Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 8 and 9

Noon Coordinates Day 9: 24° 1'22.80"N 135°56'60.00"W
Flying kites, flying squid, flying fish, and a pirate ship (well not really)… We’ve been sailing downwind with the spinnaker (or in sailing terms, flying the kite) for the past two days. Downwind sailing is wonderfully calm (even in 20 knot winds) and the spinnaker is a mesmerizing sail to watch as it billows in the wind. It really is like a giant kite.

We raised the spinnaker on Wednesday morning. Captain warned us that it is often called “the emotional sail” because it’s a fairly involved sail to raise, which can lead to a bit of crew tension. However, with all hands on deck and clear direction from the Captain it went up smoothly. Since it’s is such a tricky sail to maintain (It takes a lot of tweaking to keep the sail happy), we’ve switched back to paired watches.

On Wednesday morning we had a couple visitors on board the ship. Two flying squids made their way on deck. In the afternoon Christiana dissected them to see if they had eaten any plastic. The little guys were plastic free.

Today while reading on deck, several of the crew spotted flying fish. The vast expanse of water is no doubt a beautiful setting, but it really makes any sign of life especially exciting. After the flying fish sighting, the boat was full of excitement when a blurb popped up on the radar. The blurb turned out to be a large, rusty and fairly shabby looking vessel passing right through our course. It was great to see a sign of human life other than ourselves, but also a little strange to imagine that two vessels can come so close to each other in such a vast expanse of ocean. Of course our active imaginations let us entertain the idea that our fellow mariners were pirates,... Alas the boat fell off our radar without any crazy pirate antics.

We are still on course to the destination provided to us by NOAA as a possible accumulation zone. We are roughly 540nM away and the ETA is three days. We are all excited to see what this area has to offer us in terms of better understanding how marine debris accumulated within the North Pacific Gyre.

We are all in good spirits. The Captain and crew send our love and hellos to everyone back home. Thanks for following the blog and keep the comments coming!


Jamie Watson said...

Hi there! I'm so excited I found your blog, through Patagonia's blog. I'm excited about what you are doing and am thankful for it, too. Here's to smooth sailing and excellent research! Jamie

Linda said...

How is the weather? Have you encountered any rough weather or rain yet?

Keep safe!

Joren said...

Just curious as to whether you tried to find out whether anyone was aboard the "pirate" ship. Were there any humans visible?

Donald said...

Enjoyed your acccunt very much. Hope all is well with you and crew. Is there a location you can point to that would represent an epicenter for the plastic mass? Love to find a way to support your work. Keep it up!

Thaddeus Stevens said...

What’s so fascinating about this website is the information that is coming in first hand about research. I hope other researchers start doing this.