Back on Terra Firme!

We collected 35 surface samples total, despite hurricanes that mandated a 600-mile gap in our research. All of them contained plastic. We collected some fish – not as many as we’d hoped to based on our Pacific Trawls, but the Atlantic is new territory for us.

 

Back on Terra Firme!

Posted on February 15, 2010 in Blog

 

Horta, Azores

The sight of land after weeks at sea is always exciting– but arriving in the Azores is especially so. And beating the next incoming storm was an added bonus.

 

Back on Terra Firme! | 5 Gyres

 

At around 6:00 am, we heard the loud clanging of the “land ahoy” bell – a rusty handheld bell that originally belonged to – the Sea Dragon now uses it to signal land in sight. Skipper Clive hand steered us into the harbor masterfully, reading and riding the winds so that our crew didn’t have to tack once.

 

Back on Terra Firme! | 5 Gyres

 

And there in front of us, framed by an incredibly bright, full rainbow, the Azores – we were all silenced. A soft, green landscape disappeared up into a cloudbank, patchworked with natural hedges dividing plots of land.

Anticipating landfall elicits a range of emotions on a journey like this. We’re all eager to walk freely, sleep in a stable bed, have a cold beer and a green salad, real coffee, and exercise. Thirteen grown adults sharing a small space certainly has its moments. At the same time, there is absolutely nothing that compares to the freedom and sense of space that crossing an ocean brings. Far from our work routines, cell phones, and internet, we spend hours on deck, staring out to sea, watching the stars, and musing on life’s mysteries. We will miss these peaceful marine meditations.

 

Back on Terra Firme! | 5 Gyres

 

We tie off in the harbor, deal with customs, and head straight for Peter’s bar, a local sailors hangout. The bar is covered with sailing memorabilia – flags from around the world, scrimshaw, and old maps. We order the aforementioned beers, salads, and cappuccinos, and toast the success of our journey.

 

Back on Terra Firme! | 5 Gyres

 

We collected 35 surface samples total, despite hurricanes that mandated a 600-mile gap in our research. All of them contained plastic. We collected some fish – not as many as we’d hoped to based on our Pacific Trawls, but the Atlantic is new territory for us. We found one incredible fish – a trigger living in a plastic bottle - a synthetic cage.  We collected tons of debris on all three islands. And we made some tremendous connections, in Bermuda and now the Azores, to collaborate with in the future.

Now, to explore the Azores!

5 Gyres



One Response to “ Back on Terra Firme! ”

  1. Luís Peazê disse:

    I am so pleased with your report above, thanks a lot, how many times I had myself the same feeling of landing while sailing Tasman Sea, Coral Reef, Arafura, Timor, South Atlantic, the same feeling but I am sure nothing compared with the purpose of your trip — Mega Congrats and also thanks for being doing this for the rest of us here on land — just one correction: Peter´s Café is not a local bar, it is (worldwide) a dream of sailors to stop by and say hi to Peter´s son, by the way tell him to send me my rights for my book on his shelves, Alvidia - yet another horizon (in Portuguese, sorry). Bravo Zulu Peazê

Leave a Reply