Widgets Two Men Cross Pacific on 15,000 Plastic Soda Bottles

Two Men Cross Pacific on 15,000 Plastic Soda Bottles

©Peter Bennett/Ambient Images (from JUNK blog)   

©Peter Bennett/Ambient Images (from JUNK blog)

This is JUNK, a homebrew boat made of recycled materials, proven in an ocean crossing.  Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal have crossed the Pacific ocean on a raft whose flotation uses the bottle-in-net floatation technique.  In fact, there are 6 individual 30 ft pontoons, lashed together with aluminum masts.  Perched on top is the fuselage of a Cessna airplane as the cabin.  It is square rigged and makes about 2 knots.

Over the summer of 2008, the team of two, with land support by Anna Cummins and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, cruised about 50 miles a day to cross the pacific between California and Hawaii.   The impressive voyage, appropriately named Message in a Bottle, was taken up to raise awareness of the insane amounts of plastic trash growing in the Pacific ocean and all oceans.  In particular, the massive swirling currents of the Pacific, have concentrated the trash in the North Pacific Gyre north of Hawaii.  This phenomena is well documented in Alan Weisman’s book, The World Without Us. You can even read the relevant chapter 9 for free here.

Besides combating the problem of plastics in the ocean, these guys pulled off quite a voyage along this path.  While they scheduled their departure to minimize exposure to hurricanes, if they had been caught in a serious in storm, I expect they would have been done for.  In reply to what they would do in a major storm, “if one hits, our only choice is to hold on till it blows over.”  Eek.  I think my favorite story of their trip was meeting up with Roz Savage rowing alone across the ocean!  Savage was on the first leg of a three stage voyage to be first woman to ever row across the pacific alone, California to Australia.  I love the image of these intrepid adventurers sharing dinner and stories out in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

This is not the end of Message in a Bottle. In her Bio, Anna Cummins state that she and Marcus will be riding from Vancouver, Canada to Mexico on … Amphibious Bikes!  Hopefully more to come.

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