Thursday, February 20, 2014

From Beachside Trash to Holiday Treasure

A vibrantly successful Long Island Sound shoreline cleanup takes an unconventional recycling twist through the efforts of eager Greenport School fourth graders and local artist Cindy Pease Roe 

On the morning of Tuesday, November 19th, forty fourth graders and a handful of brave chaperones leapt off of a Greenport School bus and onto a gusty seashore at Truman’s Beach in Orient, NY. Using Rozalia Project’s marine debris record sheets, the students happily battled the beachside winds as they removed over 600 pieces of unnatural materials from one of their favorite summer spots. A sopping wet pillow and three dead rats in a plastic gallon jug later, the job was far from done. 

This second annual Greenport School beach cleanup was developed by local artist Cindy Pease Roe who has made her mark on the north fork of Long Island through all mediums of her creative genius within her studio that is tucked inside historic Hanff’s Boatyard in Greenport. Most recently, though, Roe has expanded her talent by transforming her personal collection of shoreline plastics into unique art forms. That is where the kids come in. 

When the data-filled clipboards were collected, and the heaping bags of marine debris gathered, the rubbish party reconfigured at Floyd Memorial Library for color sorting. As tables erupted with blue bottle caps, a yellow yo-yo, tarnished green rope and the like, the room buzzed with imaginative angst for what was to come. The students’ field trip continued the next morning when they joined Roe once again to craft holiday wreaths with their discovered, sorted and recorded materials. Afterward, these animated decorations were on display throughout Greenport School, decking the halls but also bringing awareness to a deeper truth. 

Of the nearly 650 pieces of recorded marine debris found, the most frequently occurring material was caps, lids and bottle tops, with 119 pieces recovered. In second was rope, coming in at 77 pieces, and third was plastic bottles, totaling 45. As most of Rozalia Project’s collected data has shown, our shores and waters are battling preventable pollutants. 40 fourth graders on Long Island shared these facts with their schoolmates and community through marine trash art; how will you encourage preventative action? 

This blog post is from 2013 intern, Kaleigh Wilson, a graduate of Roger Williams University. We asked Kaleigh to join Cindy and the Greenport students last fall to represent Rozalia Project and add an element of science and data collection to the excellent pickup and artwork that was already being done. We are grateful to Kaleigh for stepping up to participate and write this great report. In addition, Newsday Magazine published some articles about this event:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Attention ocean scientists: Rozalia Project Fellowships onboard American Promise!

 Rozalia Project Fellowships onboard American Promise operating from Downeast Maine to the Chesapeake Bay

Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean invites scientists, researchers and ocean advocates on the subjects of marine debris, ocean pollution, climate change and more to join us for expeditions in the North Atlantic May-August, 2014.

Rozalia Project conducts its science expeditions from the 60' sailing research vessel American Promise, crewed by licensed mariners, Rozalia Project staff and interns. She is capable of crossing oceans, with a maximum crew of 9 people.

This Fellowship/guest scientist program is designed to share resources, give scientists extremely low cost opportunities to conduct research, access to underwater technology and expertise, and give Rozalia Project interns exposure to high level research scientists and their methods while we all work toward a clean and healthy ocean.

Rozalia Project is making 1-3 spaces available on each of three expeditions (below) for guest scientists through this fellowship program. Guest scientists will complete their own research alongside Rozalia Project's ongoing research and be a part of the daily interaction with our web based followers. American Promise is equipped with 2 ROV's capable down to 1000ft, side scan sonar, imaging sonar, 2 neuston nets, digital microscope, and ponar sediment grab.

The expeditions are followed by over 25,000 children across North America and beyond who will interact with the expedition and its work on a daily basis through web-based and satellite communication. We ask for $150/week food/supplies stipend, otherwise the spot is without charge.

