in Darwin with you dad! Still cheering you on everyday! You make us all proud! Your fans in Charleston, South Carolina...Karen, Guy and Emma

September 12, 2008 at 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Zac's caught up on his sleep, and that you will be able to get some too, Marianne.

If Zac could make it through the Torres Straits, then I'm sure my family and I can make through this terrible Hurricane Ike. Water is already covering Galveston. The winds and rain have only been slight in Houston, but are supposed to pick up around 4:00 p.m. (CST) Winds are to be around 75-100 mph starting sometime during the night. Please keep us in your prayers too. Thnx:)

Anyways...glad to hear everything is going well and that Dad will be in Darwin with Zac. If only you could go too, Mum. :(

Zac, you've definitely got this down: "I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship". -Louisa May Alcott
Three cheers for Zac!!

This poem also reminded me of what you are doing: "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail". -Henry David Thoreau

My prayers are with you Zac, and family. God bless ya'll!

Much love, Elissa
Houston, Texas

September 12, 2008 at 1:31 PM  
Blogger Bill Mann said...


You are definately in our prayers, along with everyone in the path of Ike.

Stay safe and please let us know how you and your neighbors come through the storm.

Not only are Zac, Marianne, Laurence and the siblings part of the family, everyone participating on the blog are part of the family.


Bill Mann

September 12, 2008 at 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, another thing. I don't think Zac should cut his hair, just keep it outta his face. I wonder how long it'll be (if he doesn't cut it) by the time he gets back home?...
Safe Sailing to Ya, Zac

byebye. l8r.

Houston, TX

September 12, 2008 at 3:40 PM  
Anonymous JiffyLube said...

I knew Zac would get through the Torres Straits, and I'm sure that it was a very tiring situation. It's clear sailing for Zac now to Darwin!

I have a question regarding the Google Earth positions for Zac. I've noticed that the numbers do not match for Lat and long, so maybe someone can explain this to me.

Lets take the last position on 9/12/08 0630UTC, 11 12s 137 52e. When I select that position, and select Properties, the Lat and Long do not match the Name postion of 11 12s 137 52e. Also if you look at the View tab, the Lat and Long do not match the Lat and Long on the first tab.

September 12, 2008 at 8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you who are suffering a serious assault from Hurricane Ike. Keep in touch with us, please.

Melanie in Torrance

September 12, 2008 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Billabong Blog said...

I'm so glad Zac finally caught a fish and Marianne gets to relax.

Some fish fun facts:
A striking 50 lb Tuna can swim at 40mph so the forces are incredible, especially if you don't have a snubber (stretchy bit) to take the shock. We upgraded to 400lb test and still break the line frequently. Fish are funny, we've run 10 inch lures and caught 15 inch fish and watched as a 12+ foot tuna with a "wing" span of 5 + feet toyed with are smaller lures.

On a sailboat we find the handlines work better because they don't require immediate/constant attention when the fish strikes. When a reel is screaming you have to be on it right away or they'll take the whole thing. Usually it requires you to slow down the boat and work it for a while. With a monster handline the fish fights it and we just keep on sailing. Of course you have to be incredibly careful not to get the line wrapped around your hands or feet because if the fish goes the other way that force will be applied directly to YOU. Plus a handline seems like a fairer fight .. mano-a-mano!!
Our catch photo log

@daveh. I've got a buddy who's name is Flipper. He's an emergency room trauma surgeon, can you imagine the horrified looks? Dr Flipper, I think he recently changed it to Flip.

ps. can't watch the you-tube video.. It's banned here in Turkey,, uggh!

September 12, 2008 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Piglet said...

I'm glad Zac got some copious amounts of sleep although I think he will need more once in Darwin to fully get himself fully reset for his next leg.


September 12, 2008 at 9:33 PM  
Blogger Billabong Blog said...

Did you know?

Zac just crossed the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and the East Australian current (EAC), made more famous by Nemo than by anything else!! It is formed by all the surface currents kicked up by the SE trades Zac was using. Once the current reaches PNG it splits, most going down the east coast of Australia and some up the east coast of PNG. The little gap (otherwise known as the Torres Straits) can get some serious current but the full force isn't felt due to the shallower reef strewn waters. However it does flush through some food for the fish waiting at the far end (like Zac's Fish).

Did you know the GBR world's biggest single structure made by living organisms? It's daunting for ships but amazing to experience underwater. The reef and the currents interact in a symbiotic relationship. The current spreads the coral polyps which allow the reefs to spread and grow.

If you take a look at the Map
you'll see the increased reefs on the East coast of Australia. If you follow Zac's track back across the South Pacific you'll notice that a lot of the atolls have thicker reef (and protection) on the East and SE sides (due to currents). In the Northern hemisphere the thicker sides are typically facing those trade winds and currents (NE). There are counter currents that flush back East around the equator and those can change the reef balance on the Western side of the those atolls.

You really learn about these things cruising in this area during Cyclone season. Cyclones usually don't form between 7S and 7N (not enough Coriolis spin is generated), but you can feel the wind and swell effects because they come from the unprotected side (opposite the trade winds).

Some Wikipedia links for those that made it this far.

Great Barrier Reef
Torres Strait
Coral Atoll
Trade Winds
Ocean Currents
Tropical Cyclone

ps. Don't worry this will NOT become a daily thing. I was just reflecting back on the questions I asked while passing through the same area (and later researched). The world is an amazing place if you dive into it!!


September 12, 2008 at 10:22 PM  
Blogger Billabong Blog said...


The textual reported positions are in degrees and minutes format with NSEW used to specified the hemisphere.

The Google Earth position format is decimal degrees with - for the South and West.

So 11 12s is really 11 degrees and 12 minutes. There are 60 minutes in a degree so if you divide 12 by 60 you get .2. and it is in the Southern hemiphere so it is -12.2 in GE speak.

Is that what you are seeing? My google earth is too slow here!!

ps. there is an option to change the GE displayed format.

September 12, 2008 at 10:36 PM  

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