The crew, less than 24 hours before final departure.
After several days – and for some of the crew weeks – of prepping, boat tweaking, shopping, and stashing unbelievable amounts of supplies, we're finally ready for takeoff.
From left to right: Marcus Eriksen, Nicole Chatterson, Joel Paschal, Anna Cummins, Charles Moore, Jeff Earnst, and Herb Machleder.
The smiling faces here reflect the fact that a) no one has lost their breakfast - yet, b) we haven't yet spent days upon weeks coexisting in a small space, and c) land is still within easy access.....
A word about the crew, all marine debris and/or sailing enthusiasts:
Marcus Eriksen, Algalita's Director of Research and Education, has been deeply involved in plastic marine debris issues since rafting down the length of the Mississippi River on a boat made from recycled plastic bottles. Marcus has given presentations about marine debris issues to schools and communities all over the country, and will continue his public education upon his return, with samples and data "hot off the gyre".
Nicole Chatterson - Algalita's operations assistant, and key support for this ORV Alguita voyage. Though she won't be on board (this time), Nicole's help with preparations has been instrumental. Nicole is finishing up her environmental studies in Long Beach, and plans to continue working for marine conservation in the future.
Joel Paschal - resident filmmaker and self proclaimed “freelance errand boy”. Joel previously worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he spent 4 months at sea studying marine debris. He “just couldn’t get enough of trash”, and volunteered to document the expedition, with a focus on capturing underwater footage.
Anna Cummins - Algalita's Education Advisor and lone female on board. While working for a marine conservation organization in 2004, Anna met Charles Moore and joined joined Algalita on a research trip to Guadalupe Island. She was forever changed by this opportunity to learn first hand about the far reaching, ecological impacts of disposable plastics.
Captain Charles Moore - Algalita's founder and world-renowned marine debris expert, has been studying the North Pacific Gyre for over 10 years. His determination was sparked by an accidental discovery of plastic quantities in the gyre in 1997. Charles anticipates finding evidence on this journey of plastic debris more alarming than anything yet seen.
Jeff Ernst - recently joined Algalita to assist with marine debris research, and to provide his key sailing skills, tireless energy, and marine debris know how. Jeff recently received his degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Hilo, Hawaii, where he took Charles' marine debris seminar, and crewed aboard ORV Alguita on numerous local trips.
Herb Machleder, our resident doctor, is a long time sailing veteran and Master Organic Gardener. Herb was a vascular surgeon at UCLA for many years, has sailed boats from Los Angeles to Northern Canada to Alaska to Baja, and brings key maritime-medical experience to this journey.
And last but far from least, Holly Gray, our key vessel and blog support. Holly doesn't appear in this photo, as she's busy running the education outreach programs while the rest of us traipse about. Holly ran both blogs on the last journey, and has done an incredible job getting schools "on board".
Anyone interested in having their schools involved in the journey should visit the Ship to Shore blog, where classes can both track Alguita's progress, and submit questions directly to the crew, which we will answer to the best of our abilities.