May 19 - June 14
Rozalia Project’s primary objective: Direct action campaign - saving a species critical to our north Atlantic ecosystem, coastal marine debris work
Geographic location: US Atlantic seaboard (Maine - Chesapeake Bay)

2. July 6 - July 20
Rozalia Project’s primary objective: Ocean cleanup and testing Rozalia Project’s solutions to the problem of floating and shoreline trash: low by-catch net and using unmanned aerial vehicles for documentation of shoreline and surface trash
Geographic location: Gulf of Maine

3. July 27 - August 10 
Rozalia Project’s primary objective: Marine debris cleanup on the shoreline, surface and seafloor with a focus on outlying islands off the coast of Maine
Geographic location: Gulf of Maine, Downeast Maine

For more information or to apply: Call Rachael Miller at 802-578-6120 to discuss your research or send the following as soon as possible to
  • A brief overview of your department/organization
  • Details about the work you would complete while aboard American Promise
  • The CV, name and contact information of the person (or people) who would join us

We have had successful partnerships with scientists from the University of Exeter and the Ocean Conservancy and look forward to using American Promise to continue to further our understanding of the problems (and solutions) facing our marine environment.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rozalia Project's 2014 Internship Program: exceptional people wanted!

Scientists, environmentalists, engineers, communicators, changemakers, movers and shakers wanted… 

for a demanding, problem-solving, data-collecting, ocean trash removing, robot operating, action-taking, sailing, educating, inspiring, career-advancing internship.

Join Rozalia Project for one of three 2014 expeditions onboard the 60’ sailing research vessel, American Promise. 

Following are the internships we have available this season. The right people are not just science and environmental studies majors, we consider and welcome people from any background and location. Ability to sail is not a pre-requisite. Being a great team-member, problem solver and someone who understands and is enthusiastic about Rozalia Project’s mission and the internship are prerequisites. Interns will take part in every aspect of the expedition. These internships are unpaid, we ask for a $150/week contribution toward food and supplies. Minimum age 18. Must love dogs (we have 2 Newfoundlands onboard).

1. May 19 - June 14
  • Primary objective: Direct action campaign - saving a species critical to our north Atlantic ecosystem
  • Geographic location: US Atlantic seaboard
  • Topics, skills, activities emphasized during this expedition: fishery science and management, marine ecosystems, communication, neuston tows, data analysis, long distance sailing/passage making

2.  July 6 - July 20
  • Primary objective: Ocean cleanup and testing Rozalia Project’s solutions to the problem of floating and shoreline trash: low by-catch net and using unmanned aerial vehicles for documentation of shoreline and surface trash
  • Geographic location: Gulf of Maine
  • Topics. skills, activities emphasized during this expedition: research and development, problem solving, robotics (aerial), surface tows, data collection and analysis, communication

3. July 27 - August 10 
  • Primary objective: Marine debris cleanup on the shoreline, surface and seafloor with a focus on outlying islands off the coast of Maine
  • Geographic location: Gulf of Maine, Downeast Maine
  • Topics. skills, activities emphasized during this expedition: data collection and analysis, robotics (aerial and subsea), shoreline marine debris cleanup, communication

How to apply: Check out the full announcement then call, email, text, Tweet or send us a video… and tell us the following:
  • Why or how Rozalia Project’s mission and work excites or inspires you
  • Which expedition you would like to join and why
  • Include your resume/cv

If you seem like a good fit (remember, we welcome all backgrounds, fit has more to do with attitude, energy and skills we need), we will contact you for a phone interview. That will be followed by us checking your references (we need 3: a teacher, an employer and a personal reference). Lastly, we will meet over Skype for one last conversation before we make a decision.

We use rolling admissions and will inform you of our decision either during, or soon after, the Skype interview. There are 3-6 internship opportunities per expedition. Spaces will fill up quickly!

Additional information about these internships can be found on then click Interns & Crew under the Join Us tab. To apply: call Rachael at 802-578-6120 (mobile) or email your letter, or a link to your video, to:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rozalia Project Manifesto for a Clean Ocean

“Knowing is not enough,we must apply
willing is not enough,we must do.” 

We have all been bombarded with media stories of islands of trash the size of Texas floating in the Pacific and man-made toxins in the marine food web. We hear every week of new Tsunami debris washing ashore on the west coast of North America. These stories have been developed upon the valuable work of the scientific community discovering where, what and how much ocean pollutants exist in the marine environment.

The stories have struggled with hyperbole, there are no floating islands of trash, but the science research has been unerringly accurate in showing our seas as a chowder of ocean trash.

We have an environmental disaster on our hands that will reverberate through future generations if we do not cleanup. The cleanup is the sticky little pie. Many believe that ocean cleanup is an insurmountable task, a fools errand. Many people worry about the effects on marine life from unintended consequences of cleaning up our trash. Who is responsible? Who is going to pay for it? All valid questions, but they are questions that should not stop us taking action to find solutions.

