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Old 07-17-2007, 05:29 AM   #1
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Hi,

A while back one of the ladies on here, wrote about a harbor that was like a cess pool, I forget exactly where but I think it was in the Philipines. Please don't quote me on that.

Next I read about floating volcanic pumice and ash.

Than just after I read about submerged floating cargo containers here, I went sailing with this guy and we were discussing ocean and sea currents. He said there is an area in the Pacific that is sort of a trap for ocean debris, like a large whirlpool caused by the ocean currents. The floating debris gets caught in the middle and just goes around and around and can not get out of the ocean current.

He seemed serious, but I was not sure if he was feeding me a line or not. Otherwise he seemed like an OK guy, for the most part, but that was the first date, so.....

I have been thinking about this ever since. Is he correct, and how much floating or semi-floating junk does one encounter at sea, and is it a problem? Do any of these things ever cause damage to the boat?

Rr
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Old 07-17-2007, 09:07 AM   #2
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You have been told a story Roserita, but then maybe he had been told the same story and believed it without question.

There is surface junk riding the ocean currents which until they sink are a hazard to shipping and a big hazard to smaller craft. I have come across a fibreglass fishing box off a trawler a few metres wide and longer, after floods on land, a tree can be washed out to sea; very visable. There is not a lot of rubbish though and no congregation area for it.

If there was I would go check to see if my yacht tender was amongst it!!

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Peter
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:14 PM   #3
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We stopped at Wake Island while enroute to the Marianas from Hawaii back in 1995.

I was astounded by the ammount of plastic rubbish which covered long stretches of the beaches on the islands of Wake. A large portion of the debris was made-up of plastic & glass fishing floats... and flip-flops.

The topic of trash came up over beers at the bowling alley later that evening and everyone present (those who were based there) assured us that Wake Island lies within a Pacific current which deposits floating rubbish from virtually every nation rimming that vast ocean, north of the equator. There was even a book for sale in a gift shop written on the subject.

I have read accounts of oceanographers who were able to study and document this current with the aid of countless athletic shoes which were washed into the sea as a result of a wrecked container ship off the coast of Oregon. They concluded there is a "circut" of floating debris and were able to determine the time cycle.

I'm certainly no expert, but in my personal travels across three oceans I have gone through several "rivers" of floating plastic trash. I've seen it with my own eyes and I believe these surface currents of trash are more than just a sea story. In my personal opinion these trash currents do exist.

But I may be wrong.

Try Google!

Kirk
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:31 PM   #4
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Rose,

So are you going on a second date with this guy? Hopefully you talked about more things than floating trash.

Here's to first dates!

Ken
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Old 07-17-2007, 06:53 PM   #5
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Ken,

We talked about a lot of other things besides ocean trash. That came up when we were discussing ocean currents.

It was a nice first date, all day sailing, and chatting, with an excellant meal. There could be another date, he seemed like a nice enough guy. Neither of us are in a hurry to make regretful relationship mistakes. He was married before which ended badly. He is very busy with his cabinet making business, and I with my education. Time will tell. No hurries, no worries.

Rr
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:11 PM   #6
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Kirk,

That is sad. I envision sailing along the shores of a landfill.

Glass stays around forever. If it sinks deep, it probably is of little or no consequence. The "half life" of plastic, is a long time. Some plastic breaks down by the suns' UV rays, but what it breaks down to, I am not sure. It can't be a good thing.

The saddest part is, who cleans this up. Likely nobody as it would be a big expense, with no monetary return, simply a cleaner, healthier, more natural earth. I fear it will get out of control, if it is not already, before we must respond in some fashion. Whom, when and how, I don't know.

The reason I ask was timing, a series of trash and debris related topics that I read and heard.

Rr
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:47 PM   #7
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Roserita, since this seems like an issue that really bothers you, you may want to check out www.rozsavage.com she is an ocean rower about to set out on a transatlantic row. As one of her pet projects she will be reporting back in near real-time sightings of garbage at sea.

