Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kilroy was here

...or I should say, thanks to Kilroy Realty Corporation, Rozalia Project was here (in Boston). This was a big, huge stop of the Trash Tour: full of trash now out of the water, full of kids and adults learning about the problem of marine debris and full of some excellent support that made this week happen.

It all started with a spectacular sail from the Cape Cod canal, along the Mass coast and into Boston. Luckily Will Lippit from Providence Community Boating joined us for the trip and thanks to his presence, we were able to keep the sails up and short tack our way up the last 2 channels into Boston Harbor into 27 knots with just the 4 of us (Smudge and Hickory stayed wedged between the edge of the cockpit and the liferaft so I am not counting them as crew for this trip).

American Promise and Rozalia Project were hosted by Couragous Sailing and their excellent team of instructors and directors. They could not have been more enthusiastic or accommodating and (through no fault of their own) in need of our trash pick up services. The very first evening we were there, Sloane and I walked the docks with the nets and picked up 174 pieces of trash, much of it micro plastic. The next day we rented a car and headed south as I had the honor and pleasure of presenting about Rozalia Project at the Woods Hole Public Library. This little town on the Cape is the home of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Sea Education Association, the Marine Biological Lab and a lot of smart, movers and shakers of the underwater world. One, Jeffrey Brodeur of Woods Hole Sea Grant, arranged the presentation and treated us to a tour of WHOI. We even got to see Alvin (and in a moment of joyous geekiness, we took pictures in the frame of this famed manned submersible) and we met some of WHOI's scientists and underwater technology pioneers. Very cool.

After Woods Hole, everything started heating up literally and figuratively. We were very lucky to have some well needed and excellent help from Susan Shingledecker and Alanna Keating from the Boat US Foundation who joined us on the boat at Courageous (yippee). We ran 2 full-on days with the Courageous Sailing program kids and the Charlestown Navy Yard basin where Courageous operates is a target rich environment. The VideoRay equipped with Blueview sonar and Lyyn image enhancement were working overtime to find piles of beer cans, bottles, a few bilge pumps, some boat parts and a fair amount of big debris. We had over 107 kids and instructors participating on American Promise as netters, tether handlers, sonar operators and copilots. The next day, we kept going with another 80 sailors joining in the trash hunt or coming back for more. Thanks to the Blueview sonar, we were even able to help a dive team locate an old mooring block for future removal (the visibility was so bad, that the diver simply could not find what he was looking for). We did another dock walk in addition to the work underwater and picked up another 593 pieces of trash!

Friday was dedicated to Boston Community Boating and the Charles River. We had visited
CBI last year as part of the pilot program so we knew they had a lot of sailors and another target rich environment and this year did not disappoint. They have a beautiful new dock system and we set up near the Western end. Right from the start we knew this was going to feature our most varied and interesting recoveries yet. In the record 102 degree heat we used the ROV to
pull up: a wind sock, cans, boat parts, a whole outfit worth of trash: shorts, socks, a sneaker
(Nike), baseball cap, belt, glove, 3 pairs of sunglasses (none of value) and a glow necklace. We also scored CBI back a full Mercury mainsail that had been purchased the year before and a 30'+ lifting strap. Our most interesting find of the day however, was a Hood milk bottle that, at our first round of research, appears to be very old. It is stamped 1938 on the bottom and we are still working on ways to confirm its age. We still have some of the micro-plastics to count from the day at CBI but we picked up well over 200 pieces of trash and had around 220 people join us during the day or in the afternoon for the Trash Bash. And we appreciate my parents coming out in the ridiculous heat to check out the operation and even help with the tether and netting some bottles, cans and plastic out of the water!

This was our biggest week yet and we have some important companies and people to thank for making it happen with their financial and in-person support:

Thanks to:Kilroy Realty Corporation
Boat US Foundation
Courageous Sailing
Boston Community Boating
Woods Hole Sea Grant
along with our tech partners (VideoRay, Blueview, Lyyn, Tritech and KCF) this week we...

-picked up 1758+ pieces of trash including an historic bottle, Mercury mainsail, 3 pairs of sunglasses, Nike sneaker and pirate flag
-had 407+ people of all ages participate in the program, help get marine debris out of Boston Harbor and the Charles River and get to connect with their underwater world

If you want to check out more photos from our Courageous stop, photographer Russ Bolt took some great ones. See:

We are now back in Vermont for a little bit of rest and then some solid work on the phone and on the computer. We have some projects that need finishing, people that need talking to, reports to make, a video to edit and we realized it will all be easier on land (and the dogs are thrilled). More later in the week as we look back at this first phase of the Trash Tour and plan for the next which will still be all about trash pick up action but this time with more of a research focus.

Thank you to everyone who made Boston week and the whole Trash Tour to date amazing. More stats and reports to come.

Stay cool.

rzm and the Rozalia Project/American Promise crew

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