Noon Coordinates 30°27'16.62"N, 130°57'31.86"W
As of yesterday, we crossed over into another time zone - Pacific Standard Time - and are now only one hour behind California. The ocean continues to pound the bottom of the boat while rouge waves hit us from all sides. What to do? Make Jeffy Pop popcorn. Jeff is a maestro popcorn popper! (picture coming soon) He shakes the pot down while shimmying on his feet to maintain position in front of the stove. There is a whole lot more talent involved then it sounds. Here are a few positions I call “The Art of Staying Upright.” The tripod position is when I lean my forehead hard against the wall while drying off, putting lotion or a shirt. I use the back-stand to pull pants up, leaning the back against the wall provides excellent stability while both hands are working tight pants up and around (induced by all the delicious meals). The hip-hugger is a must while cooking. We all do this, lean our hips against the counter which allows both hands to be working. And then there is the bazooka shuffle used when the unforeseen force of a wave knocks us clear across the room in which case none of the above work. Jeff and the captain do it unconsciously graceful. The rest of us tend to fight it. Bill tried to fight it while doing dishes. He grabbed for the counter but his hands were wet, slipped off and down he went. A few times I tried to be cool and add a little leg dance to it which invariably led to Jeff asking, “Bonnie, what are you doing?” No more leg dance.
So after three days of trying to play my 20 minute game and not spotting one thing in the ocean, I finally asked the captain why. The obvious answer was the sea state, but in the gyre, we were still seeing stuff in pretty rough seas. The better answer came from a simulation presentation on how trash works its way around the North Pacific done by Dr. Jim Ingraham. Due to the California current, the current carries debris from the states south of our current position and sends it toward the Philippines via the Equatorial current. The trash from Japan area comes via the Kuroshio Extension to the Oyashio Current. So we are in an area that plastic pollution is not so apt to be spread around. The captain assured me we’ll be seeing trash from the States as we get closer to shore.
Since I’ve mentioned our wonderful students in the continental US and Canada, I would also like to thank the participation of students at George Washington High in Guam! Great to hear from you and all of you, keep the questions rolling!
RESPONSE TO COMMENTS
-Hello Jean, We have not felt any of the tsunami as we are out of its boundaries thank goodness. But we have had some rough seas that are unassociated. Unfortunately, we had the maximum sea state for doing our sampling so even though our ratios appear to be much higher. We would have been pleased if the ocean was as calm as it was during 1999. We feel the ratio would have been even higher. The rough seas drive a lot of debris down deeper into the water column.
With 600 more miles to go, we should be back to Long Beach, California by Tuesday we hope! Best, Bonnie
-Hey C A Logan, Thank you for your support to help bring awareness to this issue. Facebook is a great place to get the word out! I asked Captain Moore and his answer is we need chemists to design plastics that are non-toxic, and government policy, like Germany, that mandates a cradle to cradle systems. Also, we need to restructure our planned obsolescence/growth based economy to a Steady-State economy. (check out www.steadystater.org) Another need is to create an “Ultra-Walmart” consortium to steer people who want to purchase plastic free products - A warehouse of options at affordable prices. Those are just a few off the top of our heads. Thanks Logan and let us know if you come up with any. Bonnie