Rozalia Project has been working hard to develop real world solutions to our ocean pollution problems. We believe we can have clean oceans and that success is going to take a multitude of methods. Rozalia Project is using a  multi-pronged, cohesive and comprehensive approach to clean our oceans.

Rozalia Project’s scientific research has led us to believe that the majority of ocean trash originates at the land/sea interface of our conurbations. The causes of trash ending up in the water are numerous and concentrated in these contiguous zones of human population. Inadequate number of, and overflowing trash cans, populations not taking on the personal responsibility to dispose of their trash responsibly, lack of physical screening on drains and storm water overflow pipes, lack of education as to the harmful effects of trash in the water and industrial pollution all are causes of ocean trash.  Rozalia Project has conducted a 2 year study of urban waters throughout North America, discovering concentrations of marine debris/trash of up to 282,000 pieces per km². The average concentrations in these urban watersheds rival and exceed that of ocean trash collecting zones in the center of our oceanic gyres.

Thus, it is Rozalia Project’s belief that our focus on cleanup should be at the land/sea interface, urban waters and at the convergence of currents in coastal waters where high densities of ocean trash have been transported directly from these conurbations on their way to the center of the great oceanic gyres.

Prevention: stopping trash getting into the water, and remediation: removing trash from the water and shores before it breaks down into micro size pieces, are the cornerstones of Rozalia Project’s belief that we can clean our oceans.

Here are the strategies and solutions that Rozalia Project is currently using to combat the problem of ocean pollution.

Rozalia Project is using existing technologies in new ways and developing new technologies to clean our oceans from the surface to the seafloor:

Baleen Basker - low bycatch marine debris net
The Baleen Basker is a prototype low bycatch marine debris net developed over the last 2 years by Rozalia Project. Low bycatch is imperative because catching volumes of plankton along with the trash would have a detrimental effect on our marine environment. The Baleen Basker was designed to exclude completely or allow organic plant and marine life to pass through the net, but capture any oil-based ocean trash such as microplastic, foam, etc. 

The Baleen Basker was bio-engineered to mimic the filter feeding abilities of baleen whales and the gill rakers of basking sharks. We are excited about the test results of our prototype, that, in phase 2 testing, has achieved up to 91% efficiency in removing microplastics from the water while excluding up to 48% of the organic matter.

This project is very exciting because of the ability to upsize to a Baleen Basker suitable for a commercial fishing trawler. The fishing industry has the skills to locate and capture fish in sufficient quantities to be economic. With the help of the Baleen Basker, these skills could readily transfer to fishing for trash in areas of coastal current convergence with high densities of ocean trash.

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
Rozalia Project has pioneered the use of Videoray micro-ROVs to clean our seafloor of trash. The Videoray Pro4, equipped with BlueView imaging sonar and a manipulator, has proven very adept at removing beverage bottles, cups, cans, and food wrappers from the trash reefs found right off the wharfs of our urban harbors. The ability  of the ROV to work in low visibility or hazardous areas while removing trash at a rate of up to 30 pieces per hour has opened up the possibility of seafloor remediation in our urban waters, with little to no disturbance of sediment or marine life. This ultra low footprint and environmentally safe remediation has made the micro-ROV a perfect tool for the cleanup of the seafloor in our urban waters.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
In 2014 Rozalia Project will conduct a ground-truthing survey of marine debris/ocean trash density and distribution along the coast of New England. Using UAV technology (remotely operated aerial vehicles), Rozalia Project will chart the amount and location of ocean trash on the shores and waters of New England.  By using this new data, coastal cleanups of shorelines and beaches can be focused on areas with the largest aggregation of trash. This will lead to more trash removed from our waters and shorelines, as well as production of an accurate coastal trash density distribution map. Further work with this technology will include the use of automatic recognition software to process aerial photography, allowing Rozalia Project to quickly produce accurate debris density maps for locations throughout North America and beyond.

