Thursday, May 19, 2011

March 24 - Bon Voyage Valdivia

Hello to all of the people who may have been waiting patiently to read my account of our research expedition with 5 Gyres, and hello to anyone who may be finding The Daily Ocean for the first time. 
I will be rolling out my acocunt of our trip that started in Valdivia, Chile and ended in Papeete, Tahiti about two weeks ago. We have been home since last Saturday.

Due to my sea sickness on the boat, the limited internet access I came across time and again on our journey, and my desire to fully experience the landscape of our adventure, I decided to recount our tale for you in retrospect. I hope you look forward to following along. I know I am excited to tell the tale. Enjoy and please comment away if you have questions or the like. 


This is the boat docked behind us. Bano is the word in spanish for bathroom and cocina the word for kitchen. I had no idea now much I would miss a stable room for each as we boarded the Sea Dragon on a beautiful sunny morning in late March. 

Not to mention the fact that we had to climb aboard with a monster! The Bag Monster to be specific! Please go to Chico Bag's Facebook Page and show your support. They are being sued by the plastics industry and your show of support would mean a lot to them right now. More on this topic in a post all its own.

Another member of our intrepid crew was Ben Lear. He wrote a folk opera about "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch." You can catch a live show near you soon if you live in the LA or NYC area. I encourage you to check him out. He is a soulful performer with a voice like Ben Gibbard and Neil Young.

You may recognize this guy. He is my husband Garen Baghdasarian who committed the last 16 months to fundraising, grant writing, time-off-taking, and research brainstorming to join our voyage. I am forever grateful that we shared this experience together. 

Paula is from Argentinia and writes for Treehugger. She is beautiful, grounded, smart as hell, and one cool person. What fun to have her aboard!

I'll take you on a quick tour. 

As you carefully walk backwards down the stairs of the boat to go underneath....

you pass the "nav station" or navigational area which looked like the cockpit of a space shuttle to me for longer than I would like to admit. 

Here we have the galley where most sailors with their sea legs got to read, type on a computer, and generally hang out if not on watch.

This is the lab that Garen worked in after taking the readings and water samples he needed from the ocean. It also doubled as a food overflow storage area. Hey, with such limited space you have to get creative. 

Our bunk. But imagine it on an angle of about 45% to be more accurately represented. 

Garen, and my vote for "most valuable crew member" Charlie from Scotland as they put together Garen's CTD (measures data like salinity, temp. and ph) in the forpeat before it got buried in sails and such. 

2 bathrooms. 14 people. Constant movement. You do the imagining. 

I had no idea that I was not going to set foot for at least three days behind the stearing wheel of our 47 ton, steel hulled home due to sea sickness when we left port on that sunny day. And I had no idea that I would go from scared out of my mind to steer, to at times shockingly slack about the post of driver. One illustration of my hard earned level of comfort to come was that you could routinely find us stearing with our feet at dinner time if you were the shift on deck. 

More to come....and very soon!


  1. Sara!!! Awesome to see the post notice come across my Twitter feed. Was starting to think maybe you guys had discovered a little slice of paradise and said to hell with Santa Monica.

    Sounds like the experience of a lifetime -- with all the up's and down's. You're far braver than I. A 2 hour Channel crossing is about all I'm good for, never mind sleeping in a tiny bobbling bunk in the ocean blue for weeks. Hat's off.

    The 5 Gyres blog, etc., has given little snippets of the trip, but I'm eager to read what you saw. Welcome home, glad you're back safe & sound.

  2. HEY! its good to see you!... Everyone looks happy. Been wondering how its been going for all of you...Keep well and can't wait for your next update.

  3. Sara, I'm very excited about seeing the rest of your posts on this adventure. Welcome back. :)

  4. YAY!! Welcome back to land!!! I can imagine the sea sickness... glad you were able to overcome it and enjoy the trip!!

    ...I'm so excited that you're back and going to be sharing your trip! The whole time you were gone, I would scour the 5gyres blog and photos looking for you and Garen!!! Really looking forward to hearing about his research... and, of course, talking to you!!


    P.S.... did you see? I took the plunge and joined twitter! eek! ;)

  5. THANK YOU! What a great feeling to see all 4 of your comments welcoming me back to The Daily Ocean. I am VERY excited to share my stories, and adventures with you. There's a lot of ground to cover. It was wonderful to see comments from all of you.

    thanks again!

  6. Hi Sara, I was delighted to click on this morning and see your first installment. Can't wait to read and see all about the adventure.
    You were missed, by the way. Shortly after you left we had a huge storm and the local beach was littered with the worst layer of plastic seen in years.

    Welcome back! Mary

  7. Welcome back. seeing your blog brings back memories. We are happy to see you back on land and back on line!

  8. Sara,

    welcome back. Can't wait to hear more!


  9. Dean, Mary and Bonnie!!!

    So fabulous to see your comments here. Excited to catch up with all of you. And thanks for taking the time to welcome me back!

    I very much appreciate your comments. It is GREAT to be home.

  10. You are welcome. Let's talk this week if we can. I'm so looking forward to it!!!

  11. Here’s an update on the lawsuit involving ChicoBag. A settlement was reached Sept. 13, 2011. Use this link to view ChicoBag’s press release regarding the settlement