(California to Hawaii, North Pacific Gyre – 2,600 miles)
Anna Cummins, Joel Paschal and I were studying the North Pacific Gyre with Captain Charles Moore in Feb. 2008 when we began planning the fabrication and launch of JUNK. Using 15,000 plastic bottles, 24 sailboat masts, and a Cessina 310 aircraft fuselage, we constructed a raft and launched it on June 1, 2008. The 88-day adventure outran 4 hurricanes, we ran out of food and ate plastic laden fish, and miraculously met ocean rower “Roz Savage” in the middle of nowhere.
The mission of the journey was to bring global awareness to plastic waste in the worlds oceans, and strive for solutions to curb the loss of plastic waste to the sea.
The story of Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution has been adapted into a book, for more information please visit here.
Students from the Environmental Charter High School (ECHS) built a series of boats with me. Using 170 2-liter bottles cut and attached in torpedo-like forms, an 8ft. long canoe was built. Using aluminum crutches for oars, I paddled the Cola Kayak from the San Fernando Valley to the LA Harbor.
On August 20, 2003 the Bottle Rocket launched from Lake Itasca, Minnesota for a 2000-mile voyage to the Gulf of Mexico. I was making good on a promise I made while sitting in a foxhole near Kuwait City, covered with oil, during the Persian Gulf War. “If we survive this war let’s build a raft like Tom and Huck.” Twelve years later I made good on the promise, 5 months down the Mississippi River on a raft made from 232 2-liter plastic bottles, 1 car seat and two bicycles.