Sailing around, looking for debris, cleaning the sea
Yesterday was only day 1 on my journey with The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean and it’s already the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I’m going to be sailing around the Gulf of Maine for 2 weeks aboard a 60 foot sailboat, getting all kinds of dirty with marine debris research… and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.
This organization is run by the most passionate sailor/conservationist/dreamer and do-er I have ever met (and probably will ever meet). She, her husband, their two dogs, and the Rozalia Project team, are making ground-breaking strides toward bettering our ocean environment and I would love to share some of our news with you, so please, please, please stay tuned in. I promise Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix can wait. : )
The heart behind this non profit group is a new feeling to me… it’s proof that someone really cares about physically taking care of our marine environment as much as I do. What they do exactly is run ocean expeditions on this environmentally clean and gorgeous sea-worthy sailing research vessel, the American Promise. What the hell do they do with this big ol’ ship? They use cutting-edge technology to study threats to our marine environment in REAL TIME… no bull caca. More importantly, they aren’t just going out and recording data on marine issues, they are actually collaborating with inspirational organizations, and working toward innovations in how we can more effectively restore our oceans such as with their Baleen Basker (which I’m about to have a chance to use)!
The Baleen Basker is designed to be a low by-catch, high efficiency net that can ultimately be used behind fishing vessels to capture pollution in the upper portions of the water column. They are the only organization to use ROV’s to study marine debris on the ocean floor… and I’m currently sitting 4 feet from the same ROV used by CNN to document some of the BP Oil Spill. If you have any access to television at all, I’m sure you saw those horrific videos back in 2010… and as horrible as they are, the fact that we were able to see what was going on at those depths is quite spectacular.
The Rozalia Project is the first group to study marine debris throughout the ENTIRE water column, and is the only organization I know that is now utilizing DRONE technology to study potential clean up areas, both off shore and in urban and coastal zones. The results from the drone work will allow for optimized restoration efforts where we can get directly to the prime sources of debris before they make it back off shore with the tide. The most stand-out characteristic of the Rozalia Project is that they focus on the land-sea interface of marine debris rather than the whole “clean up-the-gyres” fad, and this tactic opens up a world of opportunity for change through localized initiatives.
But… back to the American Promise.
The American Promise is a 60 foot sailboat that a bad mamajama named Dodge Morgan sailed around the world in 1986. Oh yeah, and he was completely SOLO. She was then used as a training vessel at the United States Naval Academy until she was purchased for The Rozalia Project. For a taste of what kind of science we’re capable of on this lovely ship, here’s an excerpt that I’ve taken from the Rozalia Project website… to get the whole kit and caboodle, I recommend checking it out for yourself.
“American Promise is packed full of ocean-protecting technology: she has 2 VideoRay ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) capable of diving down to 1000ft, equipped with a Blueview imaging sonar, manipulator arm, Tritech’s Starfish sidescan sonar for imaging the ocean floor, KCF Smart Tether for positioning underwater, and a Lynn box for making fuzzy video images sharp, plus two neuston nets for surface tows, several dip nets, a Ponar sediment grab, an electronic microscope, and plenty of workspace.”
Additionally, we used a new drone yesterday to capture footage of a shoreline area before we did a quick and hefty (>300 pieces of litter) beach clean-up. As I am sitting here to write this, the rest of the crew is actually going over the footage the footage from our first flight and planning our next project.
Overall, I couldn’t be more ecstatic to be TACKLING marine debris with this organization. I am absolutely stoked to be included in Expedition RESTORE, one of 3 expeditions this summer aboard American Promise, and I can’t wait to share all of my photos and videos with you all to spread the word. Tonight I hope to update you all again, after we sail to the Isles of Shoals and do a little ROV work, but there’s a 90/10 chance that I will NOT have internet.
Wahooo!!!! Clean oceans!