Sunday 30 November — Species Remembrance Ceremony & The Art of Making the Unseen Visible

November 30, 2014

nov 30

19 40.70 N

49 19.10 W

The morning greeted us with an incredible sunrise and the company of a mixed pod of dolphins, including both clymene and spotted, entertaining us with their antics at the side of the boat for at least a quarter of an hour.

The winds have died down to 10 to 15 knots necessitating the use of our engine. With the calmer conditions, our resident Koala Bear, Shanley attempted an assent of the mast and captured some incredible images of the boat and surrounding sea. Yikes, she’s a brave one, as the sea still tossed her back and forth from the height of nearly 96 feet.

Temperatures have also increased on board, as the crew seeks out small areas of shade from the intense sunshine. No complaints here though as winter has come to many of our homelands, bringing very low temperatures and snow. The water temperature also continues to rise as we head further south, and is now measured at 82.5 F!

We were able to do more trawling today and found a few pieces of plastic amongst the varied marine life, mostly invertebrates and a few larval fish, captured in the net. Some plastic pieces are only visible under the microscope, pointing to the great potential for ingestion by marine fauna.

Laura introduced us all to a Remembrance Day ceremony for threatened and endangered species, organized every 30th of November, to commemorate the loss of species on our planet. On board Sea Dragon, we decided to conduct our ceremony by releasing paper cut-outs of a variety of marine animals off the side of Sea Dragon. As the paper silhouettes drifted away we were all silent and contemplative, considering the various impacts and contributors to extinction and the very real toll this is taking on those beings with whom we share this planet.

Discussions on board have also centered on making visual the problems we are facing with plastics. This was further emphasized in the evening presentation by Maria, our other on-board artist. Maria shared with us pictures of her many dramatic sculptures and installations that capture the impact of humans on the environment.

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Sea Dragon’s Visual Artist in Residence Maria Arceo before departure in Lanzarote. This piece is not Maria’s, but we took the photo here on the way to a party at the yacht club, as aspects of it were reminiscent of an ancient Egyptian music score that will influence the work she makes responding to the voyage.

She has no shortage of creative raw materials and easily collects several bags of plastic daily from a small patch of beach.

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At a distance her art work is alluring, with a range of colours and shapes, but as one gets closer, the image sharpens and we are faced with the unsettling evidence of our daily consumption and careless waste.

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She highlighted her passion for making visual the footprints we leave behind as we discard many of the trappings of everyday life, much of which washes up on the shores of the river near where she lives and works. Maria’s work will no doubt continue to provoke further thought and consideration of our management of waste.

Our evening watches are now shared under a startlingly bright moon, which lights up the surrounding sea, and provides a guide on our journey. And as the chocolate supplies are running low, we are all keen to reach Martinique. Seven hundred nautical miles to go!

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