‘The Ocean is broken and dead’; the sad story of a sailor and the aftermath of Fukushima
Recently, the story of Ivan Macfadyen's who sailed from Melbourne to San Francisco was published all over the social media. Macfadyen made the same trip that he made 10 years ago across the Pacific Ocean, but this time, the Pacific wasn’t as blue and lively as he remembered previously.
10 years ago, Macfadyen’s boat was surrounded with fish and seabirds, but this time, the air was empty and he only caught two fish in the 28 days that it took him to get to Japan.
"Last time, there was not one of the 28 days on that portion of the trip when we didn't catch a good-sized fish to cook up and eat with some rice," Macfadyen said. “But this time, on that whole long leg of sea journey, the total catch was two. No fish. No birds. Hardly a sign of life at all. In years gone by I'd gotten used to all the birds and their noises," he said. "They'd be following the boat, sometimes resting on the mast before taking off again. You'd see flocks of them wheeling over the surface of the sea in the distance, feeding on pilchards."
During the 28 days of his trip to Japan, Macfadyen approached a speedboat that offered him and his brother, five big sugar-bags full of fish. "They were good, big fish, of all kinds. Some were fresh, but others had obviously been in the sun for a while” Macfadyen said. "We told them there was no way we could possibly use all those fish. There were just two of us, with no real place to store or keep them. They just shrugged and told us to tip them overboard. That's what they would have done with them anyway, they said.
The crew on the fishing boat told Macfadyen that they were only interested in tuna and everything else was rubbish to them, so whatever else that was killed, was all dumped back to the ocean.
Macfadyen felt so sick to his heart since he realized that they were only one out of countless number of fishing boats that were doing exactly the same thing. No wonder why the ocean was dead and broke and nothing else was left to catch.
Macfadyen felt that after he left Japan, the ocean itself was dead. "We hardly saw any living things. We saw one whale, sort of rolling helplessly on the surface with what looked like a big tumor on its head. It was pretty sickening.” said Macfadyen. "I've done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I'm used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3000 nautical miles there was nothing alive to be seen."
However, instead of a life that was missing in the ocean, Macfadyen saw large volumes of garbage floating everywhere. "Part of it was the aftermath of the tsunami that hit Japan a couple of years ago. The wave came in over the land, picked up an unbelievable load of stuff and carried it out to sea. And it's still out there, everywhere you look….The huge tangles of synthetic rope, fishing lines and nets, pieces of polystyrene foam by the million, and slicks of oil and petrol, everywhere.”
Macfadyen motioned how in all the years that he travelled, all he had to do was to start his engine and motor on, but this year, he couldn’t start his motor for fear of entangling the propeller with mass pieces of rope and cable.
"We saw a factory chimney sticking out of the water, with some kind of boiler thing still attached below the surface. We saw a big container-type thing, just rolling over and over on the waves.” Macfadyen said. “Below decks you were constantly hearing things hitting against the hull, and you were constantly afraid of hitting something really big. As it was, the hull was scratched and dented all over the place from bits and pieces we never saw."
All Macfadyen could see was large volumes of plastic, bottles, bags, broken chairs, toys and utensil all over the ocean. He also noticed that the yellow paint job on the boat that never faded by sun or sea in the past years, reacted with something in the water of Japan and lost its sheen in a strange and unprecedented way.
The shock and the horror of seeing the ocean, dead and empty follows Macfadyen every single day. He also noticed that no government or organization appears to show any particular interests in doing something about the Fukushima disaster. When Macfadyen asked the authorities why we don’t push for a fleet to go and clean up the mess, he was told that the environmental damage from burning the fuel to do that job would be worse than just leaving the debris there.
Here is an informative article by GreenMedInfo on how The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/28-signs-west-coast-being-absolutely-fried-nuclear-radiation-fukushima