Just arrived in Majuro, Marshall Islands by Dr. Marcus Eriksen, 5 Gyres Institute.
May 01 2012
We’ve just arrived on Majuro Atoll in the Marshal Islands. As the jumbo jet turned to make a landing, I could see the thin ring of the atoll from the plane window. Within a few minutes we were on the ground, then headed to the Sea Dragon, sitting calmly in the center of the Atoll. A crew of 14 is aboard the Sea Dragon, and is ready to go, but we need one full day to provision the boat and get through customs. With hours to spare, we wander the island.
We take a boat to one of the many islands around the rim of this ancient volcano. From above, the island looks like a cup, with the northern islands completely submerged. We find one isolated island to the east and wander around. On the outside, or ocean-side, we find the same plastic pollution washed ashore; flip flops, bottles, bucket and crate pieces, bottle caps, and thousands of degraded fragments. On the inside of the atoll we find amazing lagoons filled with life. I hover over one giant head of coral (named Porites) that’s larger than my Ford van back home. On a sandy plain I find burrows in the sand where shrimp and fish share the same tunnel, one protecting while the other digs. This world is amazing, unlimited discovery, a beautiful panorama of light, life and color, and all the reason why protecting the ocean is in our own self-interest.
We’re just hours away from departing now. By tomorrow this time we should be 100 miles away from here, closer to Tokyo, on our way to the Western Garbage Patch of the North Pacific Gyre. Stay tuned for more.