Day 39: Sampling, weather, dolphins and a turtle!

Today I took one of my water samples for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. Each sample needs to be a full litre, and we have been given special bottles to use for sampling. As well as taking the sample itself and labelling it, I need to fill in a form with as much data as possible, including the wind speed and direction at the time of sampling. Once back on shore I will send off all the samples I’ve taken to be tested for microplastics (the tiny, insidious particles into which plastic pollution breaks down).

Microplastic Sampling
Microplastic Sampling

I’ve been noticing that I’m either more sensitive to the weather out here than I usually am, or I’m just more aware of it because there are so few other influences/stimuli. Yesterday was a really close, brooding sort of day, overcast and hot. All day I had a bad headache. A little rain came along late afternoon, clearing the sky and the atmosphere, and with it my headache, leaving behind a fresh, brilliant evening of bright sunshine. Looking back through my log book last night, I noticed that this is the third time I’ve had a bad headache since I’ve been out here; each time the weather has been similar, and each time the headache has cleared with the freshening weather. Maybe it’s coincidence, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Fishy updates:

– Yesterday evening after the sun came out I heard a splashing sound and looked around to see that I was being approached by about eight bottlenose dolphins. They came right up to Darien, and swam under and around us for quite a few minutes before continuing on their way.

– Just as I was having my lunch today I saw something to Darien’s stern, very near the rudder. Looking closer, I saw it was a turtle! It hung around all through lunch, watching me and splashing about. Although I’ve seen turtles at sea before (when I’ve been diving), it seemed really unexpected and out of place today, hundreds of miles away from land and swimming about on the surface all alone. I said goodbye after lunch and we went our separate ways.

5 thoughts on “Day 39: Sampling, weather, dolphins and a turtle!

  1. Nice to see you looking relaxed and cheerful in sunny conditions! Loving the accounts of the fish and creatures you are meeting – I have a special affinity for turtles so extra nice to read about that one. The water sampling results will be interesting in due course. Hope your headaches fade away quickly. Have a good day! xxx


  2. Hello, turtle! That’s neat to see, and the dolphins. Lovely! Great that you’re doing your part for plastic pollution monitoring. Interesting what happens when the human-made stimuli of our built environment fade away, what awarenesses become possible, isn’t it? I recall backpacking for three days in the Tetons, alone, before the radio in my head finally gave it a rest and I could hear the birds. Maybe you’re on to what all the grannies in the world claim about the weather influencing their knees. Congratulations again for how far you’ve come, and logging the most miles rowed of anyone out there. Fair winds to you today.
    — Kate


  3. Looks like the weather is being kinder to you. Thank you for showing us how you collect your water samples and telling us about wildlife.

    Your headache could be a dehydration headache caused by warmer weather that disappears when it rains. I usually get stiff shoulders long before I feel thirsty when hiking – I’d I’m not even using my muscles to row!

    Enjoy your landing place – I once took a bus down Baja California and had a great trip – so hope your adventure gets better and better.


  4. Great to see you in the sun with a calm sea. In my imagination I only see you in grey wave swept sea. Its been very hot and humid here, then last night the clouds changed with very interesting formations and colours. Then suddenly there was this amazing wind which seemed to come from nowhere and I was thinking of how it must be for you out on the ocean.
    I have a sweet story about turtles which I will tell you when I next see you.
    Loads of love,
    Christina x


  5. Thanks for taking the extra time to collect samples, Elsa! You’ve been an inspiration to us here at Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. We’re cheering for you as you complete your row, and looking forward to connecting once you’re on dry land.

    -Emily Wolfe, ASC


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