July 21, 2018, the winds vanished. The approaching high pressure system has come over us and we were not able to escape its path. We have no wind and no motion. Our speed through the water is generated by the current of the water we are in, and not by the winds.
Since the winds disappeared, the sea calmed until it looked like glass! On the surface of the ocean is what appears to be a white snowy substance. It was uniformly covering the entire surface, from the boat all the way to the visible horizon. Maddie got a beautiful picture of this Portuguese Man-O-War and you can see the powder that it shares the surface of the water with.
I took up a sample of the water with a mason jar, and the top inch is filled with microplastics. They cover the entire surface of the Atlantic Ocean, as far as we can see, and penetrate down about an inch. It was really heartbreaking to see how much plastic is floating out in the ocean. Out in the middle of the ocean, where you would think humanity hasn’t been able to influence yet; but the reaches of humanity are far and apparently have enveloped the top inch of the worlds surface with plastics.
The day passes on and the Man-O-War are the only reminder that we are not in another world. These creatures, which belong to the Siphonophores family, litter the surface of the ocean with their death traps set. They stretch their tendrils out almost 100 feet from the float, into an almost invisible thread of pain and torment. When something brushes up against it, the surface of the tendril explodes with hundreds of harpoons that deliver a painful toxin to its prey.
Why didn’t we go swimming when the ocean turned into a magical ethereal plain? Because we didn’t want to die a horribly painful death right next to the safety of our boat.