Captain Moore and Crew Return from
4th Alguita Voyage to the North Central Pacific Gyre
August 15, 2005
In the early hours of Monday, August 15, 2005 Captain Charles Moore piloted the Algalita Marine Research Foundation's chartered research vessel, the ORV Alguita, into the Long Beach Yacht
Club after nearly three weeks at sea. Alguita left Long Beach on Friday, July 22 for her fourth trip to the North Central Pacific Gyre to collect plankton and debris samples to be analyzed
for the presence of plastic and other pollutants.
Joining Captain Moore on this trip were First Mate Austin Brown; Dr. Marcus Eriksen, AMRF Education Specialist; Ian Connacher, Canadian videographer; Jody Lemmon, underwater videographer;
and Laurie Harvey, seabird ecologist.
The purpose of this fourth voyage to the gyre was to collect samples from some of the same areas of the Pacific Ocean from which AMRF collected samples in 1999, 2000, and 2002, to add to
the AMRF database and to compare with results from the earlier voyages to determine whether the presence of plastic in the water has increased, decreased, or remained stable. Samples will
be analyzed for chemical content by Dr. Lorena Rios at the University of the Pacific and by CRG Laboratories in Torrance, California, and for plastic content by the AMRF laboratory in Redondo
Beach, California. From crew eyewitness reports it appears that plastic-- ranging in size from large fishing floats and nets to tiny, colorful fragments of plastic resembling confetti in the
water--was visible everywhere. According to Austin Brown, who also crewed on the 2002 voyage, "I would have to say the plastic plague is getting worse...It seemed that the plastic fragments
were denser everywhere." The crew collected the results of 42 manta trawls, plus 110 pieces of flotsam, fishing floats, and pieces of fishing line.
A unique feature of this trip was that,
in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), AMRF deployed the first-ever group of satellite tracking devices designed to monitor the way ghostnets and other
large debris move around in the ocean. The crew were charged with the responsibility of attaching satellite tags to the four largest pieces of floating plastic or fishing nets they encountered,
which they did successfully. On August 9, as Alguita was making her way back home, Dave Foley at NOAA, AMRF's contact on the satellite tagging mission, emailed to Captain Moore, "A fine
job indeed, sir. The Ghostnet Program is indebted to the Master and Crew of the ORV Alguita. You have deployed the first wave of drifters designed to help us understand how this rubbish moves
around the ocean. We are monitoring their paths, and will continue to keep you updated with respect to both their positions and the conclusions we draw concerning the influence of environmental
conditions on those movements. On behalf of the Project Team I send my sincere thanks and very best regards." For more information on NOAA GhostNet 2005 Project visit www.highseasghost.net.
AMRF welcomes the Captain and crew of the ORV Alguita back home from their important mission. Plans are already underway for the next Voyage around the entire North Central Pacific Gyre
which will take place in 2007-2008 and will cover a much larger area than the 2005 Voyage covered.
Crew Accounts from 2005 Pacific Gyre Voyage
Click on a crew member's name below to read their first-hand voyage report.