Indeed, yesterday and today a cunning plan was set up an carried out! Due to the meteorological constraints, we decided to stay in the northernmost bay of Gotland, or to be precise, Fårö. Instead of doing a large-scale study on the distribution of microparticles, we chose to do a small-scale study on litter in the bay water column and on the beaches of Fårö island. Not only the weather forced us to do this, also the fawlty pump needed repairs. We had to wait until Wednesday evening for the KC Denmark guys to bring us a new pump. They tried to keep us busy with strange assignments such as: ‘turn the propellor first twenty times clockwise, then twenty times counter clockwise….’; nobody believed that it would work, and it didn’t.

Eric Snorkel

At one magic moment (after threatening the pump to become a cucumber slicer), the pump miraculously started to work again. In the water, Eric and undersigned inspected the working of the pump. For me it was a good excuse to go swimming, after not having taken a shower so far…However, the pump did not seem to be pumping any significant amount of water.

We had more fawlty equipement: also the engine of the small dingy of Sea Dragon refused to continue to work after one good attempt. This forced us to take out the big dingy to play around with.



So, the cunning plan was to trawl the bay for microlitter, and to sample the beaches in and nearby the bay for macrolitter. The trawl surveys consisted of two hours sitting in a dingy with 3 to 4 men/women sailing around the bay and  having really important discussions. Getting the catch from the trawl net properly into a jar appeared a challenge though. The beach surveys consisted of controlled observing and sampling specific stretches of beaches, describing the items found and taking sediment samples for later studying in the lab for microlitter. Tuesday only nearby beaches were sampled, but today also the southern beach was sampled. With no alcohol on board, it suddenly seemed very necessary to sample this beach which very conveniantly passed a bar…a beer was well deserved after the long walk, which caused some blisters on the poor researchers’ feet. The Fårö beach surveys delivered interesting results. There was the discovery of the until now unknown Fårö freedom fighter (a.k.a. the ‘Hose guy’), the remains of an unidentified Fårö culture and leftovers of the last war between Denmark and Sweden.

Faro Beach 1


Faro Beach 2


Faro Beach 3

Unfortunately, tomorrow we will be leaving this lively and culturally diverse place for a sampling spot down the East coast of Gotland. This means for half of the crew taking the necessary precautions (pills), and enjoying a good night sleep before again a bumpy ride south.

– Arjen Boon, Baltic Sea Discovery expedition with MTM Research Centre, August 21, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Baltic Sea Expedition 2014 blog here

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