|JUNE / JULY
June 10, 2010
By Giora Proskurowski
Hamilton, Bermuda: 32.29°N, 64.79°W
At 1400 this afternoon the rest of the crew began to arrive, although I'd already recognized several participants getting a quick view of the ship they would soon be joining. In addition to the 11 professional crew members onboard the Cramer (captain, chief scientist, three mates, three scientists, two engineers, and one steward) the rest of the berths will be occupied by volunteer scientists-sailors-students.
Unlike our typical SEA Semester undergraduate programs, these "students" are, with few exceptions, SEA alumni who have volunteered their time to help run the ship and lab for 35 days in the North Atlantic. These alumni represent a wide age range, having sailed with SEA as recently as last summer, and as long ago as the late 1970's. Please visit our Expedition Team page to meet the professional and volunteer crew.
In order to prepare the new crewmembers for this expedition, a seemingly endless stream of information
hit them as soon as they arrived. The extended briefing was broken up by dinner and will extend until
about 10pm, at which time we'll recommend that everyone gets a full night's rest.
Orientation consists of safety training, line handling, a lab tour, safety drills, and an introduction to the program and to one other. Tomorrow morning orientation will continue with detailed discussions of the science and outreach plans, as well as more safety and deck duty details. Then we'll push off the dock and watch Bermuda quickly disappear from view. Our focus will shift to doing the best science we can to study plastic marine debris in the North Atlantic.
The specific goal of this expedition is to map the extent and distribution of plastic debris up to 1,100 miles southeast of Bermuda. This expedition is primarily a research mission, but we feel it is equally important that the public be properly informed about this topic. Currently, the extent of plastic debris in the world's oceans is poorly defined, and much more rigorous science must be undertaken to guide policymaking. Thus, our mission is two-pronged – to study the physical, biological and chemical effects of plastics in the ocean; and to engage and educate the public to encourage conservation, recycling and reuse efforts on shore and at sea.
It is our hope that this website will serve multiple purposes: to accurately describe plastic marine pollution; to convey the enormity of the oceans and thus the scope of the problem; and to show why we believe the true solution to plastic marine pollution can only occur at the source – by reducing the amount of waste we produce. REDUCE, Reuse, recycle.