WRITTEN BY GUEST CREW
ON LEG TWO FROM AZORES TO ANTIGUA WITH COPERNICUS MARINE SERVICE
Yes, we are still in the harbour. Yes, on purpose. Yes, all happy with this decision.
After some guest-crew internal worries about the colourful circles on the weather forecasts we found online and got sent to by friends and family, our amazing skipper Anna shed some light into our dark thoughts. After through and easy to follow explanations about wind, weather, currents, etc. we were all delighted to hear that our departure will be delayed…it’s looking pretty rough out there! Patiently we wait for the nice green area to follow the nasty red and lilac spots in the map.
This gave us a great amount of time for getting to know the boat, settling in and making ourselves at home. Having time to figure out where everything is stored and how to prepare delicious meals in the “galley“ (the boat kitchen). Safety also kept us busy, getting all geared and prepped up for anything we don’t want to happen. It’s great to see how serious the crew is taking this topic. Making us feel very safe and in good professional hands.
Of course, we also used our time well with the utmost important part of eXXpedition – Science! First land-based science was the Circularity Assessment Protocol (CAP) developed by Professor Jenna Jambeck at the University of Georgia. We split up in 3 groups, every group had a pre-defined area with 3 „sample-areas“, that is randomly chosen by the university‘s research department. The task was to measure 100 m correctly and register all trash found within an arms length of the transect line in the Marine Debris Tracker app. Unsurprisingly we found mainly cigarette butts. We really need to start advocating more for not tossing cigarettes on the street, as they are not bio-degradable.
We also made ourselves familiar with all the other scientific methods that will be used offshore and on land. It was interesting to hear from Winnie what the samples will be used for, what hypothesis need to be tested and how the data will be analysed. Being given that background information makes our efforts even more purposeful. The team can’t wait to start sampling offshore.
Last, but not least, we used our time on land well to communicate the mission of eXXpedition and to raise awareness in the local community. We met with the local government and talked to people at a newly opened shopping mall to increase public engagement surrounding the issue of plastics and we also gave a presentation to third year biology students at the University of Azores. The feedback and interest from the locals is very encouraging.
Summing up, we are having a great time and appreciate getting to know each other, the boat and the science. This will prep us well for setting sail and going out on the ocean. We can‘t wait for it!