Monday, September 17, 2007

First Manta Trawl

September 16, 2007
Today we took our first water samples with the Manta Trawl, which is dragged along the surface behind the boat and feeds seawater through a mesh tube roughly the size of a can of tennis balls. The mesh filters out whatever is greater than a third of a millimeter in size. The results were shocking. Mixed in with lantern fish and small jellyfish were hundreds of pieces of plastic and various balls of fishing line and other debris. There were even pre-produ
ction plastic pellets, sometimes called nurdles that are used to make all the plastic objects we are familiar with. The weight of the plastic pieces was far greater than the sea life itself. We have not gotten to the area of highest concentration of debris, the so called "Eastern Garbage Patch," but the quantities of plastic we are finding rivals what we found there in 1999. We believe the debris quantity is increasing rapidly. Tomorrow we will take more samples, as we will be in the general area of the EGB we sampled in 1999 and 2005. After dark, when we finished sampling a weather front with wind and rain blew down on us and we quickly set the genoa jib and turned off the motor, sailing to our destination at 8 knots, the fastest speed on the trip so far.
Aloha from ORV Alguita

1 comment:

Johnne said...

To see so much of our environment being destroyed in mans name, the ocean one would think would be somewhat immune, but alas, as your research has shown this is not to sad for our grandchildren to deal with..
johnne in seattle