Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 5

Noon Position: 29°40'15.49"N 127° 0'10.80"W

Hey guys, the ORV Alguita team needs your help!Most of the debris we have captured from the ocean has contained barnacles and crabs. All we know about the crabs is that they are pelagic (which means they spend their life floating throughout the open ocean). Can anyone help us find the name of the pelagic crab in the picture Above?

Today is day 5 at sea, all is well and the crew is in great spirits. Now that the all of the crew is up to speed with watch duties, we have switched to 2 hour, single watches. This is a lot easier on our sleep schedules. There is however news to report regarding our travel plans. Due to a large and persistent high pressure system, we have to rethink our original route, which would have deposited us along the International Dateline (180W) at latitude of about 35N. Because of the high pressure system we are dealing with light winds, which is not optimal for sailing. The weather has forced us to spend most of our time underway motor sailing. We have already used roughly 200 gallons of the 700 gallons we started with? If we keep up at this rate we will exhaust our fuel supply. At this point we are forced to bend to the will of nature and follow the winds.

As is required when dealing with the seas, the Captain has a backup plan. Our new route and sampling strategy will take us to a more southerly location than planned, but will still present us with ample research opportunities. The new plan is to continue our heading south in order to catch the easterly trade winds. This route will bring us to Hawai’i and allow us to survey a debris convergence zone located off the southern tip of the Big Island. This convergence zone is thought to be responsible for the accumulation of debris on beaches such as Kamilo. After sampling this convergence zone, we can refuel and head up the island chain toward the International Dateline at a lower latitude than planned. How far we will actually get is to be determined by the amount of time it takes us to get to Hawai’i in the light winds we have been experiencing since we left.

Speaking of debris sampling, today’s debris catch was a 300mm buoy fouled with barnacles and pelagic crabs. (See photo of Captain Moore on left.)

Keeping in tune with the rest of the weekend, the weather was phenomenal. Much of the day was spent out on deck stretching our limbs and taken in the scenery (which is mainly….water). Capt. Moore gave a presentation to an assembly of 14-18 year old students at Hawai’i Preperatory Academy. He was able to lead them through a power point presentation via satellite phone.

Our wildlife sighting for the day included a Red tailed Tropic Bird and some Petrels.

Dear East Hills 4H Students,It may not seem like it, but there is plenty of space on board for 6 people to sleep. On the starboard side of the boat there is a cabin which sleeps three people. On the portside of the boat, next to the galley (which is the kitchen on a boat), there are two more bunks. The Captain’s quarters are also on the portside of the vessel. Regarding the oven, it is located in the galley.There are lots of places incorporated into the design of the boat, which allow for us to stow the large amount of equipment we have to bring. Our microscope and some of our more delicate instruments are stored in compartments below deck. Our more durable items are stowed below deck in either the lazarettes (storage space at the stern, back, of the boat) or forepeaks (storage space near the bow (front )of the boat). These storage spaces are separated from crew quarters. For example one forepeak houses all of our dive equipment and another holds our fishing equipment and extra sails. Here is a link to a video and slide-show tour of ORV Alguita

Dear Cleo and Sal,Thanks for the awesome question contaminants such as, PCBs, in the open ocean. Keep your eyes open for an answer in the next couple days!


Anonymous said...

East hills 4H Green Teens CA, San Leandro
I enjoy reading your blog and I I'm surprised that you are not finding a lot of plastic because I have been working a booth at our local farmers market educating shoppers about recycling and composting, and a lot of people didn't know where to put what. I try to talk about using less plastic with people, and there are signs of hope - the food vendors at the market are using paper to-go containers!

Jack B.

Anonymous said...

East Hills 4-H Club
San Leandro, CA
I would to call to your attention this website:, the contents of which I think you'll find amusing. Most of the businesses which are part of the group behind the site are probably plastic bag manufacturers who are worried about losing money because of laws banning or taxing plastic bags, and they want to convince consumers to vote against them. I have found at least one deceptive entry on the site, and that is only because I haven't read all of it. They say that many of the nonprofits and groups who are devoted to protecting the environment are liars. There is even a subsection of the site which is devoted to "proving" that the AMRF's findings about the gyre and about plastic pollution are deceptive. That they're trying to expose you and similar groups as liars to make money I find sickening. I, and many other people, know the truth. Keep up the good work.