Day 03 S/V Kaisei: By-the-Wind-Sailors

6 08 2009

Thursday, 6 August 2009
Lat: 34° 20.7’ N Lon: 128° 01.5’ W

Climbing the Main

Climbing the Main

We awakened about 400 miles SSW of San Francisco with 10-12 knot winds, 2’-3’ seas and clear skies. Soon after breakfast, as all hands were turning to the day’s activities, a pod of Pacific Whiteside dolphins greeted us.

Science experiments have begun with a manta trawl, using a fine net to collect small, particulate floating matter for a baseline comparison before we arrive at the gyre. Andrea Neal from Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, working for Project Kaisei/Ocean Voyages Institute, heads the onboard science team. She and her team of five co-principal investigators are trawling every twelve hours. The night trawls will capture lantern fish, otherwise known as myctophids, which, akin to the canary in the mine, could be a good indicator of the pollutants entering the food web.

The mystery of what the sea holds, in the manta-trawl samples gathered today, will be revealed back on shore. Along with two dozen By-the-Wind-Sailors, also known as Velella velella, ten pieces of plastics were captured within and around the specimens; plastics are capable of harboring POPs, persistent organic pollutants. These include various toxic compounds, such as PCBs, DDT, and PAHs (like engine oil). Project Kaisei is now one more sample closer to its destination of discovery.

Continue your voyage with us as we venture into the real world of forgotten trash.

Follow our expedition online at http://www.projectkaisei.org

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