Special Investigative Series: Sea Dragon Sets Sail, Day 1


The team assembled, we’re making last minute preparations for our month-long journey into the heart of the South Atlantic Gyre. In total, we’ll spend some 30 days at sea looking to discover (or hopefully not) the South Atlantic Garbage Patch. Yesterday, we shot press images of our team in a bay at Ihle Grande, one of the most beautiful places this writer has ever seen. Taking a quick ferry around the island, we searched for waves with pro surfers Mary Osborne and James Pribram, two 5 Gyres ambassadors looking to spread the word about plastic pollution to the surfing community when they return.

Hiking up through the jungle, then down, on a path that would be a nightmare if it started to rain, we found a wide open beach with pure clean water and beautiful waves. It was my job to get photos of them, but for this surfer, there are few things on earth harder than watching people having a blast while surfing. Soon, I got my shots, and had a go.

We awoke to a beautiful morning of clouds over the stiff jungle peaks and readied the boat for our trip to Angre Dos Reis (anchorage of the gods) where we’ll pass immigration, fuel up, and do last minute fresh food shopping. Fresh food will be a distant memory in a week’s time, as very little survives in a hot, salty climate for a length of time.

This will be my longest journey at sea; some four or more weeks without land, a reality that both worries and excites me. Our team is dynamic, heavy on science, activism, and pro athletes with great networks for the cause. We’ve got events scheduled on the other side with the South Africa press, and we’re hoping for strong media attention. Our mission is to demonstrate that this is a global problem, not something that just exists in the North Pacific.

Here we go.