Day 15b S/V Kaisei: Windy Days, Quiet Studies

19 08 2009

Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Lat: 34° 24’ N Lon: 138° 39’ W

Sunset by the Kaisei

Sunset by the Kaisei

Another day in the gyre – accompanied by winds and swells. This makes for interesting duties on board the Kaisei, for the deck hands and captain to make way to calmer seas; however, it makes for slow work when it comes to the scientists and engineers.

We are still able to count marine debris, which is large enough to see through the fetch and waves; but the smaller pieces are lost in the fray of the sea spray. Dr. Andrea Neal was still able to spot a concentration of marine debris, despite the challenging conditions – while the manta trawl and collection prototypes rested silently, awaiting their next deployment in calmer waters. Our present heading is north by northwest, where we hope to find our next outdoor science lab and launch “Manny” the manta trawl and his prototype, collection companions.

To break to below-deck doldrums, our first mate, Adrian, made waves for a costume party – a nautical theme, of course. Those with anxious yet idled hands made busy, creating costumes of all sorts, including: King Neptune, mermaids, pirates, and various sea creatures. The beautiful sunset made a splendid backdrop, while camera lights flashed and jokes flowed about the deck. The restless seas were briefly forgotten by some, while others maintained vigil – monitoring weather reports and searching for our next destination at sea.




5 responses

19 08 2009
Linda Bunyan

good to hear about the gyre………….does it really exist??
reads like it was about 14 days till you ‘hit’ plastics in the ocean.

will you go through the entire ‘reach’ of the gyre? from one side to the other…
….all directions (to know how large it is?)

20 08 2009
Carol Carlson

Oh you guys,

This sounds like the heavenly adventure. Lovely incredible photos. Please post some candids of the party.

Do you ever talk about the juxtaposition of such beauty of nature and comraderie with the mental discouragement of the trash you are finding? Or maybe there is no discouragement, but a settling (what is the word?) into finally seeing things as they really are?

I appreciate this. Your energy to communicate and inspire change.


21 08 2009

Dear Carol,
Thank you so much for your support. Yes it can be very overwhelming. As a scientist it is hard to look at our samples and not immediately think about the environmental ramifications. However, if we can bring about more attention to this emerging disaster of marine debris then we will have accomplished a significant achievement. It only takes one person to change one habit to make a monumental impact on the environment. If you have a community making positive changes in one habit imagine what we can do. Thank you again! Keep spreading the good message! Best Dr. Andrea Neal

20 08 2009
Denise Hume

Hi there,
Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your passion for the Kaisei mission! We all need to be proactive and get involved in some way today.
I wanted to pass along findings from a recent study from Nihon University, in Japan. The findings give even more reason for worldwide urgency of collaboration and the need to promote more scientific studies of the ocean debris problem. The study shows that drift plastic decomposes to give rise to hazardous chemicals in the ocean. Katsuhiko Saido, Ph.D. said “We found that plastic in the ocean actually decomposes as it is exposed to the rain and sun and other environmental conditions, giving rise to yet another source of global contamination that will continue into the future.”
This study indicates the generation of new contamination compounds from the decompostition of plastic such as PET and Styrofoam (foamed polystyrene) in the ocean and environment.
Plastics usually do not break down in an animal’s body after being eaten. However, the substances released from decomposing plastic are absorbed and could have adverse effects. Bisphenol A (BPA) and PS oligomers are sources of concern because even very small amounts can disrupt the functioning of hormones in animals and can seriously affect reproductive systems.
This study clearly shows new micro pollution by compounds generated by plastic decomposition is taking place out of sight in the Ocean.
Can’t wait for more pictures and info. Thanks so much for your efforts!

21 08 2009

Dear Denise ,
Thank you so much for your support and great comments! Looks very interesting and we will try to look up the paper if we can! Say Hi to everyone at CalEPA and keep up the great work!!
Best Dr. Dre

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