22 Oct 2013

Sailing across the world's largest sewer: The Pacific Ocean

"The Ocean is broken" is a must-read article in the Newcastle Herald. (Just make sure it's not during mealtime.)

The article recounts the experiences of Ivan Macfadyen, a yachtsman from Newcastle, Australia. Ten years ago, in 2003, Ivan had sailed from Melbourne to Osaka. Earlier this year, he set sail on exactly the same course - sailing the Pacific Ocean from Melbourne to Osaka - and then on to San Francisco.

The following is what he said about what he saw in the Pacific Ocean.

"I've done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I'm used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen.

"We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumour on its head. It was pretty sickening.

"[...] it felt as if the ocean itself was dead."

More than 2 years ago, I had posted about the giant floating continents of festering garbage in the Pacific Ocean...

Giant "plastic soups" of garbage stretch over hundreds, if not thousands, of square kilometres of open ocean. The largest of these is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Estimates on size range from 700,000 square kilometres to more than 15,000,000 square kilometres, i.e. ranging from 0.41% to 8.1% of the size of the Pacific Ocean - a body of water that makes up nearly 50% of the 'blue' in the 'blue planet'.

There is a floating 'plastic continent' in the Indian Ocean and another one in the North Atlantic too.

From the very beginning, human civilization has thrived on the banks of rivers and the shores of oceans - which are presently bubbling with chemicals, carcinogens and worse. Well, at least, we have the land...

Oh, wait! We've f-ed that up as well.

I hope Sir Richard Branson will spare me a one-way second-class ticket to one of the moons of Jupiter.

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