Boyan Slat & The Ocean Cleanup | Gyre Expedition #4 | Bermuda
$3,800 / €3,500
Length: 10 days
Focus: Ocean Plastics
Following our three very successful previous Gyre Expeditions with The Ocean Cleanup, we are pleased to announce another two expeditions this summer to the North Atlantic Gyre. Our last trip, Gyre Expedition #3, was an 8-day voyage, on which the crew took 12 separate vertical distribution measurements of the microplastics present about the Gyre. These measurements are necessary for Boyan Slat and his team to determine the depth profile of plastic pollution.
This upcoming 10-day trip will be very similar to it’s predecessor, departing from and arriving back in Bermuda. If you go on one of our expeditions, you really are part of the crew. That means learning how to sail and actually helping with the research. Of course, there will be a lead researcher on board to guide the experiments and to teach you everything you need to know.
These expeditions are heading to the middle of the North Atlantic Garbage Patch, where the highest plastic pollution concentrations can be found. The research that will be done during the expedition is very important to us. There are some uncertainties concerning the vertical distribution dataset left that we want to reduce. So your contribution is especially meaningful!
The Ocean Cleanup’s CEO, Boyan Slat, will personally join the June expedition.
Find out more about Boyan Slat and The Ocean Cleanup here.
Boyan Slat (1994) combines technology and entrepreneurism to tackle global issues of sustainability. He serves as the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, through which he oversees strategy and technology development.
After diving in Greece in 2011, frustrated by coming across more plastic bags than fish, he wondered; ‘why can’t we clean this up?’ This ultimately led to the passive cleanup concept, which he presented in 2012. Instead of going after the plastic, Boyan devised a system though which, driven by the ocean currents, the plastic would concentrate itself, reducing the theoretical cleanup time from millennia to mere years. In 2013, he dropped out of his Aerospace Engineering study to found The Ocean Cleanup.
In June 2014, having lead an international team of 100 scientists and engineers for a year, the concept turned out to be ‘likely a technically feasible and financially viable’ method to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years’ time. A subsequent crowd funding campaign then raised close to $2.2m, now enabling the organization to start the pilot phase.
Boyan Slat has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide (Intel EYE50), and is a laureate of the 2014 United Nations Champions of the Earth award, the organization’s highest environmental accolade.
Background & Expertise
Rebecca Hentschel is joining the expedition from Nuremberg, Germany.
Background & Expertise
I am an active Angel Investor and Consultant on finance and strategy matters. I have over 20 years of experience in Commercial and Investment Banking.
I am looking forward to learning as much as possible about the Ocean Clean up Mission and hope to get some very good insights into how this will work.
Background & Expertise
Filmmaker – no experience sailing
To create an inspiring documentary profile on Boyan, his crew and his amazing mission to clean the oceans.
Background & Expertise
Camera guy for German television.
Shooting a documentary on Boyan Slat, his vision, and The Ocean Cleanup.
Background & Expertise
Robert Sandow is joining the expedition from Berlin, Germany.
Background & Expertise
I am trained and work as a medical transcriptionist from home. My volunteer experience includes participating in three “Earthwatch Expeditions” and the following voyages: June 2007 “Dolphins and Whales of Moray Firth”, Northeast Scotland; June 1996 “Saving the Chinese River Dolphin”, Hubei Province, China; Dec. 1995 “Marine Mammal Survey”, The Bahamas; Aug. 2004 “Clean Water Coastal Cleanup”, Wyland Foundation, Mass. And Rhode Island, USA; April 2010 “Pink Dolphin and Dugong Project”, Trang, Thailand.
To meet and work alongside others who share my love for the ocean and hate for plastic and trash in the ocean. To learn more about trash in the ocean and how we can prevent it. To see wildlife and beautiful scenery.
Background & Expertise
I have a Marine Biology Master degree and a bachelor in Marine Ecology. I started as a volunteer in The Ocean Cleanup, and now I cover the position of Lab Coordinator, researching on plastic pollution and new technologies to extract it from the sea.
Collect as much samples as possible of Oceanic plastic pollution.
Eric Loss – Skipper
A native of California, Eric has been on the water since an early age. He has sailed more than 55,000 offshore miles, and has sailed everything from windsurfers to 115′ schooners, and recently he completed a single-handed circumnavigation by way of the great capes. He enjoys teaching all aspects of sailing, from boat handling and dinghy racing to navigation and seamanship. He is always eager to share his knowledge of celestial navigation. Eric has been involved in sail training for most of his life, and is an US Sailing instructor. He holds an IYT Master of Yachts Ocean with commercial endorsement and a USCG 100 ton master’s license. Eric is also an experienced diver and PADI Divemaster.
Shanley Mcentee – First Mate
Shanley was born and raised in San Diego, CA and graduated with a BA in Environmental Policy and a minor in Environmental Science from Western Washington University. Having grown up by the sea, she holds a deep passion for Mother Ocean and our ever-growing need for protection and awareness of the problems our environment is facing. She enjoys anything having to do with the sea, from surfing to scuba diving to sailing, and loves offshore passages. She is PADI Rescue Diver certified and holds an IYT Master of Yachts Offshore with commercial endorsement.
Katie Jewett – Deck Hand
Katie grew up in Mill Valley, California and worked her first job as a summer deckhand aboard the Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry on San Francisco Bay. She later joined her college sailing team and ever since has enjoyed learning how the wind can take her all over the world. Katie earned her degree from Stanford University in Human Biology with a concentration in marine policy and science communications. She now spends her winters in Colorado and summers living and working on the water. She loves storytelling through writing and film, and hopes to increase ocean literacy by connecting even the most landlocked, mountainous populations with the beauty and importance of the ocean environment. She holds her Wilderness First Responder and a Merchant Mariner Credential (AB-Special).
