Thursday, May 15th – The Expedition is finally on its way!

Good evening everyone!

Here we are! At last on our way towards the gyre, after these last days of technical delay! We left early from Guadeloupe this morning, as soon as the replacement of the defective propeller was over. The boat moves forward and is heading northerly/north-easterly. We are sailing very close to the wind currently turning northward. According to the captain, we are this evening 480 miles away from the doors of the gyre and if we continue at this rhythm we will be there in 3 days!

The scientific samplings thanks to the Manta nets will begin again tomorrow morning, to see if we detect the presence of microplastics.

We had another Skype meeting with a class from Clesles, who was about to go out to clean the banks of the Seine next to their school. We still have no information regarding the quantities of waste they collected but we look forward to the communication of their results.

The teenagers collect a lot of plastics on the banks of the Seine. They are macro-waste and are visible for the naked eye, often recognizable: bottles, shampoo bottles, shoes … These objects, if they are not collected, will continue their journey towards the ocean, derive with the currents and finally end up washed up on a beach, or join what we now call the 7th continent: a zone in which waste concentrates. We find essentially plastics there since they have a very long life expectancy. During their long peregrination through the currents, plastics disintegrate in smaller and smaller pieces, to end up in the form of micro-plastics.

We do not see them any more in the water, but they are always present in the oceanic ecosystem. It is what we collect with the Manta net. The gyre which we are going to explorate, concentrates these microplastics: the 7th continent is not a solid patch of waste gathered all together! It is a very concentrated soup of plastics reduced to pieces, which re-release pollutants, which enter the food chain of the oceans … The team which explored last year the continent of the North Pacific also observed that we met more and more macro-waste when approaching the gyre.

The two biologists on board, Claire and Marie, resumed the observations of the fauna and the macro-waste. They carry out two observations a day one in the morning and one during the evening. These observations allow us to see the evolution in the presence of macro-waste related to our progress towards the gyre and to notice the possible impact on the fauna. We were escorted once again by 4 Atlantic spotted dolphins!

The evening fell, we are getting ready to spend our first night on the open sea for several days, without any coast in sight. The night’s watches get are settled in our marine micro-community and we savor the present moment.

We send you a lot of of sea sprays and marine perfumes that only sea gives us!