science organization offering rides on research voyage
Environmentalists, researchers and adventure-seekers
are being offered the rare opportunity to join one of the world’s
leading marine research organizations for its next high-seas
expedition in search of plastic ocean pollution.
Algalita Marine Research Foundation, based in Long Beach, California,
has 10 open spaces on this eco-adventure, a 20 day voyage from
Honolulu, Hawaii to Vancouver, B.C. through the North Pacific
Gyre. The July 7-27 trip, aboard a 72 foot racing sloop owned
by Algalita’s partner, Pangaea Explorations, will give participants
a direct role in advancing research into one of our time’s most
pressing environmental concerns.
A gyre is a vortex of ocean currents where plastic debris accumulates.
This detritus – cigarette lighters, bottle caps, toys – can kill
seabirds and marine mammals that die of starvation, their bellies
full of plastic mistaken for food. Smaller plastic pieces, which
can act as magnets for carcinogens like DDT at sea, have been
found in fish stomachs. On this voyage, Algalita will further
its research into these issues.
“We’ll be looking for changes in the accumulation of plastic
in the North Pacific Gyre,” says Marcus Eriksen, who will lead
the trip’s research as Algalita’s director of project development.
Algalita started studying the North Pacific Gyre in 1999, when
Founder Captain Charles Moore first put the plastic pollution
issue on the map. A portion of the voyage’s $10,000 per-person
fare is tax deductible. Net proceeds will help support Algalita’s
scientific research and educational outreach.
A total of only 14 people will be on board the ship, Sea Dragon,
including 4 professional crewmembers. Paying participants will
take part in all aspects of the expedition, from operating a
trawl to collecting micro-plastic bits to hauling aboard larger
items found thousands of miles off shore.
Participants will also help to sail and maintain the ship, stand
watch during the night, even cook, as they voyage far from land
for days. Teamwork is a must. Participants must also be able
to lift one-third their body weight.