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Manta trawls show an increasing amount of plastic

Two or three at the beginning. Then 15 to 20. Now about 50. Growing numbers of the multi-colored plastic bits and pieces were collected in each of the Manta trawls samples.  

Fishing crates, buckets, buoys, fenders, and other garbage of similar size. The macro-plastics seen from our decks during the last couple of days. Our findings in the open waters of the South Pacific as we progress towards the central area of its characteristic gyre, where the currents are calmer and accumulate the debris that drifts and floats around. 

Together with them, the trawl never fails to catch a surprising diversity of zooplankton. Its food, the tiny little photosynthetic phytoplankton is too small for the filter we use.  

Today, about 15 to 18kn of quite steady winds have been going back and forth from the South-southeast to East-Southeast, now we brace a point sharper, now we come back half a point squarer to keep a westerly course. Still good conditions to spend an hour and a half busy with the trawls in search of microplastics. 

The situation is about to change if we trust the forecast. The area where we sail seems to be getting pushed both from the East and the West by Low-Pressure systems, squeezing a bit the isobars of the upper part of the High we have been riding for days now, and probably bringing sooner than expected a spell of easterly winds, turning then to a north-easterly as we progress west.  

Halobates skate without breaking the surface tension of the water. By the wind, sailors use their little sail-like structures to catch the surface wind and drift as the biological parallel to a sailing ship. Phytoplankton stays in the layers of water where the sunlight can penetrate before being absorbed in the depths. Zooplankton and little fish do their daily vertical migrations in the water column. Plastics of any sort and sizes travel with the ocean currents of the South Pacific. And the Europa sails on. 155nm on the last day, under full sail pushed now by the fair south-easterly wind, with the sunrise at our back and the sun setting in front of us. 

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