Shifting Baselines

Junk Raft Gearing up for Hawaii

A six-week drift to Hawaii will call attention to plastics in the sea

Yesterday Dr. Marcus Eriksen, his expedition partner Joel Paschal, and their land-based support coordinator (and fiancee of Dr. Eriksen) Anna Cummins took the newly built “Junk Raft” on a trial run to Catalina and back. All systems are go, so they’re now scaling up for the big departure on Sunday afternoon, June 1, at 3:00 p.m. from the Long Beach Aquarium. If all goes according to plans, about six weeks later they should land on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s a straight shot over, mostly along the 25th parallel, just drifting in the westward current which should take them 3-4 knots per hour.

The boat sits on six pontoons which are filled with 15,000 plastic bottles. The Burbank Recycling program donated most of the bottles, though Patagonia tossed in 1000 nalgene bottles they are phasing out due to contaminants in the plastics. If you’re in the L.A. region you should come to the big Bon Voyage Send-off, starting at 1:00 on June 1st at the Aquarium. And you can follow their progress on their blog.

i-cd82ced6376d1df5042d66f30f3a8791-Junk Raft Photo.jpg
“Junk Raft” at sea during trial run to Catalina Island, May 18, 2008. From left, Joel Paschal, Dr. Marcus Eriksen, and Anna Cummins (photo by Peter Bennett).


  1. #1 David Lee
    May 19, 2008

    What are they going to do with all the junk when it gets to Hawaii?

    Hawaii has enough plastic flotsam.

  2. #2 Randy Olson
    May 19, 2008

    Forgot to mention that. The raft will be shipped back to California to be part of an exhibit on plastics in the oceans.

  3. #3 everydaytrash
    May 20, 2008

    Bon voyage to the junk raft!

  4. #4 David Sheriff
    May 30, 2008

    Consider the energy content in the plastics in the oceans. No chemical energy source is wasted by life, ultimately. Just give natural selection a chance and something will evolve to eat the plastic and have a delicious time doing so. In the meantime, we pigs have a problem with our ocean views. Perhaps the rising cost of petroleum will price plastic out of the market?

  5. #5 sex
    February 13, 2009

    Yes Thats is a good idea. Thanks a lot

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