Sailing Research Vessel (American Promise)
Rozalia Project’s 60ft sailing research vessel, American Promise, is one of the greenest research vessels in the world. With nonstop, round-the-world, record-setting sailing performance and a state-of-art Steyr propulsion engine, American Promise averaged a fuel consumption of 3 gallons per day for its 2013 expeditions. Standard 60ft scientific vessels use up to 150 gallons per day. American Promise is capable of extended ocean voyages without resupply for up to 6 scientists and interns with 3 crew. Our goal is to make her the worlds greenest ocean capable research vessel. Refit plans for 2014 include new standing rigging, solar panels, wind power and hydropower. These additions will reduce our fuel consumption to 2 gallons per day of operation.

High Resolution Ocean Trash Forecasting
Rozalia Project has been utilizing Tidetech high resolution current forecasts and sea surface temperature charts, in conjunction with GFS and Predictwind high resolution wind models, to predict areas of high density ocean trash accumulation. We are working on a micro scale and able to forecast 1 to 2 mile strips where debris will accumulate. 

The UAV program will document these accumulation zones and map organic matter versus ocean trash ratios in these specific areas. The end goal is being able to route fishing trawlers utilizing the Baleen Basker to areas that will allow them to remove the most ocean trash in the most economic manner.

Rozalia Project Ocean Pollution Fellowship Program (Guest Scientists berths available on every 2014 research expedition)
Rozalia Project is a firm believer in good science, but there is a worrying trend. Scientists do not get to spend enough time on the water studying the problems of ocean pollution. We have hosted graduate level marine scientists who have never been out on a research vessel before coming onboard American Promise. This affected us deeply here at Rozalia Project. Thus, we have made guest scientist spots available on board American Promise on every 2014 research expedition. These spots are available at zero cost to scientists so they may conduct their own research during our expeditions. Rozalia Project is very proud to promote and support the future of marine science.

Rozalia Project Undergraduate Intern Program
Rozalia Project has had 50 undergraduate interns since 2011 join us onboard American Promise to participate in our science research and cleanup expeditions. Several of our interns have gone on to jobs or internships at several prestigious environmental organizations such as the Ocean Conservancy and U. of Washington’s Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean. We see our interns as holding the future of ocean science and as seeds that go back to their own communities to teach how important a clean ocean is for our future and grow new ocean stewards and scientists.

Rozalia Project has educated 47,000+ people of all ages about the effects and solutions to ocean trash through our in person education programs and our Expedition Reports/ virtual crew member programs over the last 4 years.

American Promise has been an integral part of the education program, with port stops featuring surface to seafloor cleanups and engaging education programs with over 75 education partners. These programs have been a great success, allowing participants to access cutting edge technology, and be part of the team applying this technology to clean our harbors. The ROV gives participants a connection to the marine world right under their feet, in their own harbor, a world most participants have never seen or experienced. Rozalia Project’s education program combines ocean clean up with giving our participants the building blocks to a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Rozalia Project believes the greatest way to modify behavior in a population is through education. Teach a child to understand, love and care for the marine environment, and that child will teach their own family to keep our oceans clean.

Rozalia Project, from inception to present, has removed 565,000+ pieces of ocean trash from the waters and shorelines of North America by leading a variety of our own and volunteer cleanups with the following featured partnerships and programs.
  • Rozalia Project led a FEMA funded back-to-work program for 41 unemployed workers to cleanup marine debris in the rivers, lakes and streams of Vermont after the destruction caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
  • Rozalia Project, in partnership with Maine Coast Heritage Trust, developed a program to clean several remote offshore islands in Maine. These island cleanups have generated great data on the composition of ocean trash in the Gulf of Maine, and inspired us to develop the UAV mapping program for 2014. Although the coast of Maine has few urban centers, it has one of the most concentrated and gear-intensive fisheries in the world, with up to 6.4 million lobster traps actively fished, and a similar amount of fishing gear used in adjacent Nova Scotia. The average loss of traps is 10-20% per year giving the Maine coast very high densities of derelict fishing gear. This fishing trash is severely affecting the marine environment. Rozalia Project is very active in this critical habitat, cleaning up and trying to find solutions to this industry-related ocean trash. The ability of American Promise to be self-contained for several weeks, allows a cleanup crew to work on these remote island for extended periods of time.

We need knowledge before we can act, thus Rozalia Project has implemented several scientific research projects to develop data from which we can produce solutions.

