eXXpedition North Pacific crew member and TV researcher Beccy Finlayson shares the daily routine for leg 2 on Sea Dragon – sailing and science!
“Day Two of Leg 2 and it was our first full day aboard Sea Dragon.
Most of us had a night of broken sleep after taking turns on anchor watch throughout the night. We took bearings on the three points from the bright light of Vancouver’s skyscrapers and kept checking that we hadn’t drifted. I was lucky enough to be on the last watch and see the sun begin to rise as the pastel-coloured reflections appeared in the water.
We started the day as we meant to go on- with science! A specially designed bucket was thrown over the side and down to the sea floor to scoop up sediment which was bottled up on deck. Not a very glamorous affair but we now have very important jars of sludge to analyse.
Soon the mainsail was up and we were making headway across the Strait of Georgia and towards Vancouver Island. The sun was shining, there were light winds and once we passed the shipping l ane it was time for our first manta trawl. Jobs were assigned and the spinnaker pole hoisted perpendicular to the boat. As the manta trawl was lowered into the sea the time and specific coordinates had to be taken to ensure we know exactly where the sample has come from. After 30 minutes the results were in and we picked through the pieces to find a shocking twelve pieces of micro plastic in just 2000m of 0.5m wide ocean.
We trawled a second time in the afternoon and recorded sightings of plastic floating on the surface before dropping the main and finding a safe anchorage for the night. After a quick dip in the sea, for those who could just about brave the chilly temperatures, dinner was served and an evening of sharing stories began.
We heard from Nikkey, resident Canadian, freediver and artist who has painted the 76 remaining southern resident orcas. Imogen, PhD student, whose marine science investigation has helped persuade cosmetic companies to rethink their use of micro-beads and inform UK legislation, and Sarah, film producer and author of a new children’s book which follows the life of a plastic bag. These stories, about how people ended up on this journey, fuelled further questions. Why are we here? What are we doing, and what does the future hold?
In each case we all have a slightly different answer but this shared experience gives us inspiration and first hand evidence to take with us in our future ventures.”
Pic: the manta trawl net collecting sea water samples to analyse for micro plastics
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