On a passage from Virginia to Maine with Charles, Ed, and Nikolay as crew, we were reminded that DAWN has returned to the northern climes. Lots of jackets and pants and gloves and hats were required during night watches, and the water temperatures dropped into the 40's. The fish that Charles hauled in after a night watch was a bluefish rather than a mahi mahi (or a skipjack tuna, as we finally learned was what I had caught off Georgia).
Off the New Jersey and New York coasts, we watched a finback whale blow and roll a number of times and were joined by several pods of dolphins. The dolphins were enjoying DAWN's plunging through the waves at a good clip by swimming in groups under the bow repeatedly. I saw several roll over as they made the passage showing their bellies to DAWN as they passed beneath her. Charles got some interesting cellphone video of the dolphins at play in the bow wake Dolphins and DAWN
On the very same day that we watched dolphins enjoy our temporary intrusion into their space, I was alarmed to spot a shiny silver, red, and blue floating object coming up on our track. Through the binoculars red rectangles looks like lights blinking on and off. I imagined that we'd found a floating military object or part from a satellite that had re-entered the atmosphere. (lmagination is particularly active in a sleep deprived state.)
I wasn't looking forward to contacting the Coast Guard and having to slow our passage to hover near this thing until someone came to retrieve it. Nonetheless, I altered our course and pulled alongside a sparkling, partially deflated mylar balloon proudly sporting the USA logo. Apparently atmospheric conditions had brought the balloon to the surface where the water caught it
We are careful not to put any plastics in the ocean, even when we are offshore and disposal of most wastes is acceptable, yet here was an artifact of shore life that would likely never degrade in the cool Atlantic waters.
Over the course of that very day, I counted ten mylar balloons in the water along our narrow route. No doubt they were all joyous, then sad, moments in little kids' lives as they celebrated Memorial Day with parents and friends. The balloons were now permanent trash in the homes of the whales, dolphins and fishes.
I've never found the energy for "environmental causes," but I'll likely recount that story and discourage the purchase of mylar balloons by my friends and family.