There’s something romantic about staring out into forever on the high seas.
But there’s nothing romantic about watching pieces of garbage float by in the waves.
Sunshine Coast resident Peter Robson is expecting to see lots of it as he sails the Anduril back from Maui after the Victoria to Maui Yacht Race this month; after all, he will be sailing right through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch during his two- to three-week journey home. It’s an area where there typically isn’t much wind, so Peter says he’ll be able to see what’s in the ocean “for kilometres and kilometres.”
The Aquarium is providing the racing sailboat with a manta trawler, which will collect debris as it skims the surface. Water samples, in which Peter expects to find microscopic pieces of plastic, will also be collected.
Peter is especially keen to see what he will find in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami. He says as a sailor, he’s always interested to see what’s in the water, so this is a chance to channel that interest into something that will contribute to the Aquarium’s Ocean Pollution Research Program and bring awareness to the issue of marine debris.
“Looking all around you, to see garbage out there is pretty disgusting.”
Although Peter is a seasoned mariner (he spent a month sailing between China and Victoria in 2006), this will be his first Victoria to Maui Yacht Race. He calls it “the biggest sailing challenge in this part of the world.”
This may be the biggest sailing challenge, but he’s also now embarking on a huge environmental challenge – inspiring others to think twice about what they throw out and into the ocean.
Stay tuned for an update in the coming weeks…
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.