To date, American Promise has been the base for, or involved with, several research expeditions and projects:
  • Urban Waters Study-North America
  • Coastal marine debris density study based on areas of convergence 
  • Ingestion of microplastic by zooplankton, mollusks and worms, University of Exeter
  • Floating derelict fishing gear density study
  • Lake Champlain microdebris sediment study
  • Lobster cannibalism study, Noah Oppenheim, U. Maine
  • Side scan sonar survey of derelict fishing gear, NH/ME coast, Blue Ocean Society
  • Ground truthing derelict fishing gear/lobster traps, Gosport, Blue Ocean Society

American Promise will be available as a vessel of opportunity for any scientist or learning institution who wants to conduct scientific research on ocean pollution or climate change on the Gulf of Maine during our 2014 expeditions.

Rozalia Project is promoting several physical land based solutions to reduce the land to sea transport of trash.
  • Physical screening of storm drains to prevent trash washing into harbors during periods of heavy precipitation. 
  • Greater number of trash cans per mile at the land/sea interface of publicly accessible waterfront in urban areas. Overflowing trash cans are a major source of ocean trash.
  • Promote products such as Big Belly solar trash and recycling compactors that store more trash, prevent overflow and signal when full, saving municipalities money. 
  • Promote trash as an energy source through waste to energy power plants (if value of trash increases no one will throw it away). Sweden and Denmark have invested  heavily in waste to energy power production. Sweden is a net importer of trash and either recycles or puts 94% of their trash into waste to energy plants to make electricity.
  • Promote the idea of minimized packaging of products
  • Promote expanded recycling of single use products

James Lyne & Rachael Z. Miller
Co-founders Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean
c.802 578 6135 James
c. 802 578 6120 RZM

Sunday, September 15, 2013

An efficient, quiet and lower impact new engine for American Promise!

2013: The Re-power Report. See the video by clicking here!

Now that the American Promise part of Rozalia Project’s season is over, we wanted to tell the story of our repower, the decisions, the reality and partners who made it happen.

First, let’s set the stage. Previously we had a 1986 Perkins diesel. It gave us no more than 5.5-6 knots (mostly with the current behind us) using 2.5 gallons per hour or more. It filled the boat with fumes, the most noticeable from hydraulic fluid. It bellowed black smoke on start-up, if it started up at all as the engine spent nearly all of last year with a 60/40 chance of starting without needing to use all of the battery power on the boat.

Learning about the State of Maine’s Clean Marine Diesel funding gave us the inspiration we needed to put our re-power research into high gear. We had been looking at re-powering and the possibility of going to a completely electric propulsion system. We (optimistically) envisioned a boat without any combustion engines, powered only by renewables in the form of solar, wind and hydro power.

We had no-compromise requirements and some compromises we’d be willing to make. Safety was no compromise. That means we needed reliability and range. Next came environmental considerations: improved efficiency and reduced emissions. Then, human comfort: reduced noise and fumes and finally, features such as ability to use biofuels and seamless switch over - not needing to rewire the whole boat or learn entirely new procedures (which we would do if we had to, but better if we didn’t).

We soon found that, though an electric motor (or two) could power a boat as large and heavy as American Promise, no reasonable combination of electric power and battery banks could give us a safe range. For example, if we installed $80,000 of lithium-ion batteries (charged by solar, wind or hydro power and/or a diesel generator), we would only have 2-3 hours at 5 knots to travel before the stored power would be depleted. At that point, our only option for powered propulsion would be via the diesel generator which, until the batteries could be charged, could only provide approximately 3 knots of speed. The river where we keep our mooring has that much current at max flow. That is no speed at which one can outrun (or end run) a thunderstorm. It became obvious that, while there are boats for whom electric power is a viable option, for American Promise, there is not enough range or safety to be found in an electric motor now or in the near future.

