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Today was a busy and pretty exciting day. It was also an eye-excersize
day, as we went from “macro” to “micro” in the debris hunting phase. If
our boat was going 9 knots, I was on the bridge looking for big debris
anywhere from 10m from our boat, to 6mile, at the drop off point of the
horizon (with binoculars of course). This was taxing at points with the
glare, and white caps that would stand up and almost wave at you,
tempting you to count them in the debris mix, only to find them
disappear again before you could then verify the debris, which of
course, was not there. This went on for an hour at a time, while Andrew
or Josh were on a computer tallying scores, and whoever was not
tallying, was looking at the area within 5m of the boat for debris that
came along that designated path.
As soon as the boat slowed for the manta trawls (1m mouth net, and about
20cm deep), we would run down to the water level and count particles we
could see going into the net’s mouth at 15min intervals. These could be
as small as 1mm in width. Amazing to think that we were looking for
such things in a vast ocean, but it was interesting to the calibrate the
numbers with the actual catch, as this will then help us with estimates
in the future.
After lunch Annie, Jim, Matt and I went out on the Zodiac for the last
time, looking for large debris pieces. We usually used the bridge and
spotters at high levels to help us find debris, but we happened to hit a
fairly thick area, and found a lot on our own by just driving the boat
around. Right near the end, we heard there was a ghost net, which is
what we had been looking for, as we wanted to get some underwater shots,
and these usually had a lot of fish life around them. This one was no
different, except for its “owner.” This owner of the net was a very
surreal stuffed dog, that was sitting properly on top of the nets,
almost waiting for us to come rescue it. We could not believe it, and
have no idea how it got there, not to mention its perfect positioning as
a watch dog! If anyone knows its owner, we have him safe and sound now.
He has become the boat’s mascot, and images of him can be seen on our
Voyage Tracker at kaisei.blipback.com.
Under this dog was a school of about 200 rainbow runner fish (about 8
inches long), and then 6 huge Mahi Mahi, swimming like a pack of hunting
dogs, but not bothering the rainbow runners – just yet. They lunged for
Jim’s lure (he had a rod, just in case we saw such a net), but didn’t
quite have the right gear to cast and reel them in. Instead Annie stuck
her head in the water with her big camera housing and got some
incredible footage! Stay tuned!
We are heading north now, to 40 degrees, where we will then head east.
There is a convergence zone there, so we expect to find a few more
interesting things along the way.
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