Day 13 Noon position 23°45'54.00"N 147°26'38.40"WJune 22, 2009
Chrisitana and Jeff each reeled in a mahi mahi today, one right after the other. The fish served a double purpose, science and sustenance. Before we filleted the fish, Christiana took muscle and liver samples of each of the fish and looked in their stomachs. Fish number 3, the mahi mahi that Jeff reeled in, contained what the Captain confirmed via microscope as a piece of plastic film. This now makes 8 species of fish in which we have identified with plastic in their gut.
The last set of trawls came in at 5pm. It was a productive, though hectic, sampling marathon. Although the samples have yet to be thoroughly analyzed, we were able to spot differing densities of plastic within and outside of the boundaries of the plankton (and possibly debris) accumulation zone. At the end of a long stint of sampling and a significant find of plastic in a common food fish, the Captain prepared one of his specialties chili rellenos accompanied by rice, beans, fresh guacamole, and fresh salsa. It was a perfect end to a productive day. We are now en route to Hawai’I with aboiut 400 miles to go.
Stay tuned for more updates and be sure to check out the Scientific American website in the “60 second science blog”, where Drew ‘s weekly account of our voyage is posted.
ANSWERS TO STUDENT QUESTIONS
Regarding the question to Joel about the JUNKraft from State Street Elementary:
"I built and sailed the JUNK Raft with Marcus Eriksen who had built a bottle boat and floated down the Mississppi River a few years ago. We thought that building an ocean going bottle raft and sailing it from Long Beach to Hawaii would be a great way to bring attention to the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans .
Your right unfortunately birds are sometimes caught in fishing gear. Part of the federal government called the National Marine Fisheries Service helps fishermen design fishing gear that minimizes the number of birds that get caught.
Sometimes I do get seasick. I’m taking medicine while on the ORV Alguita that keeps me from getting too sick. On the JUNK raft I didn’t have to take any medicine because the JUNK was so slow and steady." Joel Paschal- ORV Alguita Crew