... Operator team continues homeward journey ...
... High volume of inquiries about, and corrections to, donations ...
Feb 28 Thursday found the M/V Braveheart motoring west-northwest away from Ducie Island. By mid-afternoon the radar picked out Henderson Island, another member of the Pitcairn group.
Henderson Island was discovered and inhabited by Polynesians. The Spanish navigator Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, aboard the sailing vessel "San Pablo", was the first European visitor on 1606 January 29, nine days after Quiros became the first European visitor to Ducie Island.
Henderson appear forbidding from sea. A typical Makatea-type island, 15m high undercut cliffs drop into the sea on all sides but the north. Makatea-type islands are old coral atolls that have been uplifted, exposing the old coral bed above the sea. Crevasses and other irregularities make travel through the interior slow and treacherous.
Landing on Henderson's northern beaches through the fringing reef's surf is difficult. The island is reported to be invested by mice and rats. We did not attempt a landing, but motored along the northern half of the island, admiring the dramatic terrain and vegetation in the low, late afternoon light. Although we trolled some lines, no fish were caught. Then the ship turned its stern toward Henderson and set course for an overnight journey to Oeno atoll.
At 9am today, Friday, we anchored off the northern barrier reef of Oeno. Oeno was discovered much later on 1891 Jan 19 by Captain Henderson. A low and dangerous atoll, its lagoon contains two beautiful sandy islands with coconut palms and some shorter trees. These islands migrate within the lagoon and at times are joined together by a sandy spit. Some time was spend diving, fishing and snorkling. A freshly-caught tuna will serve as lunch today. We had hoped to picnic ashore today, but a northerly swell has raised the surf across the entire northern reef line, closing off a narrow and shallow gap that occasionally provides access the lagoon.
After lunch, we will depart Oeno Atoll for Mangareva. The eastern skies presently contain a line of towering cumulus and rain showers, the deteriorating weather that we largely avoided with a prompt departure from Ducie. We wish to stay ahead of it for the remainder of our sea voyage.
The expedition webmaster has reported large traffic volumes on the website. We are grateful for the interest in the expedition and thank those who have made financial contributions via the web. Not surprisingly, a percentage of some transactions go awry; the most common problem occurring when the contributor forgets to include his callsign. We haven't fully automated the recognition of contributions on the website, and we are falling behind. This generates additional traffic along the lines of "did you receive my donation" and related questions about LOTW credits.
We are getting some additional help to handle these matters, but that will be much easier accomplished when we get home next week. Please be patient if your inquiry has not been answered right away, or your contribution has not yet been recognized on the website. We intend to bring matters up to date by March 10.