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[DAY 94] Albatrosses and plastic

I started the day with a scheduled call with Dr. Montel, my psychologist for The Swim. I shared with him the propeller incident and let him know I was ready to go back in the water after a day off. He asked me if I had any anxiety about the incident and the shark, which I didn’t, and after our conversation, I got ready for my day of swimming.

Brian and Mark were on the dinghy. During one of my food breaks, four albatrosses landed beside me. I took it as a welcome back message from them. That was amazing to be in the water with four wild birds of that size just a few feet away from me. I got a fist-beck bump with two of them. Brian jumped in the water with a GoPro and started filming the when one of them went for a red piece of plastic and tried to eat it. Brian reached out and retrieved a small red plastic basket. A couple of minutes later I spotted two of them going after a white small plastic pouch. I quickly got to it, grabbed it and passed it on to Mark in the dinghy.

I can now better understand why so many albatrosses are found dead with their stomach full of plastic debris. A piece of plastic at the surface of the water stands out and easily get their attention.

The rest of the day was strictly swimming with no other wild encounters.

In the evening, I had another scheduled call. This one was with my older brother, Christophe, Paul’s dad and a reporter from FR3 (a French national TV station). Both of us pushing the envelope in our respective field, Christophe as an ultra runner and me an open water swimmer, the reporter was interested in how we grew up and interacted in our younger age. It was for me a new and refreshing way to talk about The Swim.

Ben

Weather conditions:
Cloudy (could coverage 5/8)
Wind speed: 10 kts
Wind direction: W
Waves height: 1-2m
Waves direction: W
Water temperature: 28.5°C

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4 comments

  1. Hello,

    We are back to school at Regent International and our new clas (2E) have lots of questions and are excited to follow your swim and blog!

    How much plastic have you seen and what can we do to help you?
    Are you collecting samples of the plastic?
    Is the water cold?
    How do you keep the sharks away?

    Have a nice time in the sea and we look forward to following your journey!

    2E

    1. Hello and thank you for your questions!

      How much plastic have you seen and what can we do to help you?
      So far we found 1719 micro-plastic fragments in 6h30 of net towing, which is an average of more than 4 micro-plastic fragments per minute.
      We also found a total of 987 marine debris (nets, plastic pieces, buoys, bottles) in 66h30 of observation, which is a pen average of almost 15 debris per hour.

      Are you collecting samples of the plastic?
      Yes (can you complete with our plastic protocol narratives?)

      Is the water cold?
      Very warm! So warm I remove my wet suit at the end of every session. Our highest temperature so far has been 29.5°C. We average around 28°C.

      How do you keep the sharks away?
      For now I didn’t need to keep the sharks away, I met only nice guys who were curious and just wanted to say hi. But in case one confuses me with food, I can use my sharkshield, a big magnet that will create a protecting field around me, keeping the shark away without harming them.

      Have a nice time in the sea and we look forward to following your journey!
      Thank you!!

      1. You did not say how they could help.
        Stop using plastic – as much as you can. Ask all your friends to stop. Be sure no plastic is thrown out on the ground, but is properly recycled or put into trash. Start a campaign. Share this on social media. you can make a HUGE difference.

        Stop all plastic use at your school – pens?

        find ways to recycle plastic that can make money for your school. Have the art teacher encourage use of plastics. Science fair – 100% on how to prevent plastic pollution or the damage it does. Thanks for asking.

  2. Yesterday it was announced on the news: “SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Engineers set to sea Saturday to deploy a trash collection device to corral plastic litter floating between California and Hawaii in an attempt to clean up the world’s largest garbage patch in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The 2,000-foot (600-meter) long floating boom was being towed from San Francisco to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch” https://apnews.com/47a3d74f8a3f4a6e917b32c371b85568/Massive-boom-hopes-to-corral-Pacific-Ocean's-plastic-trash
    I wonder if you will meet them on your journey!

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