Australian Sailor Sees Devastated Ocean in Trans-Pacific Voyage

By on October 21, 2013 in Surfing with 0 Comments
Ivan Macfadyen aboard the Funnel Web

Ivan Macfadyen aboard the Funnel Web

On a recent voyage rom Australia to Japan to the United States, Aussie sailor Ivan MacFayden, witnessed what he believes to be a now “broken Ocean.” Citing a combination of lack of fish due to overfishing, massive amounts of debris, garbage and plastic — much of it from the 2011 Japan Tsunami — and radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, MacFayden fears the Pacific Ocean is in dire straights. He bases his conclusion against similar observations he took on the same crossing 10 years ago. That trip saw an abundance of sea-life and little in the way of flotsam and jetsam. It’s a harrowing tale and an ominous report card on the health of Mother Nature. Here’s two excerpts.

Exactly 10 years before, when Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen had sailed exactly the same course from Melbourne to Osaka, all he’d had to do to catch a fish from the ocean between Brisbane and Japan was throw out a baited line.

“There was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn’t catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice,” Macfadyen recalled.

But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two. No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all.

And another…

In place of the missing life was garbage in astounding volumes.

“Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea. And it’s still out there, everywhere you look.”

“In a lot of places we couldn’t start our motor for fear of entangling the propeller in the mass of pieces of rope and cable. That’s an unheard of situation, out in the ocean.

Plastic was ubiquitous. Bottles, bags and every kind of throwaway domestic item you can imagine, from broken chairs to dustpans, toys and utensils.

And something else. The boat’s vivid yellow paint job, never faded by sun or sea in years gone past, reacted with something in the water off Japan, losing its sheen in a strange and unprecedented way.

“The ocean is broken,” he said, shaking his head in stunned disbelief.


Read the whole article at the Newcastle Herald.

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