Friday, February 12, 2010

"Land ahoy"

The sight of land after weeks at sea is always exciting– but arriving in the Azores is especially so. And beating the next incoming storm was an added bonus.

At around 6:00 am, we heard the loud clanging of the “land ahoy” bell. Skipper Clive hand steered us into the harbor masterfully, reading and riding the winds so that our crew didn’t have to tack once. And there in front of us, framed by an incredibly bright, full rainbow, the Azores – we were all silenced. A soft, green landscape disappeared up into a cloudbank, patchworked with natural hedges dividing plots of land.

Anticipating landfall elicits a range of emotions on a journey like this. We’re all eager to walk freely, sleep in a stable bed, have a green salad, real coffee, and exercise. Thirteen grown adults sharing a small space certainly has its moments. At the same time, there is absolutely nothing that compares to the freedom and sense of space that crossing an ocean brings. Far from our work routines, cell phones, and internet, we spend hours on deck, staring out to sea, watching the stars, and musing on life’s mysteries. We will miss these peaceful marine meditations.

We collected 35 surface samples total, despite hurricanes that mandated a 600-mile gap in our research. All of them contained plastic. We collected some fish – not as many as we’d hoped to based on our Pacific Trawls, but the Atlantic is new territory for us. We found one incredible fish – a trigger living in a plastic bottle - a synthetic cage. We collected tons of debris on all three islands. And we made some tremendous connections, in Bermuda and now the Azores, to collaborate with in the future.

Now, to explore the Azores!


Anonymous said...

HI! This is Casie from River RIdge High School and I want to know of all the things that you and your team collected on this voyage, which is the most memorable and why? Welcome Home!

Anonymous said...

Hannah Hagadone from River Ridge High in Florida. Since you don't really get to exercise while your on the boat, do you get cramped up a lot? And, are you going to clean up the beach?