Log: The Vortex

[DAY 16] RIP Neuston

I started my night in the galley because it was too hot in my bunk and the boat was heeled over on the opposite the side of my bunk, the starboard side. When the sailboat heels over on the same side of my bunk, I slide my back against the hull and stay stable in that position. But last night wasn’t the case.

I Am Ocean was slamming through waves coming almost straight toward her bow, the constant noise of the impact and the rush of water running on the foredeck combined with her heeling over made following asleep a challenge.

All last night and in the morning we tacked and tried to sail as much up wind as possible but it became apparent that the 50 miles we had to cover to our next point was going to take more time than expected.
Since we have already spent too much time in this eddie we decided to change our plan and sail northeast toward a group of drifters we have to retrieve.

In the middle of the morning we deployed our Neuston net to collect our daily microplastic samples. We have been using the same net since we left Japan last year. This year, in addition to the Neuston net we have a Manta net. The big difference between the two is that the Manta has two horizontal stabilizing plates on each side of its mouth to keep it from bouncing on and off the waves.

After the first few minutes of our tow, Drew shouted: “we are loosing the net!” The seams that held the net to the fabric attached to the metal frame were ripping off. Before we could pull the frame out of the water the net was lost in the water. Drew saw it once on top of a wave, we all stared in the direction he was pointing to, while Corbin at the helm maneuvered the boat to go back to the location. Unfortunately after scanning the surface of the ocean and crossing our path we couldn’t find the net, it had probably sunk.

I got attached to this piece of equipment, it had its place and important function on the boat. Fortunately, we have the Manta net with us with its back up net and can keep on collecting micro plastic samples

27°20 N / 15200 W


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Photo credits @joshmunoz

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