Enter the Steyr, Tier 3 marine diesel. We chose this motor for several reasons. All of which are a reality for us. Here are the stats:

  • This summer we averaged 8-9 kts under power using 1.8-2 gallons per hour.
  • We do not have a boat filled with fumes. This engine has an 80% reduction in nitrous oxide emissions over a Tier 2 engine.
  • We do not belch black smoke upon start up, nor at any time. This engine has an 150% reduction in particulate matter over a Tier 2 engine and 1000% improvement from our 1986 diesel.
  • The engine starts every time we turn the key.
  • We can NOT hear that the engine is on while on the bow all the way to aft of the mast (unbelievable). We do not need to shout over it when under power down below or in the cockpit.
  • We outran 2 severe and fast moving thunderstorms arriving at our mooring with time to spare for one that slammed us with 60 knots at the top of the mast
  • We were always able to maintain control and precision in the swift moving waters of our homeport (the back channel of Kittery Point off the Piscataqua River)
  • We did not need to rewire the entire boat.
  • We did not need to learn any new procedures. We check the oil, we turn the key, we check the exhaust and we go. The maintenance schedule is reasonable and easy to follow. Our two home boatyards (Kittery Point Yacht Yard and Maine Yacht Center, who did the installation) are certified to work on the engine.
  • Using a combination of power and sail and the generator for house bank power, we traveled 170 miles over 3 days for $61 in fuel from Northeast Harbor to Frenchboro to Hurricane Island to the Isles of Shoals and home to Kittery Point (includes conducting 4 surface tows under power before topping off the tank at the end of the expedition).

In addition to the above, once we are out of the break-in period we will be able to start running on biodiesel - all the way to B100. We could even be eradicating ocean pollution while running on restaurant waste in the form of veggie oil.

American Promise is the first vessel in North America to install this Tier 3 Steyr engine. The technology and features are new to the boating public. We showed the engine off to people all over the Gulf of Maine and in Boston and we are spreading the word that a switch to a Tier 3 marine diesel is a reasonable and accessible change that anyone who uses a diesel can make when ready to re-power. The benefits to the environment are easy to see and achieve (significant reduction in emissions, reduced footprint by increased efficiency and using renewable fuels), the benefits to those onboard are immediate (reduced noise and reduced fumes), and the benefits to the owners/operators clear (improved safety, same procedures with better performance, reduced operating/fuel cost).

Rozalia Project is grateful for support from the State of Maine Clean Marine Diesel Program with the Maine Marine Trades Association; 11th Hour Racing and Kilroy Realty Corporation as well as the Maine Yacht Center and Kittery Point Yacht Yard. Support from these forward thinking organizations made a big difference to Rozalia Project and American Promise. We will have a wider and wider effect as we share the technology and results with the boating community and everyone who loves the ocean and wants to do their part to keep it healthy.

See the video by clicking here!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A big month for Mission Atlantic

After realizing that all of our news has been posted on Facebook, Twitter and through the Mission Atlantic Program, we realized the blog needed an update. This just in from some of our amazing 2013 interns: Anna (U. of Missouri), Shira (College of the Atlantic) and Tina (Virginia Commonwealth U.) looking back at their weeks with Rozalia Project onboard American Promise...

Hey everyone!

Weve been wicked busy doing research, cleanup, and education in the Gulf of Maine and Boston.  Were admittedly a little bit behind with our updates, so heres a snapshot of our adventures during the past few weeks on the quest for a clean ocean!

After a big crew change in Rockland, Maine, we sailed to Hurricane Island.  This was the beginning of two weeks of research with five brilliant scientists from the University of Exeter, England doing PONAR sediment grabs (keep your eyes out for a link to a great video) and Neuston tows! These “science under sail” methods make it possible to capture zooplankton and sediment dwelling animals to then find whether or not they ingest microplastics.  This research is exciting because it may show us if microplastics are entering the bottom levels of the food web.

We were greeted at the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership by fantastic hosts who taught us about the islandʼs sustainable infrastructure, including composting toilet systems and solar panels.  Another important learning experience happened, too - the Brits had their first sʼmores during a 4th of July celebration!

In Boothbay, Maine, we had the opportunity to meet up with our friends at the Boothbay Sea and Science Center who, like us, are working to get kids out on the water and involved in ocean research.  We toured the Bigelow Labs, home to some awesome marine research from the smallest of ocean creatures on up.

Our next stop was Portland, Maine, where we participated in Portland Green Drinks.  Though the Maine Yacht Center, where the event was hosted, is a bit of a journey out of town, more than 400 people came out to the event.  We were blown away by their enthusiasm and it had the strongest attendance of any of our events yet!

