The Search Continues
Our goal during this cruise was to find cells of debris or a miniature "garbage patch" off the southern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii. We have heard reports that it exists, but that it is quite variable in its location. We believe that this accumulation of debris is feeding into Kamilo Beach, which accumulates an extraordinary amount of trash from all over the Pacific Rim. The Honolulu Star Bulletin just published an article with a picture of Kamilo beach debris which can be viewed at: http://starbulletin.com/2007
So far we have not found any areas offshore with high concentrations of debris. Today, only one observation of floating debris, a soap bottle, was made by the crew, and our trawls contained little plastic. Currently, we are headed to the eastern edge of the chlorophyll maximum to sample where debris is expected to accumulate. After that, we will be heading downwind back to Hilo, where Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer will lecture on flotsam Tuesday. Jeff caught a Mahi Mahi today, so we had panko fried mahi for lunch. The volunteers from UH Hilo are turning into great sailors.