Noon Coordinates 21°49'15.60"N 157°48'21.60"W
It’s our first full day back at sea since our stop in Honolulu. It was refreshing to see what a great job Oahu is doing to phase out single use plastic items! The fuel dock at Ala Wai Harbor provides only “potato-ware” and paper bags in their convenience store. The crew made our way up to the North Shore and found several local places using compostable versions of ”disposable” utensils and cups and even sustainable to-go packaging. Many of the local business are part of a coalition of called Plastic Free Hale’wia and have vowed to keep one time use plastics out of their business practices. While compostable bags and utensils are a HUGE step in the right directions, in order get the full potential out of these alternatives they need to be composted. Eventually a commercial composting facility will need to be introduced on the island to handle a large scale switch to compostables. And on the flipside, many businesses feel it is pointless to carry compostables if there is no facility to take care of the breakdown process. It’s a bit of a catch-22, but thankfully the switch is moving along. What other alternatives can you think of to using disposable items like single-use cups, straws, forks, and water bottles?
We spent the day traveling north past Kuai and Ni’ihhau, making our way through the Kaulakahi Channel which runs between them. Our goal is still to make it out to the International Dateline, at about 28 or 29 degrees north, west of Kure Atoll to sample outside of the boundaries of Papahanaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
We deployed the manta trawl tonight test out the repairs and just completed two hour evening trawl-producing a plastic film fragment, numerous shapes and sizes of small hard plastic fragments, and several different species of fish (a total of 64 fish)! How many pieces of plastic can you count in the part of the sample in the picture below? (Click on the picture below to get an up-close view!!!)On another note, congratulations to Joel and SCUBADrew who will have the opportunity to return to present the results from this voyage to Kahuku High School on Oahu. In addition to sharing our research they will teach the students to monitor the beaches around Kahuku point for marine debris. Kahuku beaches are the most heavily plagued by marine debris wash-up on the island. We will look forward to hearing more about how this monitoring goes!
Aloha from the Captain and crew!