Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 3

Noon position: 29°46'1.20"N 121°53'27.60"W

Greetings from the ORV Alguita! In the past 24hrs, we have had our first series of debris encounters. While taking in our fishing lines for the night, we dragged in our first piece of debris; a deflated green balloon with the string still attached. It was a little disheartening to discover that we were fishing for trash instead of fish.

Last night at around 10pm, we passed the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). For those of you who are wondering what that means, we are now officially out of the US waters, in what is essentially the no-man’s land of the Pacific. Because this area is out of US jurisdiction, it is not a top priority in terms of government funded research.

We were greeted in the morning with another debris sighting. We found a plastic water bottle which likely originated from Russia (the cap had Russian text). It had been afloat in the ocean just long enough for fouling organisms (i.e. tiny baby gooseneck barnacles) to latch on.

Our next trash sighting, roughly 300miles out to sea, was a tangle of fouled line and buoys. In addition to gooseneck barnacles making their home inside the floating mess, we found several pelagic crabs and a couple of different invertebrates. After weighing the mass of rubbish (9 kilos) we preserved a sample of the debris with the critters that we found living on it for Miriam Goldstein, a doctoral candidate at SCRIPPS, who is studying the fouling organisms that live on pelagic trash. The last two pieces of trash found today were a Monarch brand garlic-salt container and a plastic napkin or towel floating on the surface. These finds are indicators that we are making our way into the heart of trash accumulation.

As far as wildlife sightings go, we had a pod of Common Dolphins passing us on portside. We also spotted several Velella velella, also known as the By-the-wind sailors, which is an awesome little sea creature that has a small oval sail so it can use the winds to travel the seas.
Best Wishes from the Captain and crew



POPSY said...

Hi Nicole,
Thank you so much for doing this.
I support all of you and would love to help.
What is the possiblity of me coming aboard the next time you go out. I would really like to collect as much garbage as possible and find out how to stop it.
Please let me know the best way I can help eitherway.

Good luck.
Marianne Huntington

bixente said...

hey nicole
do you bring a trash truck??? to heavy perhaps

so if you meet cousteaud demande lui la difference entre cilantro et coriande
aller je te laisse amuse toi bien
plein de bonne chose
bonne chance
from long beach

Bonnie monteleone said...

Happy to hear all is well. Had to look up Velella-wow, very cool. I'm presenting to school teachers this week and was looking for more info on invasive species. Glad I checked your blog,I now have the plastic hitchhikers you've mentioned to add to the list. Best to all of you Nicole.

Miriam Goldstein said...

You guys are awesome! I can't wait to study all the awesome/disturbing things you'll bring back. (Also, Velella is one of my favorite critters.)

Anonymous said...

Hi there, just some warm greetings to Christiana from her friends in the UK. Her Mum gave us the blog link so maybe you can pass on our love.
Thomas,Sam,Stefan and Beki