Day 05 S/V Kaisei: The Mission

8 08 2009

capturing marine debris (05)

Saturday, 8 August 2009
Lat: 33° 32’ N Lon: 132° 43’ W

CalCofi Station Monitoring Site

We have slowed up briefly today, on our quest to find the North Pacific Gyre’s ‘plastic dragon’, arriving at a long-established research site to do some additional water sampling. We are approximately five days by boat from both the continental US and Hawaii, 750 miles directly west of Los Angeles and approaching the gyre, that convergence of spiraling currents that has been amassing marine debris from around the Pacific Rim and storing plastics since man invented them. Because of their vastness, the oceans often mask big problems with potentially bigger risks than that which is known on land.

For example yesterday, as the Kaisei sailed on a clear and apparently pristine deep blue sea, still more than a day and a half away from the moving target of the gyre, we could see small and large pieces of plastic floating by. In lieu of fish, one of our anglers found pieces of plastic net on his hooks.

One of the major objectives of the mission is to experiment with different collection techniques. Our team is employing a variety of devices using both active and passive methods to capture marine debris. The small-scale collections we are doing this year will guide us on how we may accomplish large-scale capture methods on future missions and ultimately how the energy of the dragon can be harnessed by collecting and converting marine debris for positive use in a sustainable manner.

Another of the major objectives of the mission is to record through photography, film and the written word the pollution and marine debris in the Pacific. Through awareness in education we urgently need to stop the continuing flow of marine debris into our oceans.

Words and photography alone cannot begin to describe the significance of what we are seeing; that is where the science comes in, filling in the gaps with data. All hands on board have volunteered to take a month away from their onshore lives in support of our mission. The scientific collections performed twice daily by observing exacting protocols, in cataloging and freezing samples, to bring back for further analysis. At each sampling, our position, speed, weather, the ocean current and temperature information are recorded.

Project Kaisei is dedicated to developing and deploying solutions to begin solving the problem and education to stop the oceans use as a dumping ground. In this way you can help by financially supporting the work of Ocean Voyages Institute/Project Kaisei and using environmentally friendly products and recycling all that you can.

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