Molly Sasser's 4th Grade Class - Madison Exploratory School, Canon City, CO asks:

Dave Harlow responds:

Molly, thank you and your class for more really good questions. I hope I'm not getting too long with some of theses answers…. I do tend to get a little windy sometimes.

If you run low on fuel do you go place other than Majuro?

No, there is no other place that is closer. There was an island we passed called Johnston Atoll, a military installation, which was about 700 miles South West of Hawaii. We could have bought fuel from Johnston if we were running low but they only let you do so in an emergency. Majuro is the closest place. The boat holds 920 gallons of diesel fuel; we should arrive there with about 160 gallons of fuel to spare. With 160 gallons we could run for about 480 miles. Hawaii to Majuro is 1,965 miles.

Will gas be more expensive in Majuro?

Usually when you are traveling by boat to far away places, the fuel is less expensive than in the States. I don't know the price yet but I think it may be higher In Majuro than on the mainland. One reason is that it takes more work to get the fuel to the island to sell. The fuel has to be brought in on a big tanker ship and pumped into holding tanks. This costs the man that owns the fuel dock more money so he has to charge more money to make up for it. I will let you know how much it costs.

Do you feel safe in foreign places?

I do. When you are in a place that you have never been before you are a little worried about its safety, and then when you get out and start seeing things and meeting people, you feel much better. Any new place you go, the people will have different customs, dress differently and eat different foods (sometimes really funny stuff) but the people are really just about the same. They have jobs, homes, families, and little kids who won't eat their vegetables, good people. And just like at home there will be a few bad people.

How did you choose Majuro as a stopping place?

For a few reasons. One is that it was the next place going west from Hawaii that we could get fuel. Another reason is that Majuro is really the start of several island chains that we wanted to see, there is Majuro in the Marshall islands, Pohnpei and Chuck Lagoon in the Carolinas and Yap in the Philippian Sea.

What is the difference between nautical miles and land miles?

A land mile is called a Statute mile. It is 5,280 feet long. When you see a road sign that says 10 miles to go - you have 52,800 feet to go. A nautical mile is 6072 feet long, I think, you may want to check this answer to make sure the number is correct, I can never remember.

What is the difference between knots and miles per hour?

Miles per hour is a measurement of how many statute miles you can travel in one hour and Knots is how many nautical miles you can travel in an hour. If your friend lived 6 miles from you and you could walk 6 miles per hour you would get to your friends house in one hour. You would have walked 31,680 feet in one hour.

If you and your friend were then going to go down to the beach and walk from the old pier to the harbor and you asked an old sailor you saw on the pier how far it was and he replied "Aye me maties, its 6 nautical miles I measured her me self". And you then made the walk in one hour, you would have traveled 6 knots an hour. Or 36,432 feet. You walked faster to do six knots an hour than to do 6 miles per hour. (Again, you may want to confirm this number.)

Will you see flying fish and killer whales?

We see hundreds of Flying fish every day. The boat scares them up and out of the water. When a flying fish gets scared or is being chased by a bigger fish he spreads out the fins on his side like wings and wiggles his tail really quick to shoot himself out of the water. He uses his side fins like the wings of a glider and his tail like a motor. We usually see them fly really low about 1 to 2' above the water and go for a hundred feet or so before they dive back in the water. One other thing about Flying fish is that at night they are attracted to our lights and they fly up and on to the boat, in the morning we sometimes find them on the deck of the boat. This really happened last night, Tom was sleeping with the back door open and a small flying fish flew in and landed on him. He won't admit it, but the little fish scared him. He jumped up and flung the fish back in the sea. We will not see any Killer whales.

How many fish do you catch in one day?

Well from California to Hawaii we caught about 4 or 5 big fish each day without really trying. From Hawaii to Majuro we only fished one time for about an hour and caught a 15-pound Dorado. We have plenty of fish on board and really don't need any right now.

What is the stern? Where is that on a boat?

The stern is the back of the boat. The bow is the front. The keel is on the bottom. If you are on a boat and you are facing the bow (front), the side of the boat to the right is starboard and to the left port. Starboard and port sides never change even if you turn around or go sideways, the starboard side is still the side to the right if you were facing forward. I never could remember which was which when I was a kid until my dad told to always remember that port and left have the same amount of letters so port is to the left.

Do you guys shave out there?

Well some guys do and some don't. I don't, until we get close to land and then I do because my beard is now so darned gray.

Who is the best cook?

Well I can tell you who is not the best cook and that's me. Both Tom and Ray are good cooks and we have a different meal every night. My specialties are hot dogs or pancakes…ask Jessica.

What music do you listen to?

We have a lot of CDs on board, mostly oldies stuff. We only have one Country CD and I play it over and over and over. I need to get some more Country music on board.

How did you get interested in the sea? How did you learn about boats, the sea, navigation, mechanics and history?

I grew up around the ocean and have spent most of my life in, on or around the water. My mom and dad taught us how to sail when we were kids. I am learning more about boats and navigation every day and especially on this trip.

When you have boats or are around boats you know that they take a lot of work to keep nice, so you end up learning how to fix things yourself because it cost so much to have someone else do it.

As for history, everything you do has a great past history to it. The history of sailing and ships is really easy to study because there were such good and accurate records kept. Long ago, every boat and every voyage had to be documented in a ship's log book - from long before the ship set sail while it was still being prepared for sea - until the time it returned. It was all written in the Ship's Log Book. And we have one on board the "Nordhavn".

If you could time travel, what time and what kind of historic ship would you be on, when and where?

I think I would like to have traveled up the west coast in the early 1800's on a trading ship. The boats of that time were wooden with mighty masts and huge square-rigged sails; it was a time of exploration and adventure. It was a time when Salmon still spawned in the rivers of California and hungry Grizzly bears awaited their arrival. On the west coast of Oregon and Washington, the great Indian tribes still lived and hunted. They would see the ships sail into a bay with "White Cloud" sails and know the time was near for fighting or trading, sometimes both, for there were good ships and bad. One of the first men to sail these waters was named Vancouver, they named an Island after him.

Thank you again for all of the good questions; they are getting tougher each time. We crossed the International Date Line last night and so we are a day ahead of you. We will be finding our way through the reefs around Mauro Atoll on Thursday morning. I will let you know what we find.


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