Sailor's Discovery: 'The Ocean Is Dead'
Yachtsman shares ominous tale
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2013 8:26 AM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2013 7:03 AM CDT
This image provided by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows a patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/ Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Mario Aguilera)

(Newser) – As far as first-person tales go, Ivan Macfadyen's story of sailing from Melbourne to San Francisco is more than a little ominous. The yachtsman's springtime voyage was broken into two legs, with a stop in Osaka in the middle; it's a trip he made 10 years ago, but one that seemed unrecognizable this time around. A decade ago, seabirds and fish surrounded the boat; this time, the air was empty, and in the 28 days it took to get to Japan, he caught just two fish. But he was not alone: A large fishing boat made contact, handing him "five big sugar-bags full of fish," he tells the Newscastle Herald. "They were good, big fish," but much more than Macfadyen could eat or store. The fishermen explained they wanted only tuna; all the other dead by-catch was returned to the sea.

"They just trawled that reef day and night and stripped it of every living thing." And that isn't the low-point of his story. After departing from Osaka, "it felt as if the ocean itself was dead." What he didn't see: the birds, sharks, dolphins, and fish that typically studded his voyage. What he did: an "unbelievable" load of garbage, part of it propelled there by the tsunami that hit Japan. He sailed through oil slicks, broken chairs, toys, wooden power poles, and a factory chimney. There was so much garbage, that "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." Read his story in full here.

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Showing 3 of 107 comments
Baxtron
Oct 26, 2013 12:32 PM CDT
this garbage was there years before the tsunami. good cover though. easily digested by the Big Brother Tea Party.
Ribit
Oct 26, 2013 8:53 AM CDT
Did you notice that the only photo accompanying the story is from 2009? This "tale" is based on the uncorroborated account of a single individual. It starts out with commentary about fishing and somehow moves to junk floating all over the place - but not one photo to back it up. Call me skeptical.
Pharaoh_on_earth
Oct 24, 2013 12:11 AM CDT
Let's quit our jobs. Sail around the world and have Moma and Dad pay the bills,