Log: Swim Pacific

[DAY 139] More and more plastic

The conditions became a little more challenging today but it was still swimmable. Ty was in the dinghy with Brian and I knew I could rely on them to make everything possible for me to swim even in those very difficult situations. Some of the waves were crashing on me and in the dinghy, they were busy bailing off the water.

By the end of the day, we had already picked a few debris, a crate, a buoy and other smaller pieces, when all of the sudden, the density of particles in the water increased drastically and changed from almost seeing nothing down below me to being in a dense cloud.
I swam in those conditions for about 30 minutes and then the dinghy came to a stop. I quickly looked and saw Ty leaned over the engine. One of the main connections to the batteries was so corroded that it broke off. Even with all the precautions we took, with the grease, the tape and the plastic wraps, the water found its way.

Brian radioed the sailboat to have them come pick us up since the problem couldn’t be repaired on the dinghy. I was still in the water when I saw a net floating about 10 meters away.

I swam to it, nothing was caught in it, fishes were swimming below and around it. I grabbed one end and started swimming back to the dinghy. I couldn’t swim fast, the net slowed me down and the strong winds were pushing the dinghy in the opposite direction. I was losing distance and after trying for about 5 minutes, I knew it was a lost battle.

I left the net behind and swam back to the RHIB. A few minutes later we saw a green plastic crate floating. The crew on Seeker tried to capture it but again the wind and waves made it impossible. Before Seeker came to pick us up, we saw another debris, a dark bucket being tossed round in the agitated waters.
It looked like we have reached a part of the plastic accumulation zone that extends to the west. The main zone is found north west of Hawaii, but a few days ago we received a model from one of our research partners showing a long arm of the zone extending very far to the west and very close to our location, we might be in it.

3 thoughts on “[DAY 139] More and more plastic

  1. We never know what our day will bring us…Your perspective gives me continued inspiration. So disconcerting to know of your encounters with such inappropriate debris instead of an uninterrupted pristine blue ocean. As it is meant to be. I try every day now to eliminate the plastic and other disposables that only will inevitably produce a trashy encumbered environment. Your journey has given me reason. Better days ahead for all of us on this planet. Strength to you all, and to us, who continue to venture on this journey. We are with you in spirit!

  2. It is so inspirational reading your blogs every day, there is a lot in the press at the moment regarding single use plastics as the EU approved a ban on them this week… Great news. Keep up the great work all of you. I have a question, what do you do with all the plastic you find? Sorry if you have already answered this question but I have been wondering what you can do with it as you only have limited space? Good luck with the storm, stay safe…

  3. I echo the sentiments of Honu’Ea above. I am so aware now of how much plastic we use and throw away daily. In every town and city in the world, on all continents, there are supermarket shelves filled with products packaged in plastic which all get thrown away when the product is finished. Where is all of this plastic supposed to go! It’s sheer madness how we’ve built our lives around consuming things that create so much plastic waste. It’s a trajectory to environmental collapse if we don’t do something drastic about it soon. Thank you for highlighting this message Ben and Team. It sounds like you’ve reached the Pacific Garbage Patch now. Safe swimming as you forge ever onwards.

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