We continued on to the Isles of Shoals to research and had the chance to explore Star Island and learn about the local ecology.  One evening, we hosted some of the Pelicans (Star Island staff) on American Promise, enjoying the best bioluminescent show we had ever seen!

Excited to proceed to our big week of education, we sailed down to Boston via Kittery and Gloucester, enjoying great weather and singing sea chanteys during a couple long days under sail.  In Boston, we set up shop at the Courageous Sailing Center at the Charlestown Navy Yard.  The beautiful view of Boston as we arrived put us all in agreement that Boston by boat is the way to go!

Our first day of education was spent at Community Boating, arriving via the Charles River, which inspired one of our Mission Atlantic reports about the locks and seasonal fish ladder systems.  During our education program at CBI, Hector (our ROV) recovered his first key ever and we even found its owner. One of our students was inspired to make his own ROV at home. We always love to see what methods the kids are inspired to create to clean the oceans on their own! 

Throughout the week, we worked with several hundred kids and their phenomenal instructors with the Courageous Sailing Center programs in Charlestown, Community Boating on the Charles, and at Jamaica Pond.  Between boat tours and American Promise history lessons, Hector flying time, surface dipnetting and dock tows, we were able to immerse the students in everything that Rozalia Project is about, “immerse” being the operative word.  As Hector raised bilge tubes and plastic cups to the surface covered in sediment sludge, the kids were shown an accurate representation of ocean cleanup, which can sometimes get a bit messy!  This theme continued on one of our favorite afternoons of surface cleanup with the programʼs Instructors in Training.  A torrential downpour in Boston presented the opportunity for a lesson in interconnectedness as all of the litter from the cityʼs streets washed down storm drains and bubbled up into the harbor.  We only spent 30 minutes wrangling this trash but ended up grabbing 507 pieces in total!!  An enormous proportion of our haul was made up by food wrappers, but each one had at least a couple of micro debris pieces hanging on for the ride. 

We're now back at our home base in Kittery, doing some final research and
development on our Baleen Basker and fondly reminiscing about the past 4 weeks aboard American Promise.

A huge thank you to our partners - we couldn't do it without you:

Rockland Public Dock

The team from the University of Exeter: Dr. Tamara Galloway, Dr. Ceri Lewis, Dr. Andrew Watts, Stephanie Wright & Matthew Cole

Sam and crew at the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership

Nicole at Bigelow Labs

Pauline, Ed and everyone at Boothbay Sea and Science Center

Tom and Debrah Yale

Maine Yacht Center

Portland Green Drinks

Star Island staff

Kittery Point Yacht Yard

Dave, Kate, Rebecca and crew at Courageous Sailing Center

Ginger, Colin and crew at Community Boating, Inc.

New England Aquarium Harbor Explorations summer camp

The Boston Harbor Association interns

Berwind Family Foundation interns

Bonnell Cove Foundation of the Cruising Club of America

In-Kind sponsors: Interlux, Cloth n'Canvas, OCENS, Select Design, Scully Interactive

OʼConnor family

and this summer's funding partners: 11th Hour Racing, American Chemistry Council, Berwind Family Foundation, Kilroy Realty Corporation, Boat US Foundation, State of Maine Clean Marine Diesel Program/Maine Marine Trades, Lake Champlain Basin Program, WND&WVS and our generous contributors to the Annual Fund

Thanks for reading!

For a clean ocean,

Rozalia Project interns AF, SC, and TM

Monday, June 3, 2013

That was not exactly the plan

Today's blog is directly from Rozalia Project's Mission Atlantic Mission Report 11. 

Different perspectives on the same big day/Mission Report 11

“American Princess, American Princess, this is US Coast Guard Sector New England, what is your location and have you contacted a marine salvage or towing company?”

Of all the conversations we could be having at 2230 hours (10:30pm) on Thursday May 30, this was not at the top of our list. The fact that the name of our beloved vessel, American Promise, came through the VHF as American Princess was, in the end, a good excuse for a chuckle as we were adrift just outside the mouth of the Piscataqua River. We were just 2.5 miles from our mooring with a 10 hour-old transmission that smelled like burnt chemicals and propellor that would not spin. The good news is that it was an ebb tide (pushing us back out to sea as opposed to on the beach), a flat sea (making the deck stable), we are a sailboat with sails ready to go, we have a calm, trained crew, the stars were pretty and we are members of Tow Boat US so Steve from Portsmouth Towboat was on his way.

