Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gyre-Normous Boa in the South Atlantic: Day 24

Blog 11-- Thursday, December 2, 2010

There are three teams that do around the clock watches on a rotating basis.  The day watches make sure we don't run into another vessel or object; clean the "loos" (bathrooms), the kitchen walls and floors, pump out the gray water tank and cook.  At night, we fight to stay awake while watching for debris and ships coming our way.  Yesterday morning, it was a good thing what we found appeared during the day.  We may not have seen it at night and according to our first mate, it could have done serious damage to Sea Dragon.

Anna was the first to spot it.  As she shouted that there was a large object ahead, everyone ran for the deck-- everyone except Mary and me.  We were just finishing up one more episode of "LOST." (A distinct sign of addiction.)  It wasn't long before Anna came down shaking us from our Mac-trance, "Bonnie, your'e gonna want to see this."  When I peered over the port-side of the ship, I felt a little sick at the thought of ignoring her call.  I had seen plenty of large ropes in gyres, but this one was the mac-daddy.  It had to be at least 30 feet long by 10 inches around and completely entombed with barnacles.  A gyre-normous boa constrictor looking rope.  It had a huge knot for a head measuring 3-4 feet wide with a tail that dipped into the water column several feet down.  We pulled it out of the water better than halfway, but the mast began to complain from the shear weight of it.  We stopped.  Without a moments notice, Anna leaped onto it and it instantly dwarfed her size.  Serving as scale, we took pictures of her on the rope then sadly released it back into the abyss too heavy to pull on board.  We were only 20 feet away from it when it became nearly invisible to our naked eyes.  This navigational hazard is one example of how plastic pollution can have a direct negative impact on human safety.  Sadly, the potential still exists with our find.

(Check back...Photo coming soon!!!!) :)

Every watch it is our responsibility to log the coordinates Latitude and Longitude, time, barometer reading, true wind, distance traveled thus far, and our position in relation to direction of the wind.  Today it was especially special.  Why? Because we crossed the Prime Meridian.  Our longitude read 0.000.0 like the green flash of a perfect sunset.  Many of us pack around the chart table with the anticipation like in Times Square New Year's Eve.  It was 12:05pm.  We might have celebrated with champagne, but had done that the night before drinking a shot of champagne to celebrate Mary Osborne's birthday.  I yelled out a special birthday wish to my partner in plastic pollution crime-- Bill Cooper-- in honor of his birthday too.

Though my contusion in my back hasn't moved much, I can no longer hold off on my jumps.  Thank you Jennifer O'Keefe for subbing for me.  She put in nearly a thousand the last time she checked in.  I was able to do 700 yesterday and 200 today with slight improvisation.  But there is a rope involved and I am indeed jumping.

More later.

Bonnie Over the Ocean

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