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Jonathan Waterman

Explore/Protect: How can we Better Protect People From Extreme Weather Events?

Sponsored Content This content is brought to you by AXA Research Fund.  After a recent fact-finding trip to New Orleans, I was shocked to learn how the decade old, moderate-sized Category 3 Hurricane Katrina has scarred the city.  Seeing neighborhoods in ruins and meeting survivors still too traumatized to talk about the floods is a wake-up…

Situational Awareness

Tonight, anchored along the western shore of Lanai Island, we’re reveling in the briny land smell beneath volcanic seamounts and mountain goat habitat.  Our scientific research is complete and all that remains is a final cleaning of the ship, a barbeque on deck, an alcohol-free swizzle party and another refreshing swim in the Pacific.  Strange…

Of Politics and Plastics

As we sail closer to port, mahi mahi fish have been hitting our lures and tropicbirds circle our masts.   We have not seen land for over a month but as I write these words, we’ve just crossed the EEZ (U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone) within 200 miles of Hawaii.  We’re now 34 days at sea and…

An Ever Shifting Sea

For the last few days, fully inured to life-a-tilt and the complex movements of the sea, we have plied south and southwest winds to continue sailing west.  We’re 1,500 miles and 25 days out from California, with 900 miles and 12 days left at sea.  Within a day we plan to turn south toward Hawaii. …

Ocean Plastic’s Mystery Ending

As we continue sailing west, we have more questions than answers about our plastic quarry.  We’re now more than halfway to Hawaii, with California 1,200 miles and 17 days behind us. While we’ve conducted more than 40 net deployments and counted close to 40,000 pieces of plastic in the North Pacific gyre, researchers at Sea…

Invasive Plastic Hitchhikers

We’re ten days and 690 nautical miles out from the nearest land in California.  In that time, we’ve conducted 21 net deployments to collect and analyze plastic.  We’ve counted a total of 3,190 pieces of plastic, most of it in the North Pacific subtropical gyre.  Here in this gigantic eddy-like “trap,” the concentration of floating…

Our Plastic Quarry and the Nets We Carry

Three days and almost 400 miles west of California, the rail is now free of slumped crew feeding the fish.  From my aft berth, I can hear the deck being scrubbed above. Even though we’ve passed beyond the shallow edge of the continental shelf, we’re still amid cold, northern currents.  With the exception of today’s…

2012 Mission to the North Pacific Plastic Gyre

In 1988, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers measuring pollution in the Sea of Japan predicted that plastic contamination would show up in much greater quantities in the Pacific Ocean.  Researchers had already confirmed the presence of a new, giant soup of plastics, which the media eventually dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In fact,…