Day 08 S/V Kaisei: Two Ships Passing In The Night

11 08 2009

Kaisei meets Horizon (Blog 07))

Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Lat: 33° 53’ N Lon: 139° 33’ W
Underway in the North Pacific Gyre

The brigantine Kaisei is traveling toward a rendezvous with our companion Project Kaisei research vessel, the New Horizon from the Scripts Institution of Oceanography. Both ships have a full complement of crew, science members, and photographers, as well as project co-founders Doug Woodring on the New Horizon and Mary Crowley on the Kaisei.

Both ships have been doing manta trawls several times a day, for the last five days. All trawls have contained plastic. On the brigantine Kaisei, one of today’s trawls had jelly fish that were eating plastic! After both ships have completed their voyages, the scientific teams will be compiling data for Project Kaisei. Having two ships studying the gyre area, from slightly different geographic approaches, this has the potential to yield very interesting data.

We are enjoying beautiful weather day and night. Tonight was one of our more magnificent sunsets, while excitement grew as Kaisei and New Horizon met at sea.

In addition to the series of 30-minute watches for counting debris, we now have a 24-hour bow watch; to alert the helmsman by radio of potentially dangerous netting or other flotsam. Marine debris poses a risk of fouling our prop, or causing other damage to our ship. The proliferation of marine debris is an ever-increasing risk to shipping.

Being at sea is different than life ashore. Deck crew report every six hours around the clock and scientists perform their scheduled trawls every 12 hours; the evening trawls often lasting until the early hours of the morning. The scientists are also on-call for whenever we catch trash or a fish. The videographers are always at the ready to capture footage around any event. One deckhand noted, there are no weekends aboard a ship because navigation, water making, monitoring all the ships systems, food preparations, and sail setting are a 24/7 proposition.

One of the bonuses to the routine at sea is enjoying the breathtaking views of sunrises and sunsets. Additionally, watching the waning moon and the stars, as they sway back and forth across the rigging, is punctuated with the meteor showers each night.

With the distractions of daily life on land removed, our ability to concentrate on Project Kaisei has been honed. At sea, the days hold greater value, as the time we experience no longer fits the boundaries known on land.

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