Plastics again…Hawaii in our rear-view mirror
Jul 13 2011
Hawaii-Oahu Dream Islands,a picture of perfection in the tourist brochures.
Certainly beautiful,warm clear waters,great people.Big thanks to Garry Ka’aihue,family and friends for all the Aloha that only Islanders know how to share, and the gifts given on departure especially the whale bone carving of a Honu(Turtle), a sacred animal for Hawaiians,worn with pride by a wandering Kiwi.Turtles seem to be a recurring animal on this year and a half voyage we’ve been on.Gigi in Brazil,Karumbe’ in Uruguay,Surfers in Tobago,The Ukelele in the shape of a turtle I was given by the Davey Family in Aitutaki,Cook Islands.We love turtles, yet so many die from plastic ingestion and we continue to infest our waterways with single use plastic.
Oahu,beautiful but not without it’s own problems with trash,the ala wai canal feeds into the ocean from within the island and bringing with it’s waters tons of trash.I’ve been told it’s better than the past but the harbors are full of plastic cups and all types of floating debris,there is not really a scheme to clean the harbors but we should do it,no excuses or hesitation.just do it,every day if need be,even if it’s just for the turtles sake.
So here we are three days into our Combined Pangaea Explorations/Algalita Voyage across the North Pacific Gyre passing through the famous North Pacific Garbage Patch.What will we find is not so much a mystery as much more of a certainty.We know we will find plastic trash.The question is how much now almost 15 years after Charles Moores first voyage through these waters in the Algita.
We’ve had a rough few days,our new crew in different states of health/seasickness,everybody seems to have got their sea legs now,more or less, and eating better with smiles on their faces.Tim the Aussies birthday today,pineapple upside down cake,not a bad effort from Kim and Carolynn in a bouncy boat on a heel.
This morning we started spotting floating debris,the odd plastic bottle,fishing floats,random bits.
We have had the hi-speed trawl deployed for a day now and after bringing it in we found lots of small pieces of plastic,nurdles,confetti type pieces even an old glass ball float which could have been floating in the ocean for 20 years or more.
After bringing in the hi-speed trawl we deploy the manta trawl which goes along at 2 knots giving a more accurate gauge of plastic debris floating on the surface.
Five minutes after deployment we snagged a huge net bolus,which is a tangle of ropes,nets,fish traps,trash,whatever hooks on to become one huge floating piece of debris.
The Korean TV Crew we have on board ,Brandon and Mr Jing first in the water with cameras,then myself and Hank the Marine Biologist from Hilo,Big island.
We were stunned with the amount of fish life living in this micro universe,small reef fish ,triggerfish, up to a school of Mahi-Mahi,all using this as their personal floating island.
As we were swimming around I noticed a piece of plastic floating by at about 7-10 metres below the surface,all of a sudden a school of the smaller fish were off and all voraciously feeding off this piece of trash.Does this this mean these fish have included plastic as part of their diet?They must munch on the ropes and netting as well,then the Mahi-Mahi eat them and we eat the Mahi-Mahi.We did catch a Mahi-Mahi yesterday for dinner.Did it have a stomach full of plastic fish?
I don’t want to eat plastic.
Next time you go to the supermarket,take your reusable shopping bag even for the veges,it’s easy.
Next time you get asked if you need a plastic bag,think if you really need it.
Next time you have a coffee,ask for a ceramic cup,sit down take time and enjoy it,you dont have to have a take-away.
Remember the Turtle,does he smile as he swims along in his ocean paradise or is he frowning, sad seeing his environment being filled with our arrogant waste.