Bermuda touchdown and the Sargasso Sea
The Bermuda Triangle holds a different definition in each of our minds. It’s a vortex of wild weather, a mysterious energy field, or simply a remote place to dramatize the sinking of ships from centuries past. In truth, no single answer exists. Rather it is a collection of various forces at work, much like the many aspects of life. Humans have a dynamic way of shifting through the peaks and troughs of times inevitable progression. I was reminded of this when we touched down on the small island of Bermuda.
The air felt rich and playful, hanging heavy with suspense for its next move. The cool breeze swept the length of the 22 mile island in a matter of minutes, and moments later, the rustled trees fell hushed. An island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, it exists not as a typical Caribbean island. The Sargasso Sea moves around Bermuda and expands endlessly in all directions. As a territory of the United Kingdom, Bermuda has approx 138 islands that are volcanic in origin with limestone caps, though most are extremely tiny and uninhabited. The mainland is comprised of 7 larger islands, each linked by bridges. As you drive the narrow and windy streets, your eyes steadily search for stretches through the lush hills that open long enough to glimpse the shimmering shores. The ocean water shines in light green and aqua hues. The calmness of the people emanates through the crowded villages as their smiles seem to extend beyond their faces. There is a kindness and helpfulness about the people that continues to surprise me. Alas, we are finally standing on solid ground to begin filming for Phase III: Plastic Pollution and the Sargasso Sea.
However underneath Bermuda’s beautiful color pallet and vibrant population lies a dark secret. Washed up on every shore is the result of human production, consumption, and the plastic permanence of everyday items from across the globe. This project will focus on the topic of marine debris and the uniqueness of the Sargasso Sea. Named after the rafts of floating golden Sargassum algae, the Sargasso Sea is an enormous expanse of slowly rotating water encircled by the ocean currents of the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. It exists as an incredible ecological habitat for a diversity of species as the Sargassum mats prove a place to rest, feed and breed. Sargassum is the world’s only completely floating and free-living large algae. There are over 150 invertebrate species that live within the Sargassum, and many of them have evolved to blend in seamlessly with the bright golden algae which they depend upon.
The unique positioning of the Sargasso Sea includes the North Atlantic Trash Gyre. The gyres current has a whirlpool effect, collecting large amounts of marine debris over time. Everyday, an estimated 60 tons of plastic waste ends up in our oceans, mostly from land based activities. Over the next few months, we will investigate the effects of marine debris on this diverse ecosystem, capturing footage of humpback whales, pelagic fish, Sargassum, and trash laden beaches. Stay tuned as we jump into the deep blue Sargasso Sea and North Atlantic Trash Gyre.