David de Rothschild: Voyage of the Plastiki A Megatransect of the Pacific

In the case of the Plastiki, we wanted to raise awareness of the challenges our oceans and its inhabitants face by creating an expedition that reaches across the whole of the Pacific, from San Francisco Bay to Sydney Harbour. It would be short-sighted of us to solely focus on the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch. I wanted to place it within the context of the whole of the Pacific Ocean. This expedition will give us a platform to explore and highlight a number of the issues, such as the sinking islands of Tuvalu, the effects of mass pollution due to sub-water testing of nuclear armament and coral bleaching. We also want to tell positive stories about communities who are learning alternative ways of creating income now that the fisheries have been closed due to over-fishing.

Through this megatransect, this journey, we hope to captivate, inspire, and activate people to connect and share in the wonders across the whole of the Pacific and share with us in witnessing the overwhelming effects of global warming on ecosystems and our planets inhabitants.

The whole journey will be about gathering information by using a combination of visual media and scientific data to map and measure ecological conditions along the entire route. We will be taking daily scientific readings including wind directions, water temperature and water samples as well as shooting lots of underwater photography and footage, which will hopefully not only provide valuable measured data on environmental trends but also chart and create a story across the Pacific. 

Our highlights will be the combination of the planned stops and the unknowns. From previous experience I have found that during an expedition what you expect is often not what you get and, where you have to try to plan for the unexpected, it is often the moments that come totally out of the blue that create the highlights either emotionally, physically or mentally. It’s those unexpected challenges that make an exciting expedition.

David de Rothschild, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and founder of Adventure Ecology, will depart in March 2009 on a 7,500-mile voyage from San Francisco to Sydney (see the route map) in a boat made of plastic bottles. Find out more about the expedition in a feature article by Contributing Editor Paul Kvinta ("Voyage of the Plastiki," October 2008 issue of ADVENTURE). Check in here for de Rothschild's dispatches.

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