For the first time since we left nine days ago, the boat is more or less becalmed during the night of 29-30th May. It is unbearably hot inside the cabin. And outside: « no wind ». The Pacific Ocean has suddenly become a lake. It’s 2 a.m. and we’re at the heart of the vortex.
“Strange!” says the captain. The boat is wrapped in thick mist. It’s like a scene out of “Pirates of the Caribbean”. The journey is approaching its goal and we’re at latitude 30° N and longitude 134° W. It’s as though the boat wants to go no further and is telling us that it’s here. This is the place we set out to find and show the world.
We spend the night here in a somewhat gloomy atmosphere. At dawn, the mist clears slowly allowing us to set up our final sampling station at the very heart of the problem.
An email from Danielle informs us that the Gyroplastic buoy has ceased to transmit since the first sampling station! We check it out and realise that no indicators light up. This is a blow for the team. The buoy was intended to characterise the water columns at each station. In spite of several satellite communications, we cannot solve the problem.
So unfortunately, we will have to do without it. After setting up the equipment, we begin by hauling the Manta net aboard after trailing it for an hour.
No surprises, it’s full of plastic…We condition the samples, pack up and set off back to Ocean Side. We leave behind us a territory where there is no human life but which is severely impacted by it. In spite of knowing this is what we were looking for, it leaves us with a bitter taste in the mouth. Having actually witnessed it on the spot undoubtedly increases our sense of shame with regard to Nature.
Before leaving, we make a record of the rubbish around us – shoes, fishing tackle and many other unidentifiable objects.
Tomorrow we will cast the Manta net overboard to continue our sampling until we reach 128° W, the gyre’s theoretical exit point…And we will be leaving it with many unanswered questions.
More news soon. – 7th C Crew