Humor is essential…

Rodrigo is our fearless skipper, Mexican born, has a long resume of sailing, and wears a red headband. Carolynn is on her fourth expedition on Sea Dragon, writes blogs daily, and asked me “What’s Rodrigo’s last name.” I quickly replied “Montoya…Rodrigo Montoya.” Now, if you’ve seen the movie Princess Bride you’ll get the humor.

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, now prepare to die!”
And you’ll appreciate that Carolynn had written several blogs describing Skipper Rodrigo Montoya, until we let her in on the joke.

Hank Carson, University of Hawaii, has done amazing work on the biodiversity of rafting communities on plastic. He pulled 26 species off the net ball a few days ago. To understand how plastic moves around the Hawaiian Islands, he’s released 1600 red wooden blocks stamped with return information. He’s recovered over 400 after responding to hundreds of phone calls. Although 1200 are lost to sea, his 25% recovery helped him to document debris movement between islands.

“Who threw grapefruit in the trawl?” I asked.  Yesterday Hank’s 5-person team, aka SPAM Watch, ate the last grapefruit. Our watch, dubbed Moonbow, not my first choice, had the next three-hour bock. We pulled up the trawl, and found the evidence. Hank’s watchmates reluctantly came clean, explaining “It was like a contest to see if we could make it in.”

The next day Moonbow watch made a secret red block. I stood on the bow in the afternoon while Hank and my teammate Jesse were at stern talking. I threw it in and yelled “Something red!” Jesse yelled, “Is that a block?

“What? Hey! That’s one of my blocks!” Hank yelled.

“Really?” I said. “Are you sure?” Jesse added.

“We have to go back! It’s one in a million chance here. Let’s turn around!”

“But we’re trawling. We can’t just turn around?” I said calmly.

“You released over a thousand, right? I’m sure there are more,” Jesse said.

“C’mon, we need to go back. Just turn around,” Hank asked again.

“To bad it didn’t go in the trawl

I stood next to him and said, “We made that block just for you.”

By this time there were about 8 people on deck to watch Hank’s face turn block red. We explained the prank, with Jesse confessing that ever since Hank explained his plastic distribution red block project, he was waiting for the chance to toss a fake one in.

The next morning SPAM Watch discovered a squid had jumped on deck overnight. Later, Jesse awoke to a sticky feeling neatly stretched on his pillow. He rolled onto it, leaving a giant ink spot. When we relieved them of watch, Jesse, with his ever-present good humor, said to Hank “It’s on!”

Humor, with 14 people confined to a 72ft sailboat for 3 weeks, is essential. -Marcus