For those who wish to boldly go where just a handful of researchers has gone before, the Algalita Marine Research Foundation is now offering tickets to visit the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre.
In collaboration with Pangaea Explorations, a team of Algalita researchers will embark on a three week long scientific voyage through the Pacific Trash Vortex, a gyre of marine litter located roughly between 135° to 155°W to 42°N.
“We’ll be looking for changes in the accumulation of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre,” says Marcus Eriksen, who will lead the expedition’s research as Algalita’s Director of Project Development. “We suspect there’s greater accumulation, which means more harm to sea life and potentially to humans.”
The cost of each ticket is $10 000, and the net proceeds will be used to fund Algalita’s scientific research and educational outreach.
And even though you’re coughing up $10 000 for your fare, don’t expect a leisure cruise. The Sea Dragon, Pangaea’s 72-foot racing sloop, only have enough room for 14 people, including 4 professional crew members, and guests will be expected to help sail and maintain the vessel, stand watch during the night and cook up some hearty meals in the galley. To be considered for a spot on the Sea Dragon you must be fit enough to pull lines, raise sails and lift 1/3 of your weight. You must also be willing to get some very hands-on experience from garbage sorting.
“On this voyage, you’ll earn your sea legs and rough hands hauling in lines and hoisting sails, but you’ll also be “doing the science” side-by-side with researchers,” says Eriksen. “You’ll need to be fit as you prepare to trawl the sea, sort plastic, preserve samples and catalog it all.”
The ship leaves Hawaii on July 7 2011 and is expected to land in Vancouver on July 27.
To find out more and purchase your ticket, go to http://www.algalita.org/research/NorthPacificGyreVoyage.html