Winston Godwin, our blogger for the last trip, beautifully wrapped up some of the experiences in the North Atlantic Gyre, which may be read below.
May 24th, 2014 – The Final Stretch
It’s the last day of this amazing voyage. We enjoyed our last supper courtesy of Winston and Beatrice. We had CHICKEN and veggies! With all the vegetarian meals, the chicken was a very welcomed change of pace. A few of us also enjoyed what would be the last sunset of the trip. Like the majority of the trip, the water the skies were clear, making for a great sunset. As the skies turned to black, the wind and seas began to pick up a bit, making it a little rougher. Watch 2 made up of Eric, Winston, Kasey, Max and Beatrice were the last official watch team of the trip. We woke up at 12am for our four hour shift. At this point we were still quite a ways from Bermuda. It was dark allowing for great bioluminescent shows in the wake of the boat. We began to pick up signals and sounds of Bermuda Radio, which were the first signs of us nearing the island.
Later, Eric pointed out a very faint flicker of what he said was Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse. Next we began to see a low, faint, orange glow of the island and eventually as we got closer, the glow of the island tuned into individual lights. Now that we were close to the channel, it was time (4;30) for everyone to wake up, fill out immigration forms and take their positions in preparation to dock. Once we all cleared customs, we packed our bags and had to clean down the boat. The overall mood of the boat at this time was bittersweet. It was nice to be docked in the confines of the harbor and not moving. But it also meant we had to start the painful process of cleaning. Once cleaning was done we all decided to grab one last meal as a crew at Tavern by the Sea. Over lunch we took the time to reflect and enjoy each others company. A few of us (Kim) took the time to reconnect with the wireless world and let our loved ones know we were alive. We all made our way back to the boat and gave the final hugs and well wishes for the journeys home.
Reflection: The boat has been scrubbed down and everyone has sadly begun making their way back home to their respective countries with memories that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. And here I am sitting on the dock, watching the sunset and reflecting on what an amazing experience this last week was. The information garnered is something I plan on sharing with anyone that is willing to listen. Coming into this journey I had no idea the extent or magnitude of the plastics issue at hand. Large plastics, while their are obvious and fairly easy to extract are only part of the problem. The other 90% of the iceberg so to speak are the tiny bits of micro-plastics that have been broken down by the sun, ocean, and marine organisms. These tiny pieces cannot simply be picked out or filtered. They stay in the ocean column for long periods of time and are even ingested by various sea birds and marine animals. The hope is that our hard work over the past week will provide a better understanding of the issue as well as contribute to possible solutions to the problem at hand. Yesterday before we all parted ways, I asked everyone to reflect on their experience the last week and provide me with their most memorable moment or something that they learned over the course of the last week. Here’s what they said.
Kasey – Don’t lie on your back on the deck in the sun. ALSO, puking over the side of the boat can be amusing for all involved.
Kim – Sitting on the bow while the boat is traveling 8 knots in 5 foot swells is the equivalent to an amusement park ride!
Mario – I’ll remember the overall experience the most. From the trawling, and the samples, the weather, and the people. I’m going to miss it all.
Beatrice – I left expecting to see a big floating garbage patch, however that was far from the case. We can’t see most of the pieces as we sail along so it looks like there’s nothing there. This makes the problem even bigger and scarier because we can’t truly see how bad the issue is. The only positive thing is the potential of the plastic eating bacteria. I think tighter regulations surrounding plastics and making they types of plastics more standardized would making solutions more plausible.
Jennifer – The night it was really rough and sitting outside with Kim as I was driving the boat. It was like we were floating in a sea of nothingness surrounded by stars.
Max – I think what I’ll remember most is the people and the connections we made.
Becky – I think what will stick with me the most was the day we did 4 trawls in a row. The first 2 trawls were great. However as the day went one we all began to tire. Even though we were exhausted we all managed to work together as a team towards a common goal. While deploying and recovering that 4th trawl wasn’t the smoothest, we sucked it up and got it done.
Julia – SAMPLES! And good work with great friends!
Shanley – The crew was definitely memorable but I think I’ll definitely remember Sir Bigglesworth and Theodore.
Eric – Sweet Trawling
Kate – I cannot believe 13 people were in such a small boat for a week and all of us got along perfectly fine!
Day 1: Crew arrives on board at 9AM, practices deploying the trawl in St. Georges Harbour.
Day 2: Sea Dragon departs Bermuda, gets underway for target waypoint. 2 trawls per day.
Day 3: Underway to target waypoint. 2 trawls per day.
Day 4: Underway to target waypoint. 2 trawls per day.
Day 5: Sea Dragon reaches target waypoint. do 2 or 3 trawls, turn around.
Day 6: Underway to Bermuda. 2 trawls per day.
Day 7: Underway to Bermuda. 2 trawls per day.
Day 8: Underway to Bermuda. 2 trawls per day.
Day 9: Sea Dragon arrives in Bermuda.
Day 10: Crew depart Sea Dragon.
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Crew will require a passport from their home country that will allow them to travel to Bermuda. For specific visa information, contact the Bermuda Department of Immigration.
- 9 night’s accommodation onboard Sea Dragon
- Services of experienced crew
- Hands on research opportunities
- All meals, drinks, and snacks on board
- Sailing instruction
- Safety and foul weather gear
Payment does not include:
- Transportation to and from Bermuda
- Transportation to and from the dock
- Meals and drinks when ashore
- Travel insurance & vaccinations
- Visas (if applicable)
Please see our Travel Kit List.
For more information on joining this expedition, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org