By the Ocean we Unite: Day 5-6

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Day 5 & 6

I’m writing day 5 and 6 together because already the days are combining into one! Hours and minutes seem to be the same and time is lost without a watch or strict schedule. The vibe aboard the boat is very relaxed. Breakfast is from 7-8am but most of us have been up before then, watching the sun rising above the horizon. It hasn’t been very windy, sadly, so we have been on motor and sails until this morning when I woke to the ‘silence’ of us sailing, waves lapping against the sides of the boat. Today, day 3 on board, I was up at 6am, fed and coffee’d and back snoozing by 8.30am! Lying on the deck, rug over me and the sun beaming down to warm me up. 

After lunch we had a ‘lecture’ from one of the guys onboard, Nanne, on plastic. It’s really sad to see the reality. Much of this we know from media, but the reality is seldom so explicitly written. Watching baby albatrosses taking their last gasps of breath due to starvation. Taking food from their parents mouths, food which is the man made polymer used to feed our desire for all things plastic. Bottle tops, toys, lighters, and pretty much anything coloured that will fit in their beaks. If it’s covered in algae, even better. Well, so they think. 

Inspecting the microplastic damage

Inspecting the microplastic damage

Two trawls a day, with microplastic finds of 70, 100 and 8, each in approx 3000m2 of water. This is the invisible plastic in our oceans, what a water bottle, ear bud, straw or plastic bag becomes after many years of ocean and sunlight erosion. It’s ingested by plankton, fish and crustaceans which then accumulated as it works it’s way up the food chain. This in turn ends up on our plates and in our stomachs.

We jump off the boat, swim, use the drone, laugh and tell stories. At dinner I am requested to speak of my journey, rowing the Atlantic. I feel awkward telling it to new friends so it ends up as a show and tell based around the pictures and things I can remember. I think went down well, if the laughing was anything to go by. 

I always find mass “good nights” a little awkward so I sneak off to bed ready for a slightly rougher nights sleep.

Kiko Matthews