While one might think that being adrift and getting towed in at midnight would be the most drama  for the day, for many onboard, it was not. The day started in Portland, ME 12 hours before we attached Steve’s towing bridle to our bow. In the 48 miles between Portland and just outside of the “2KR” buoy at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor where we shut the engine down, we had interns complete their very first ocean sail, navigate for the first time, get seasick for the first time and we all saw our first TWO basking sharks!

We asked each of our interns to write two paragraphs about the day. Here is what they said... 

Tara: Thursday was a very exciting day for me for two reasons, the first being, it was my first real trip on a boat!  Aside from a few short, 3-hour trips I’ve taken with school, I’ve never really been on a boat.  Besides being seasick for part of the ride, it was AWESOME!  There is certainly something special about the way a sailboat glides through the water.  Also, being in the middle of the ocean at nightfall and being able to see every star possible is a very cool experience.

Though I’m going to school for marine biology and will be graduating next year, I really haven’t seen much wildlife except for what lives in the intertidal zone, so you can only imagine my excitement when we saw TWO basking sharks while underway!  Their fins were huge!  One of them ended up following us for a bit and the other popped up right next to the boat while we were heeled over.  We could actually see the tip of the second one’s tail fin sticking out of the water; we estimate he might have been about 15 feet long. I hope your Thursday was as exciting as mine!

Christian: You never realize how much you take a level surface for granted until you try cooking a meal on a boat that is under sail. I was able to have this interesting experience last night while I was cooking the very gourmet meal of noodle soup and bread with butter for the crew of American Promise.

I witnessed pots and pans flying from one side of the galley to the other, all while trying to balance liquids so they wouldn’t tip over.  I have heard about living on the edge, but never living at an angle…  I found it to be quite a fun challenge.

Michael: Last night was a totally new experience for me. When we were motoring towards Kittery our transmission pooped the bed. Before the crap-out, the engine had been surging and making strange noises. When the RPMs and the engine drone fell out of sync our Captain, James, went below only to find smoke in the transmission compartment. We quickly shut everything down and radioed for assistance.

Drifting in a quiet and black sea was eerie yet calming. I was assigned as the spotter on the foredeck, looking for lobster traps, buoys, and other vessels. Once it was clear that we were safe, I occupied myself with the spectacular stars.

Kate: As a dinghy sailor, from the Chesapeake Bay, I had never really sailed in the ocean before. It was an exhilarating experience that I would gladly repeat minus the slight seasickness. Getting to steer and tack the boat was a huge difference compared to laser sailing. The boat’s reaction time is much slower so I had to be careful not to over-steer the boat.

Raising and lowering the sails was a huge process that required almost the whole crew’s effort. Sailing after dark was also a new experience for me. Stargazing in the middle of the ocean was amazing and watching the beautiful sunset as we were underway was a priceless experience and my favorite part of our journey to Kittery.

Kaleigh: Dear Beloved Voyage Journal, As I gnawed on my first ginger chew, Captain James (we don’t call him that) said we were ready to sail. With all hands on deck, I struggled to establish my sea legs as we handled lines, cranked winches, and wrestled the gigantic white sheets to begin my first time as a crewmember on a sailboat. Voila! We were underway, and it was smooth sailing—such smooth sailing that as the vessel rocked slowly from side to side my eyes closed and my head fell to my chest as I lounged on the side of the cockpit. Bobbing back up, slightly embarrassed, I noticed the
same dozing demeanor on the faces of each of my fellow interns and my worry vanished. 

The voyage was marked by two thrilling basking shark spottings (!), navigation by numbered buoy markers, and a viewing of the eerie Boone Island as James retold the historical Spanish trade boat wreck story that nuances the land with haunted helplessness. Vivid sunset images eased my mind as my head hit the pillow in my cozy bunk aboard American Promise.

My observations... emergency training is priceless; when it seems something is wrong, have a thorough check - it probably is; and the natural beauty of the sea, stars and a few basking sharks is enough to eclipse seasickness, the ignominy of being towed and replace frustration with determination.

Good seeing the whole picture,

Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean

Today’s Report by: rzm and the crew

Report tags: all ages, inside, outside, expedition story, different perspectives on the same day

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