Despite a lack of good sailing wind yesterday afternoon, we made the most out of the fine weather and conducted an inter-watch deck Olympics. Highly spirited and fun contest. As this was occurring the volcano was looming closer and looking very eerie with steam billowing out of a deep crater.At 1600 we entered a small cove of the island. At only 150m from the shore the echo sounder still had not picked up the bottom. The island was steep too and unfortunately we couldn’t anchor – the water was too deep. The smell of sulphur fumes was very strong. I decided to send the youth crew ashore in watches to explore the island and the ruins of a sulphur factory last used in 1920. With all sail furled the ship drifted very slowly away from the island. Once ashore the scene was quite amazing – lunar type landscape, steam billowing from the crater about 1km from the landing site and the remains of the factory. There was also a sign indicating great care to be taken and that to view the crater hard hats – in case of eruption – and gas masks should be used! Not being so equipped we could only explore the landing area and ruins. A tour group were also ashore, who had come by helicopter and boat. After everybody had been ashore, the ship did a quick sunset lap of the island and then sail was set for our overnight passage across the Bay of Plenty. The sulphur fumes from the volcano were certainly good to escape from.Ship sailed overnight in a moderate NW wind. As our destination Mayor Island was to the NW it was another night of tacking at midnight and 0400.This morning we completed a set of tacking drills as we prepare the youth crew for Command Day. After lunch we will anchor off Mayor Island and give everyone the chance to get ashore and explore the apparently pretty island. Mayor Island is volcanic but no longer active and has a fresh water lake in its centre. It is also the centre of game fishing in the Bay of Plenty. Saw a large Hammer Head shark only moments ago – not sure if a swim will be popular this afternoon.
Course 280, Speed 5, wind 350/12kts, Partly cloudy, Temp 22
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- Arkady Walker, Elected youthie Captain.