(Jon Amtrup) Out on his Atlantic row for 16 days now, Erden Eruc has come across a bloom of millions of tiny transparent creatures, similar to ones he found in the North Atlantic. He wonders what they are:
"Today I passed by streaks of brown colored water. At first I thought these were oil streaks extending downwind. Just during the first week of October, a tanker had run aground in South Africa, leaking oil all over an island which had been a sanctuary for penguins, seals and birds."
"I was at Barrels in L?eritz, listening to Diane Metzger sing and chatting with Jean Paul Roux and his wife when the bad news arrived. She had her favorite t-shirt on with "COASTODIAN" written across its chest. As two marine scientists familiar with the declining numbers of the African Penguin a.k.a. jackass penguin (they sound like donkeys), they were in disbelief, shaking their heads: 'how can a ship not avoid an island, a protected one at that!'"
"Closer inspection revealed these brown streaks to be a bloom of millions of tiny transparent creatures. Like jellyfish, they had a transparent membrane, were full of clear water with brown colored internal organs clumped together inside."
"I took a sample liter of water with my plastic container scoring perhaps 15 of them in one try. I carefully drained the water, keeping the creatures back with my spoon, then continued spooning off the top. Eventually I had the creatures clearly visible, all looking as identical blobs of 15 mm by 5 mm, about 2 mm thick. There was one swimmer among them, a different creature, about 1.5 to 2 mm long, curling into a crescent shape then straightening, darting about in the water, perhaps a small shrimp variety."
"I had seen a similar bloblike creature in the North Atlantic as well. Up there they had a dark blue circulatory system identifiable, a tiny blue spherical heart throbbing with a hue of blue like faint ink visible down their center. The brown clump in the variety here is the same color as I am used to seeing in larger jellyfish. These blobs often wash up on my deck when water gets past the scuppers... "
"So I wonder if these are baby jellyfish or a type of plankton... or something else? What about the one in the North Atlantic?"
"Your input will be appreciated."
Since 2009 Turkish born American resident Erden Eruc walks, bicycles, kayaks, climbs and rows the world. He took the record for the longest time by a single-handed ocean rower, used to belong to Peter Bird (304 days), off the coast of the Philippines and crossed the Indian Ocean from Australia via Madagaskar. He cycled across the African continent and summited Kilimanjaro with his 78 year old father and wife Nancy along the way.
Erden Eruc intends to eventually make his way back to San Francisco in a human-powered world circumnavigation that will also include a climb of 6 summits.
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