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[DAY 43] Full Monty

Last night the crew shined a light on the water. They wanted to collect lantern fish. During the process a couple of squids came up to get the fish at the surface. This gave me an idea, what if I swim at night with light shining around me, what would I be able to see? I thought about implementing the swim during my swim day.

Heather and Josh stopped me in the second hour and told me: “we haven’t seen that much microplastics before, we need to get some footage of that!”
We were in a soup of tiny pieces of plastic floating at the surface and few feet below it. I grabbed on to a small net from the dinghy and scooped what was below me at arm length. I have been seen those particles reflecting the sunlight almost every time I have been swimming and in my mind they were organisms reflecting the sun ray in a perfect manner that it looked like circles made by minuscule LED lights. I caught one, a second one, then another and another, I couldn’t believe it, they were all microplastic pieces! All along I had been swimming and seeing microplastics and did not even realize it!

The Dinghy went for an early reconnaissance this morning but did not encounter a slick patch filled with so much plastic. In the middle of it a red bucket bobbed at the surface. I swam toward it, half way through a school of fish met me then turned around and swam back to it. Fish were living in the middle of this thick plastic dump, I couldn’t believe it. And that was what we could see, what about synthetic microfiber and its impact on sea life?

We got a call from Alguita, the crew wanted to check what we were finding because they too were in a plastic soup some 200 nm north of us that even Captain Charles Moore had never seen before.

At the end of the swim day, to light up the mood we took some funny pictures with a toilet seat Josh and Heather had found during the day. This time I decided to go Full Monty 🙂

33º49 N / 144º55 W

Ben

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Photo credits @joshmunoz, @sea.marshall

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