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Jon T. Howard: Blog

I headed to the airport before the crack of dawn on Thursday January 21st. After making my way through customs, I departed Bermuda in route to Miami just as the sun was rising to begin a long day of travel back to Los Angeles. As the American Airlines plane lifted into the new day I could see the Sea Dragon docked in the bay and I was suddenly hit with the reality that I was heading home. It was a great trip of scientific discovery, new friendships and truly an experience of a lifetime. I realized during my flight as I started to wade through some of the photos and video I had shot that my work was just beginning. In all I shot about 10 hours of video that I will need to edit and at least 2000 photos that I plan to use for exposure in the press and media to bring more awareness to the situation. I am also planning on making some educational videos and a power point presentation to use at schools. I feel honored that EcoUsable http://www.ecousable.com/ believed it was important for me to [...]
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I've been spending the last the few days getting caught up in Bermuda and staying active with the Sea Dragon crew working on various projects. I got in a good long run along the coast which was absolutely picturesque. I also checked out some old forts and even collected 16 bottles for my Running For Mother Nature Campaign. It doesn't matter where I run there are always bottles and cans along the way. Yesterday I had finally had access to a computer long enough to add some photos to the past blogs so please check them out when you get a chance. I will be adding video once I get back stateside in the next few days. Last night we invited some of our gracious hosts from Bermuda to a big crew BBQ with some local Speckled Hind fish, polenta and cold beer from Portugal. We all finally had a moment to really relax and just hang out for a while. This morning we were picked up early by a local dive expert named JP Skinner who is from the Bermuda Institute of Oceanograhpy. We all loaded unto his fishing [...]
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We reached landfall at approximately 8:30 am on 1/17/2010... It was a beautiful serene sunrise with very calm conditions as the Sea Dragon cruised into the port of Bermunda. After 9 days out in the North Atlantic Ocean it was great to step off the boat and feel the ground again though I must admit I really always felt extremely comfortable on the boat regardless of conditions. We were allowed to go take a walk around the town of St. George to grab some breakfast and coffee but expected to be back to the Sea Dragon to do a complete cleaning of the boat. Sightseeing would have to wait until later. It is amazing how dirty it got but with 9 people living in very tight quarters for the last 12 it was hardly shocking. Everyone was assigned a cleaning duty and off we went like bees to get it all done. I was in charge of wiping all white surfaces and rinsing the deck after we all scrubbed it with soap and brushes. The great thing about our captain Clive Cosby www.highperformancedevelopment.co.uk/teamprofiles/clive_cosby.php [...]
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It is a calm beautiful night and even though it is cool up on deck, the stars are crystal clear and it feels very exhilarating to take it all in. We are listening to some Bob Marley and are just beginning to see the glow of Bermuda far off in the distance on the Sea Dragon’s port side. This is our 8th day out in the North Atlantic Gyre and it has been a very productive day of gathering evidence of plastic pollution. The further north we have trawled the more plastic we have continued to find. We are now about 50 miles south of Bermuda and planning on arriving there around 8 am on Sunday January 17th. We spent today doing 3 hour trawls every 50 miles with Anna and Marcus’s goal of getting 20 completed by the time we reach Bermuda. Along the way we happened upon another large Windrow where the Sargasso Sea weed was very dense and there was plastic mixed in throughout everywhere we could see. Large, small and tiny pieces of plastic every shape and color were fished out while we filmed [...]
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I spent last night’s shift completely layered up with fleece and covered with my foul weather gear from head to toe. We were using the engine to push north due to the winds being so unfavorable. The winds were 20-30 knots from the north creating conditions that forced us to head directly into the swells. The Sea Dragon usually rocks side to side but we spent 12 hours through the night consistently rocking forward to back which caused quite a few of the crew to get sick. The temperature has dropped considerably in the last few days and it was a cold crisp night for stargazing. Waves breaking over the bow provided a constant spray of salty sea water that you never quite get used to. Staying warm and dry are the keys because even though the conditions were pretty poor I really enjoyed being up on deck. The first mate, John Wright, and I had a constellation chart we used to pass the hours while we pounded through the night. It is a very exile rating feeling unlike anything I have ever experienced. [...]
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