Here I am looking super tough in my heli gear.
The purpose of this heli operation (of course we refer to them as “heli ops,” cuz we’re that cool) was to look for this Japanese ship that is not licensed to fish in the waters of the Cook Islands, but was doing so anyway. We did not find that ship, unfortunately. But we did spot a little yellow buoy floating in the middle of the ocean.

Here’s the buoy. Looks harmless enough, but this could be a marker for a fish aggregating device, a long-line, or some other really destructive fishing gear.

Turned out the buoy was just attached to a line about 15 – 20 meters long, not a FAD or long-line at all. We hauled it up onto the boat and brought it back to the Esperanza anyway, as it was essentially just a piece of trash floating in the ocean.