Our noon position: Our noon position: Latitude: 36 50.456 N, Longitude: 153 46.324 W
Today was a straight travel day – no trawling, no standing outside on debris watch – gray skies and frothing seas kept the crew inside, reading, napping, and dealing with the challenges of preparing meals while trying to stay balanced. Let’s just say there is lots of spilling going on….
We thought this would be a good time to tell you a bit more about us, and why were here. So for the next few days, we’ll introduce our crew, starting with our youngest member, Jeff Ernst.
You’ve all seen photos of Jeff by now – he’s the young blonde guy, with boundless energy, always running around keeping us under sail, fixing something, catching a fish, setting up an elaborate photography project, and generally keeping busy.
Here’s Jeff to tell you more about what drew him out here:
“I’m the newest member to the crew of the Alguita and the fact that I’m here is a combination of being in the right place at the right time. While finishing my last semester as a natural science major with a marine science minor at the University of Hawaii Hilo, I participated in a guest lecture series on marine debris that was made possible by a grant from Algalita.The idea was to bring a collection of the worlds foremost experts in all aspects of this emerging issue to speak almost every week at UH Hilo. Captain Moore and the Alguita played a key role in the class taking students out to help sample and gain invaluable field experience on his one of a kind vessel. I expressed my interest in learning the workings of the vessel to Charlie and made as much time available as I could to learn and help teach other students how to deploy scientific equipment and participate as part of the boat. Apparently my enthusiasm paid off as it landed me an internship with the vessel, and a spot onboard crewing her back home to Long Beach.
Every time we bring a net up there is always something surprising to see, the biodiversity of organisms living throughout this vast expanse of the planet is amazing, and should speak to the importance of preserving this important and productive habitat. However, despite all the natural wonders that exist here, we consistently bring up way more plastic than plankton. It’s strange being so far from humanity and having a constant reminder of its impact all around you. If we can share a little bit of that experience and of what is happening out here with the rest of the planet then perhaps the need for a change in how we view our garbage and our oceans can be brought further into perspective.”
If anyone has any specific questions for Jeff, feel free to send them in, he'll be happy to answer you directly.
Aloha and gracias from the Captain and crew of the ORV Alguita!
The Algalita Marine Research Foundation is dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its watersheds through research, education, and restoration.
OPPORTUNITY FOR TEACHERS!!!!
Would you like to get your class involved with this expedition? It is not too late! Send an email to; firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you information about how your class can participate!
The 5 Gyres Project is the first comprehensive study of plastic pollution in the world's oceans. We will travel thousands of miles across the North Atlantic, South Atlantic oceans, adding data to what we already know about plastic pollution in the North Pacific Gyre. On these two voyages, we'll collect ocean samples to study plastic accumulation, as well as study fish for possible plastic ingestion and toxins in their tissues. These expeditions will help us to further understand the impact of plastic waste on the world's oceans.
On January 20th, 2008 ORV Alguita set out on a winter expedition through the North Pacific Gyre, sailing from Hilo, HI to Los Angeles, CA to conduct further research on oceanic plastic debris. The crew of 6 collected samples for lab analysis, as well as for future AMRF education projects.
While samples are still being processed, preliminary findings from both the Sept '07 and Jan/Feb '08 voyages suggest a five fold increase in plastic in 10 years.
ORV Alguita departed Long Beach California on September 9, 2007 for a three week voyage out to the eastern "Garbage Patch" in the Pacific Gyre. During this extended voyage the vessel's 6 person research team collected samples to help answer questions about the growing amount of plastic in the ocean.