Montreal to Toronto Expedition
Freshwater Research and Scientific Communication Course
Crew Size: 14
Blogger of the Day: Hannes Bend- Artist, Curator and Writer
Hannes Bend, a German artist, curator and writer, is developing an art project in conjunction with Pangaea Explorations.
He has joined us as our resident artist on board, and will be further collaborating with the research scientists and sailors of Pangaea Explorations in the future.
For more information about Hannes and his work:
Eternity escaped first.
Eternity escaped first, the motorboat from Montreal was the first one to leave the lock after we floated 30 ft high – filled with an estimate of 4,000,000 liters of water within 25 minutes. We came to an equilibrium with the next higher water surface, leading to Lake St. Francis, the destination of today. The largest water body of the great Lakes, Lake Superior, is 601.1 ft (183.2 m) above sea level to the Atlantic Ocean and its expanse of water could cover North and South America with a foot of water. 18,000 years ago on the same part of the earth, we would be covered under about 1,5 miles (2,8 km) of ice because it was an ice age. Instead we found ourselves rafted up next to the sailboat Kamsin, named after a hot southwesterly wind in Egypt coming from the Sahara.
The captain Renard, a friendly older white haired Canadian was sailing with his friend Norman. Norman, wearing a bright yellow life jacket made for boys, remarked on Eternity’s excessive accelerated consumption of fossil fuels – a product processed over billions of years. ‘Solar Energy-the solution!’ 23 year old Pangaea shipmate Alysse emphatically expressed, raising her fist like the Gold Medal winners from the Olympic Games in 1968, protesting for an oppressed part of a stratifying society. Norman noted how he built a solar cell 45 years ago in university and shouted ‘this is the future!’ back in the day. A lesson in mating strategies followed by promoting humans from different parts of the world mixing and marrying to create ‘stronger offspring and world peace,’ and because ‘in the end we are just animals, right?’ Before his lecture about environmental, ethical and evolutionary concerns caused by Eternity’s existence could fully emerge and examine natural fallacy or other moral issues, Renard symbolized sealing lips and the Kamsin departed towards Lake Ontario.
Our group of 14 people on board (the boat’s capacity is 15) will soon enter the lake. An Estuary, a mixture of fresh and salt water, connected to the Atlantic Ocean through glaciers until the ice melted 10,000 years ago, is now the topic of further research about plastic pollution.
Facial cleansers are polluting the largest freshwater reservoir on earth. Last year the first comprehensive studies reported higher concentration of microplastics in parts of Lake Erie than in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This research was conducted by current shipmate Dr. Sherri Mason. It focused on how particles in personal care products, cement fillers, boat scrubbing media and a whole bunch of pharmaceuticals contain endocrine-disrupters, which infiltrate and contaminate nutrients and its predators. Successively the whole food chain may get infected by fish or other prey species of ours, which then possibly end up in front of our face as consumers again.
‘No wonder why we have so many metrosexuals,’ one of the scientists on board commented. He explained how the infiltration of some particles in the water cycles mimic hormones and lead to decreased sperm counts, smaller penis size, earlier female development (leading to increased cancer risk) and reduction of testosterone of 30 % in the male population from 1950 to today. The scientist, an enigmatic person and today’s superb chef, is one of a three of our meshed group of scientists, students, artists, engineers, mathematicians and sailors from various backgrounds who suffer from gluten intolerance. The sensitivity towards this protein, contained in processed plants (wheat, farina etc.) and its products (pasta, pizza, tortillas etc), interferes with the physical system in polymorphic patterns and effects, causing digestive problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety and other effects, and is a constant element of scientific examination.
Similar to the microplastic pollution, it’s an almost invisible and hardly detectable product of human history. The introduction of invasive species by increasing trade on the lakes equally transformed its ecosystems, Bill, professor of limnology at Niagara University explained in today’s lecture in the boat’s belly, and induced the extinction of species like the Blue Pike. The last Blue Pike was preserved in a freezer since the 1950s by a local resident until a scientist was able to examine its DNA in the 1990s.
While human interactions are rapidly altering the flow of matter and energy within the macro and microspheres, the isostatic rebound of the land is rising the Great Lakes by one centimeter each year- reactions to the force of the glaciers ramming over the earth Thousands of years ago. One hypothesis accounts the meshing of the tectonic plates of South and North America, called continental drifts, for dramatic climate changes before the Age of the Anthropocene -the geologic term for our current time witnessing the evident impact human activities have on the planet.
Deckmate Mitch suddenly was reminded of ‘Water World!’, a movie about an overflooded earth and its survivors salvaging the rest of civilization on man-made ships, when a half white painted trimaran boat rafted up next to us on the third lock.
The captain Dan Cor, whom Kevin Costner resembles, had been building the boat since 2005 completely by himself with plywood and fiberglass at a total material cost of $ 20,000, designed after the Tristar 45 by Ed Horstman. This was his first trip after abandoning his former home on land and moving with his daughter and her three kids on the trimaran. His destination for now is also Toronto and, after adding a mast and finishing the work on the boat, he plans to sail to the Caribbean later this year and locate more permanently. The Sea Dragon followed him out of the lock and we anchored later in the evening to collect more water samples and enjoy swimming sessions upstream against the strong current of the water.
Simultaneously Eternity eventually reached Superior.