We’re running two days now in the famous pea soup fog known in The Grand Banks, an area of shallow water off The Grand Banks know for good fishing and FOG. We’ve developed a new classification for visibility other than the typical nautical terms– shite, shite 2, shite 3, and quadruple shite. Honestly, we can’t even see the front of the boat at times. And it’s quiet, eerily so—the wind has dropped to a whisper. We’re under engine power, with one person from each watch always down below watching the radar. We’re tracking several icebergs to our Southeast and Northwest that has made a few crewmembers nervous. For the most part, everyone remains positive though the threat of ice and the constant, incessant fog that makes for a profoundly cold dampness that permeates the soul. I mention the ice not for drama’s sake, but to give all who are following the expedition the truth of what the crew is experiencing and thinking about out here in the vast gray blue wilderness. To be clear, if we felt there was mortal danger or serious threat to crew safety or something that would compromise the ship, we wouldn’t be pressing onward. We take safety very, very seriously and we do not take chances. But we won’t turn back just because we’re cold and wet. Such is the price of documenting new and high latitude areas of the ocean for plastic pollution and that’s exactly what sets 5 Gyres apart in our field—we go where no one has, and no one wants to.
And on that note, the trawls and visual observations at our current position, about 650 miles east of Portland, Maine have all had plastic. But right now, we’re sort of between gyres; we’re skirting the northern half of The Gulf Stream that makes up the northern half of the North Atlantic Gyre and The Labrador Current that makes up the southern part of The Subpolar or Viking Gyre. The Labrador Current, which tracks southeasterly from between Canada and Greenland is cold water, and as such, the ambient air temperature has plummeted. At night we’re experiencing about 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius ) and that, mixed with 100% humid air makes for tough night watches.
All of this said, the crew is getting on well. As I write, Aly and La Benida are making some hot chicken soup from scratch, and Brett has become a fresh bread baking master. Don’t worry about us, we have a ton of chocolate and a boat full of good spirit.
Please share our updates with your friends and families, and please consider helping the expedition funding by donating to our Klean Kanten Indiegogo matching campaign!