|Marine Mammals in The Garbage Patch|
|Wednesday, 04 November 2009|
August 14, 2009
I am exhausted. I just finished editing a short story on Josh Jones, one of the researchers aboard the vessel. Although we have satellite, it costs $11 per megabyte and we are compressing the videos as small as possible for the upload but want to make sure you have an idea of what life is like aboard the New Horizon. Josh is an inspiration to all and one of his missions in life is to help others achieve their goals. He grew up loving nature, but it was in Alaska working for a sport fishing company years ago that his love affair started with whales.
In his words about his first experience driving a small boat in Alaska,
"The other guide said to me, ‘you can fish right?’ There’s your boat, follow me. Oh and all you have to do is listen for the whales, you will be able to hear them." At the time Josh had no idea what the other guide was talking about, yet minutes later with a boat load of people in his skiff he could feel and hear the whales through his feet at the bottom of the boat. His life changed at first site of the Humpback Whales bubble net feeding and so began his life’s love affair. Josh came on this expedition to look for whales and dolphins and see if there is a plastic impact on these marine mammals in the ecosystem in the gyre. He also has an acoustic array to listen for the dolphins and whales underwater. When you work with people 24 hours a day, you get a real sense for what they are like. I believe it took a couple of days before I had an opportunity to talk with Josh, but when you live your life behind a camera you become a great observer of life. Josh has been helping everyone achieve their goals on the SEAPLEX expedition, including me.
Together with Doug Woodring, founder of Project Kaisei, and Andrew Titmus our seabird specialist, Josh has been committed to figuring out the higher density areas of plastic in the area of the Gyre we are researching. From morning until night the three of them are perched on the bow of the vessel looking for plastic on the surface. And what we are discovering through all of our tests is that the Ocean’s surface is covered in these minute particles of broken down plastic.
During the manta tows, New Horizon only moves about one knot. Josh, Doug and Andrew all come down to the main operational deck to take out their dip nets to get as much marine debris as possible to study. It is shocking because you can put a dip net in the ocean and bring it up with a container full of plastic parts, lines and ropes.
This week has been incredible and exhausting. My feet are killing me because they have been trapped in a pair of rubber boots for nearly the entire journey! We are required to wear closed toe shoes at all times on deck so I have been wearing a pair of rubber boots because I have not wanted to get wet feet, but the smell of my own feet drives me mad after 17 hours in boots. So for now, I have to go to sleep for a few hours as I am due to wake up again in about 3.5 hours.
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Thank you to our sponsor, Samy's Camera
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