... and it's just a great adventure to follow.
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:00 PM   #8
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The north coast of Australia is long, remote and sparsely populated. Aboriginal rangers along the coast perfom a marvellous job in collecting hundreds of tons of flotsam and jetsam which washes ashore each year. Discarded fishing nets and domestic garbage from passing vessels contributes mightily to this environmental plague.

Consider what you take aboard as far as packaging is concerned, and unless it is easily biodegradable and non toxic, bring it back to land and dispose of it correctly. As most cruisers know, there is nothing quite so dispiriting as arriving on a deserted coastline that appears to not have seen another human for a long time...then discovering plastic bags and assorted human detritus along the waters edge.

Sadly, I think the continuing development of more sophisticated yacht systems, allowing life aboard to ever more closely resemble life in the apartment ashore, means more garbage is generated aboard, which in turn increases the pressure for its immediate disposal.

David.
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roserita View Post
Glass stays around forever. If it sinks deep, it probably is of little or no consequence. The "half life" of plastic, is a long time. Some plastic breaks down by the suns' UV rays, but what it breaks down to, I am not sure. It can't be a good thing.

The saddest part is, who cleans this up. Likely nobody as it would be a big expense, with no monetary return, simply a cleaner, healthier, more natural earth. I fear it will get out of control, if it is not already, before we must respond in some fashion. Whom, when and how, I don't know.

The reason I ask was timing, a series of trash and debris related topics that I read and heard.

Rr
Hi Rose,

A few years ago I sailed past what can only be described as a "river" of trash in the middle of the the South China Sea. We were over 100 miles from land, and it took us most of eight hours to sail past it - call it 40 miles long. It contained hundreds of floating plastic bottles, and at least two refrigerators, along with an endless variety of other floating garbage. There hadn't been any major floods, or other disasters in the area, so I have no idea where it all came from. Our speculation at the time was a garbage barge had dumped its load there - but it might have been a collection of refuse due to currents as your friend suggested (although it was gone when I sailed through the same area in April of this year.)

I wouldn't be too worried about glass bottles - since glass is just sand with an attitude. Tin and aluminum cans break down in salt water faster than you would believe, and the "salt" in sea water has a high percentage of Aluminum in it anyway - so we aren't changing much there. But plastic bags break up into CFC's and hydrocarbons when the UV rays get to them - don't know which is worse the plastic bags or a depleted ozone layer. Plastic bottles... who knows how long it would take them to break down...
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:47 PM   #10
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You were NOT told a story- it's called the "garbage patch" and it sits in the western end of the Pacific sub tropical gyre.

An interesting read about some things that happen out there is here-

http://beachcombersalert.org/RubberDuckies.html
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:56 PM   #11
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The stories of floating plastic rubbish don't surprise me but the floating "refrigerators" do
Refrigerators and freezers float like corks- at least for a while. We transited the entire Gulf Coast via ICW after Katrina. You would be amazed at the number of refrigerators and freezers we saw washed up along the banks, MILES from any habitation that we could see. DOZENS of them.

Remember- they usually have one piece plastic interiors and much insulation. Landed in just the right position, they'd make pretty fair boats, with sealed doors too.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:27 AM   #12
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Does anybody know what cities in the world does not have a dump and take their trash to the sea to dump?

Does New York City still do it?

How does this compare to the boaters?
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Old 07-22-2007, 06:36 AM   #13
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New York City trucks most of there trash to Pen and Ohio. Only 15% IS said to be put out to sea.

I know for a fact Barges are loaded off the Mississippi River from St Louis and Memphis with a large crane type machine to boot. This barge is hooked to about 9 other barges and taken out to sea.

I have chatted with barge operators fromk Alton Illinois. They are very open about what they do with it.

They take it out to sea and "get rid of it".
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Refrigerators and freezers float like corks
This I can confirm.

I remember when sailing on the Clyde many years ago seeing a box freezer on a broad reach. With a good freeboard it was making about 1 knot through the water.

Aye

Stephen
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