Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 22 Monday 9/28/09

In the darkness of the morning, we completed our last trawl of the re-sampling surveys. Yet another large item caught in our trawl, a rope 16 cm long accompanied a large quantity of plastic particulates. There isn’t any fishing going on out here due to its oligotrophic state and yet we find fishing gear daily. A notable difference in the trawls of 2009 compared to trawls of 1999 is the number of large items caught in the manta trawl.

We pulled the manta in at 0500 and let the sails out at 0800 after battening down the hatches, securing our collected items from the sea, removing bathing suits from the line, and repositioning the last of our fresh fruits and vegetables. The sky was blue long enough for the genoa and main sails to bloat with fall cool air and pull us down a few miles toward home and into a perpetual squall. When we started we were 1035 nm away from Long Beach, California, but because of the 30 knot winds we’re making good time traveling 120 nm by 2000 on free fuel.

This is the first day that I have spent the entire time inside. The bad part was not being able to survey the ocean from the deck and collect plastic items. Yesterday the captain pulled in a crate that looked like it a grocery store bread crate. A perfect example of how we are finding things in one piece out here more than other areas of the Pacific we have surveyed. With the sea state pushing seven, water fanning over the bow as we careened 10 foot slopes, it was too dangerous. Sitting on the back deck had its own host of hazards. Water would sometimes hit us from behind and lap over the sides of the ship. Lindsey was sitting out on the aft with Jeff when we heard her let out a little yelp. A wave so powerful rocked the ship hard, knocking her off her seat. So they moved back into the galley where we sat all together sharing stories and sipped tea. It’s the first time since the voyage started that we have had little to do but to hang out.

The ship has its’ own way of communicating. It lets out blasts of noises from underneath with whining lines and jerking booms on top. I mentioned how I like to listen to sounds and name them. The captain laughed when I called one “the office” - it sounds like a slamming file cabinet drawer. Then there are the “after burner” noise that rocket out of the back. Like an oversize wave squished between the two pontoons, when it reaches the back of the ship it explodes its way free. There is also the “rollercoaster” noise that sounds like the chain pulling cars up a huge incline. The captain had one too, he calls the Mike Tyson punch. They’re all going off right now as we fishtail around across the other side of the Garbage Patch heading east via the north east tradewinds. More later, Bonnie

Hi Tim, Sorry it took a bit to get back to you. We just got off a sampling marathon over the last three days. The locations we just sampled for the 10 year anniversary were in the central pressure cell of the Garbage Patch - 35o North 140o West but to be honest with you we don’t know where the edges are to truly know the center of the GP. We did figure the nautical miles of the area to be 557,000 NM square. I have to tell you, from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, the plastic particulates are everywhere. But as we approached the GP central pressure cell, the number of larger items increased considerably. We will have to wait for the results from the trawls to determine if it is true for the particulates, but just a visual inspection by the captain it appears to be much higher. Sorry about the glass float. It was serendipitous that you had asked about the glass buoys the same day we tried to track one down. I will try to post a picture after we get back. I don’t have the software with me to do it. Let me know if this helps or if you have any questions. Best, Bonnie over the ocean

Hey my friend, I’m so looking forward to sharing my adventure with the ladies. Save a seat for me! thank you for following my blog and for helping get to where I am today - sailing at 11 knots 1035 miles away from port. Love ya sis, bon

Hi Dael, That makes you and the captain! I would have never guest. I thought it odd that there were wires hanging out of a toilet seat! Thanks for following it’s the only way to create change - grassroots (from the bottom up!) Best, Bonnie

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