Flying-fish Zone

Posted on June 26, 2016 in General, Great Pacific Race 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016 – Race Day 21

WEATHER: All rowers are forecast to have a pleasant 10 kt wind from the ENE for the next 24 hours. As the high pressure system to the NW re-establishes itself through the week, the winds will strengthen to 15 kts, then 20-22kts. This is still normal for the trade wind belt and should be accompanied with plenty of  sun.

As our rowers continue to get closer to Hawaii, they will eventually pick up the trade winds.  The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of surface winds found in the tropics. Let’s look at a definition.

trade wind
ˈtrād wind/
plural noun: trade winds
  1. a wind blowing steadily toward the equator from the northeast in the northern hemisphere or the southeast in the southern hemisphere, especially at sea. Two belts of trade winds encircle the earth, blowing from the tropical high-pressure belts to the low-pressure zone at the equator.

For many, the trade winds are synonymous with flying-fish and our teams have reported in, with great excitement, their first sightings of flying-fish. “Saw our first flying fish this morning. Most of the day has been pleasant with scattered sprinkles of rain.” reported in the ladies on Ocean Hearts yesterday.

To give you a bit more inflation on these curious trade wind indicators, here is an excerpt from the book ‘Nature & Science for Young Folks’, published in 1908.

Interesting are the habits of the flying-fish, that queer denizen of the sea, found principally in the region of the trade-winds. Does it rise from the sea like a bird? you ask. No it shoots out of the waves like an arrow, and with outspreading wings sails on the wind with graceful curves, rising sometimes, one might say, to the height of fifteen feet, but not often so high, and then lowering, it again touches the rest of the wave and renews its flight. This operation may be repeated until it covers a distance, say, of five hundred yards, in the case of the stoutest on the wing, though very often not half that distance is covered. A ship sailing through the trade-winds will often be visited, on dark nights, by flying-fish which hit the sails or rigging and fall on deck, where, of course, they soon give up life. Captain Joshua Slocum, who made a voyage around the world, says:

On my voyage in the Spray I was often supplied in this way by all the fish I wanted for my table. They were palatable and nutritious. They go by single individuals, or dart out in schools or flocks of hundreds to clear a ship’s prove or escape a pursuing enemy. It is said that the life of a flying-fish is a most unhappy one, spent in eluding the tigers of the sea on one side, and birds of prey on the other. However this may be, I have never yet witnessed the capture of one by even fish-hawk or gull. It’s wings, of the most delicate film, are webbed on ribs of exquisite design. If you watch them closely when they touch a wave you will see their wings vibrate when they work at all. It requires a keen eye to detect the movement. The lower lobe of the tail of the flying-fish extends well downward, low, so that with ease it can strike a new course the instant it touches a wave where a hungry pursuer may be ready to receive it with open jaws. One of the joyful sights on the ocean, of a bright day, is the continual flight of these interesting fish.

The numerous species are of different sizes, the smallest only six inches, the largest, the California flying-fish, eighteen inches.  We are very excited to know that our crews are seeing these curious creatures.

Stay tuned to see what will come next in the Great Pacific Race.

1 Uniting Nations: ROWING – 1110.1 NM to finish, Rowed 1161.9 NM
2 Team Ocean Hearts: ROWING – 1312.2 NM to finish, Rowed 1065.8 NM
3 Moana Uli: ROWING – 1395.4 NM to finish, Rowed 903.6 NM
4 Row Aloha: ROWING – 1527.4 NM to finish, Rowed 838.6 NM
5 Sons of the Pacific: ROWING – 1564.6 NM to finish, Rowed 786.4 NM
6 Fight the Kraken: ROWING –   NM to finish, Rowed  NM
Endurance Limits: RETIRED – Rowed 241 NM
Endurance Limits USA: RETIRED – Rowed 207 NM