Sunday, August 24, 2008

Joel's bristleworm and marine debris

Less than 100 miles to go per recent satellite phone conversation!

And a few words from Joel on a recent pet he found on a piece of floating debris:

While on watch earlier this week I spotted something large floating towards us. I put JUNK hard over and managed to scoop up a chunk of a plastic crate. We often see plastic crates in the Gyre. I’m not sure way we see so many. Maybe a nearby fishery uses - and often loses them overboard. The crate had started the process of photodegredation. Not only did we fid a bristleworm hitching a ride, it was brittle, cracked, and had the owner’s name or boat’s initials “JR” with a floral design melted into. Anybody know any fisherman named JR missing a crate?
Read on for Joel's continued Marine Debris Observations

Now that we are in the North Pacific Gyre the amount of debris that floats by has greatly increased. Last week I saw a basketball sized ball of rope float by. The fish that have been with us since they hatched and were recently swimming around with their yolk sack still attached, swam out to check the ball of rope out. They came back to JUNK with some friends, two black and white fish that all are also staying with us now.

When getting in the water to spear Mahi Mahi it’s almost like swimming through a snow globe of plastic confetti. From the surface you may only see a fleck of plastic here and there but once in the water you can see the plastic bits floating deeper in the water column. I’ve seen the all too common packing strap both on the surface and underwater while diving. JUNK’s debris trawl does a great job of collecting the plastic fragments from the surface and concentrating them into a sample that make quite a visual impact when you hold in our hand and see all the little plastic pieces swirling around. It’s a great way of educating people on land about the magnitude of the problem, but getting in the water in the middle of the ocean and seeing more plastic floating around me than life make even more of an impact and gives me profound feeling that we are smothering the planet with all of our synthetic waste.


Jeanne Gallagher said...

Hey the home stretch!

....there once was a raft named JUNK
who crossed the Pacific, whodda thunk?
now nearing shore
to be part of history evermore
and folks, that ain't no bunk......

(Well, what do you expect this early in the morning?????)

See ya when you get home.....

Love, J.

Maki said...

A lot of times I still see people leaving/throwing stuff on the beach. I pick them up and throw them away for them. Not only on the beach, I see people littering the streets.

The other day, as I was driving I saw this guy walking his dog and drinking a bottole of water. Then he THREW the bottle and kept on walking. Really.. Come on guy.. Now, because I saw this happened via live with my own eyes, I had to turn around, park the car, picked it up, brought to my car and threw it away in Target's trash can. I wish I could say something to the man, but he was long gone...

This is why our nature has been tainted now - too many people with careless heart.

brantandtia said...

Wow !! This is very exciting your are almost here .. my two little boys (3 yr and 5yr) have been following your journey prior to launch ( MUSE kids). We would love to come meet you when you arrive we are presently on the Big Island. Alert us if you can .

Cheers and Blessings

Bella said...

Land ho! I am so happy to hear that you are almost there. Have a cheer and a beer for me. Amazing journey! ciao Bella