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The start of our journey

The ship heaved the anchor and left the bay of Cascais. Thirty eight guests on board are joining to Tenerife, in the Atlantic Ocean. Some guests have been on board since Scheveningen in the Netherlands, and some will stay on till Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Twenty crew members ensure safe passage, delicious catering, and an extra research and awareness program centred around plastics and plankton.

Heading out into the ‘big pond’ - the Atlantic Ocean - around 3pm the signal on our phones died, forcing us to leave our lives and the people on land behind. Immediately life’s pace slows down. No more phones and laptops. The coming nine days it’ll be just the ship, the ocean, the elements and our fellow passengers.

The ocean welcomed us whole-heartedly. On the first day we had six sightings of different whales and pods of dolphins. We had dolphins in front of the bow and Fin Whales coming up for air, using their blowholes like they were greeting us and then diving deep. That’s an experience that can’t be compared to anything we (humans) have created. I still haven’t figured out what it is that makes us feel so excited, thankful and alive witnessing these creatures in their natural habitat. In the darkness of the night the visiting dolphins spectacularly lit up by the bioluminescence. So far we’ve had smooth waters, leading the captain to stop the ship in the middle of the nowhere inviting us all to have a swim. From left and right, people jumped from the railings and bowsprit. It was a great sight to see everybody enjoy themselves in the calm, beautifully deep blue waters, which stretched out five kilometers beneath us. And when I say middle of nowhere, I mean middle of nowhere: between our ship and the horizon we saw no other manmade interference like ships, planes or oil platforms.

In the evening, we celebrated the birthday of voyage crew Julius and plankton researcher Marcus. The cooks produced four delicious cakes, including candles and decoration. Julius and Marcus celebrated another year on this planet with a ship full of strangers against a backdrop of a setting sun over the Atlantic Ocean. Tomorrow, we organize a plastics quiz and Marcus will do more trawling.

Geschreven door:
Karl Beerenfenger | Research team, Bark EUROPA

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