Boyan Slat & The Ocean Cleanup: Second day at sea

Boyan Slat & The Ocean Cleanup: Second day at sea

It’s our third day on board the Sea Dragon, our second day at sea. Most of us have never been on any type of sailboat, so the first and second day consisted of a lot of very basic training: how to pump the head, coil a rope, where all the supplies are kept. While still in the quiet harbor in Bermuda, we practiced putting the multi-level trawl in the water, each of us assigned a specific task, working as a team to ensure it was deployed safely. The German documentary film crew that has joined us on this expedition has made this all even more interesting, especially when they rented a small boat to film – from the water – Boyan and Francesco working on deck, with a few of us as “extras” trying to look like we were doing something useful.

On Saturday, the wind and waves were mild. That was probably a good thing from the perspective of sea sickness (0100 log book entry: “No puke!!!”) and having us newbies learn how to drive. On the other hand, that meant we were not going as fast as we might have liked.  I’m on the watch team with Boyan, crew member Shanley , and Til from the film crew. Last night, we had the 2000 to 2400 shift and were treated to a beautiful sunset; sea birds; a passing ship heading to Montreal; phosphorescent plankton; Venus so bright it shined like the moon on the water; the Milky Way; shooting stars; and a laser light show complements of Boyan.

Today, Sunday, we all started to get the hang of the watch routine. The waves and wind were more intense, which meant we were moving much faster. The price was several complaints of sea sickness, though as far as I know, still no vomiting. The sun was hot as our captain, Eric, went over the basics of sailing. So far it’s been around 84 degrees F with moderate humidity, but on deck midday, the sun can be brutal. Later this afternoon, as I was just getting up from a much-needed midday nap (we all sleep when we can), I jumped out of my bunk to run up on deck to catch a glimpse of sperm whales passing by. Both our film crew and I tried to capture them on video, but they were a ways out and only blew a few times and showed a fin. Exciting for us, but not impressive footage.

The food, so far, has been delicious and healthy – kudos to the crew for excellent meal planning. I’ve done wilderness camping myself, so cooking a decent meal in this galley is interesting, but not a huge challenge. But I’ve learned that standing in that small hot space for too long can even make me feel a little sea sick, at least when the boat is rocking like it was today.

This evening, the film crew had us all laughing as they tried to capture a scene of Boyan taking over the helm at sunset, dramatic music from the soundtrack of 2001: A Space Odyssey playing in the background. They plan to do another take at sunrise. We’re also hoping to do the first set of trawls tomorrow, weather permitting. So far, it’s not looking promising, but with luck the wind will calm down enough to let us get started with the scientific part of this expedition. We’re all looking forward to it!

– Kelly Osborn, Boyan Slat and The Ocean Cleanup | Gyre expedition #4, June 14, 2015

The Ocean Cleanup Bermuda