Bermuda slowly recedes into the distance, the sun beats down on your face, and you inhale the salty breeze as the expedition makes its way out to sea. By nighttime the ship you're on will be floating in a sea of nothingness, surrounded by stars.
With rates of $7,500 for a 9 or 16 night accommodation aboard the ship, the Sea Dragon, it’s the trip of a lifetime. But this is no typical vacation, and it’s certainly no luxury honeymoon. On this expedition you’ll be working.
Gyre expeditions are research vacations. You work on the boat, receive sailing lessons and foul-weather gear, and help trawl for plastic. All while taking in paradise and helping to restore and preserve it for future generations.
“Coming into this journey I had no idea the extent or magnitude of the plastics issue at hand,” Winston Godwin, a past expedition blogger, said.
“Large plastics, while their (sic) 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 Ocean Cleanup and Pangaea Exploration hosted three similar expeditions in the past that the organizations described as very successful. They are hosting two expeditions this year and are currently taking reservations. The first is from June 12 to June 21 and will start and end in Bermuda, while the second is from June 27 to July 13 and will begin in Bermuda and end in Azores.
The expeditions are part of what the Ocean Cleanup organization describes as "the largest clean up in history," which is trying to remove some of the millions of tons plastics from the ocean. The expeditions focus on one of the five rotating currents or gyres where plastics are heavily concentrated. While the expeditions are helping to measure the plastic, one of the goals of the Ocean Cleanup organization is to extract the plastic by creating floating barriers that catch and contract the debris.
If you’re the type that needs the yin and yang balance of activity and relaxation during a vacation—and you also want to help the oceans—The Cleanup expedition might be for you.