Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 20- Oh Buoy!

Noon Position 33°29'47.58"N, 141° 0'2.58"W

Day 20 Saturday 9/26/09

Oh Buoy! A day doesn’t go by that we don’t see several plastic buoys and rope roll past the ship. Today was no exception. But a morning reflection about the 1999 voyage got the captain talking about his general observation of not only the mere number of buoys we are seeing since his 1999 voyage, but the changes he’s observed this time more so than any of the previous voyages. The change has been in the number of barnacles he is NOT seeing on the buoys and the amount of algae that is on them instead. The number in buoy count doesn’t surprise us. With the amount of fishing competing in our deep waters, commercial vessels that are floating factories able to go to far reaches of the ocean bringing with them fishing gear that local fisheries can’t afford to lose. What he doesn’t know the answer to is where are the barnacles going?

To further his point, the captain sat us down and showed us slide after slide of fouled buoys with strands of barnacles like this one that are several feet long. We haven’t found anything even close to the examples he showed us - a time lapse up until the winter of 2008. And it wasn’t just the buoys, bottles too! We haven’t found one fouled bottle with barnacles and we have a repository of bottles. Is it a natural occurrence that their abundance reduces during certain seasons? Are they knocked off in rough seas? We’re a curious bunch way out here 1050 miles from Google and we’d like to use one of our life lines and phone a friend. Anyone?

Day two of our re-sampling brought in a collectors item. The captain has been collecting umbrella handles over the past 2 or 3 years. His collection has grown to a whopping 50 +. All of them have come from various beaches, but most of them have come from Kamilo Bay, Hawaii. Today was a first. While emptying the codend of the manta trawl at 0400, out plopped an odd shaped, dark brown umbrella handle, along with half of a flex-handle tooth brush, two bottle caps, and two oyster spacers. The captain is confident the tooth brush and umbrella are from land-based sources because it’s futile to bring an umbrella out at sea and there are too many uses for a toothbrush on a boat. The other interesting finds with these trawls is that there have been a higher concentration of identifiable objects as well as items too big to put in our sample jars. That is not to say that there aren’t a lot of plastic particulates and loads of them. Other odd finds today were a children’s toy cup (olive green/Tupperware?), Popsicle stick, and a travel size detergent bottle.

I have a new game, it’s called, “How long can I go without seeing plastic” I’ll share with you more about it tomorrow. My goal is to have played it 10 times before I reveal my average.

More later.

Bonnie

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hay I am from river rige high school. I was just trying 2 figer out how the plastic has changed its figer from the last time you went out.Were do you do all of your testing is it on the boat our do u wait till u get 2 shower 2 do the testing. i am so happy that some one is trying 2 do some thing about it because if u did not do it how would. you guys put a smile one my face every time you all figer some thing new about the plastic

Anonymous said...

Hay I am from river rige high school. I was just trying 2 figer out how the plastic has changed its figer from the last time you went out.Were do you do all of your testing is it on the boat our do u wait till u get 2 shower 2 do the testing. i am so happy that some one is trying 2 do some thing about it because if u did not do it how would. you guys put a smile one my face every time you all figer some thing new about the plastic

Anonymous said...

Hay I am from river rige high school. I was just trying 2 figer out how the plastic has changed its figer from the last time you went out.Were do you do all of your testing is it on the boat our do u wait till u get 2 shower 2 do the testing. i am so happy that some one is trying 2 do some thing about it because if u did not do it how would. you guys put a smile one my face every time you all figer some thing new about the plastic

Cassandra said...

hey guys, its corinne and casie from river ridge high school and we just wanted to know if you guys had an thoughts on why there are less barnicles on large trash items now then there was ten years ago? also why it seems algae is replacing the barnicles in number?

Cassandra said...

hey guys, its corinne and casie from river ridge high school and we just wanted to know if you guys had an thoughts on why there are less barnicles on large trash items now then there was ten years ago? also why it seems algae is replacing the barnicles in number?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm Christina from River Ridge High School in Florida. I was wondering why you think the barnacles attach themselves to the buoys. I also was wondering why you think there is such a difference from the trip in 1999 and the trip you are on now. :)

Anonymous said...

This is Meghan a senior from River Ridge High School. I was wondering what fish you mostly encounter and what kind is your favorite to eat? Also what are you guys looking forward to most after you finish the voyage? September 29,2009.