Noon Coordinates 21°49'15.60"N 157°48'21.60"WIt’s our first full day back at sea since our pit stop at Kewalo Basin in Honolulu. The sail and the Manta trawl are fixed-up and ready for action. We were able to get the Manta repaired by the end of the day on Friday, but we had to stick around until Monday afternoon to wait for the spinnaker to be repaired. In the meantime we enjoyed our weekend milling about Oahu, playing in the surf, and taking care of random boat chores.
It was refreshing to see what a great job Oahu is doing to phase out single use plastic items! The fuel dock at Ala Wai Harbor provides only “potato-ware” and paper bags in their convenience store. The crew made our way up to the North Shore and found several local places in Halewia town (like Kono’s and the Coffee Gallery) using compostable versions of” disposable” utensils and cups and even sustainable to-go packaging made by forward thinking companies like Styrophobia. Many of the local business are part of a coalition of called Plastic Free Hale’wia and have vowed to keep one time use plastics out of their business practices. Even the extravagant Turtle Bay Resort jumped on the Styrophobia bandwagon!
While compostable bags and utensils are a HUGE step in the right directions, in order get the full potential out of these alternatives they need to be composted. Eventually a commercial composting facility will need to be introduced on the island to handle a large scale switch to compostables. I got the chance to speak with the founders of TR33s (a North Shore based sustainability consulting firm working with Joel’s environmental non-profit Sea of Change) who pointed out that until enough businesses carry compostable products it will not be profitable for a large scale composting facility to come to the island. And on the flipside, many businesses feel it is pointless to carry compostables if there is no facility to take care of the breakdown process. It’s a bit of a catch-22, but thankfully the switch is moving along.
We spent the day traveling north past Kuai and Ni’ihhau, making our way through the Kaulakahi Channel which runs between them. The Captain was hoping the winds would allow us to travel a north-west route running up the western border of the main Hawaiian Islands so we could sample along the chain in order to see if there was a progression in debris density along the islands. But once again the winds are proving to be a little too weak to fully power our sails in the direction we want to go, and we have been relying on the motor more than we hoped. So plans have changed and we are taking a route more directly for the time being. Our goal is still to make it out to the International Dateline, at about 28 or 29 degrees north, west of Kure Atoll to sample outside of the boundaries of Papahanaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
We deployed the manta tonight test out the repairs and just completed two hour evening trawl-producing a plastic film fragment, numerous shapes and sizes of small hard plastic fragments, and several different species of fish (a total of 64 fish)! Click on the picture of the sample to the left to look closely through the contents.
On another note, congratulations to Joel and SCUBADrew who have received a grant from Hawaii Community Foundation to present the results of the voyage to Kahuku High School on Oahu. In addition to sharing our research they will teach the students to monitor the beaches around Kahuku point for marine debris. Kahuku beaches are the most heavily plagued by marine debris wash-up on the island.
Aloha from the CApt. and crew!