Just like every sea basin across the planet, the Java and Banda Seas are filling up with plastic. Indigo V Expeditions and SeaTrek Sailing Adventures in Bali hope to help change that.
SeaTrek Sailing Adventures was founded more than 25 years ago and has been headed by Seattle couple, John Priebe and Marla Araki, for the last 18 years. The company is now taking steps to position itself to be a conservation-oriented company driven by marine-based tourism. Director Frank Hyde is heading up the effort utilizing his 20-plus years as an architect, wooden-boat builder, cruising sailor, and wannabe marine biologist. These mix of interests is what brought SeaTrek and Indigo V together.
Indigo V Expeditions will be equipping the fleet of SeaTrek’s traditional boats with their proprietary sustainably powered auto-sampling device that will filter out microplastics from the sea. Guests on board will have an opportunity to collect the filtrate and see first-hand the effect that plastic is having on the environment.
Sampling off the boat in Ambon Harbour.
SeaTrek Sailing Adventures runs cruises aboard their historic wooden boats around eastern Indonesia, offering an unparalleled opportunity to experience orangutans, Komodo dragons, swimming with mantas and whale sharks, snorkeling on amazing coral reefs, viewing land and seabirds, and most importantly, immersion into the culture of Indonesia. Now, for the first time, they will be adding a microplastics component to their program.
SeaTrek Bali shares the same values with Indigo V Expeditions in that both are both concerned about the effect plastics are wreaking on the planet. There are the obvious deadly problems with larger pieces of plastic, but marine plastics break down into smaller pieces, which have infiltrated the food web.
Hatta and Tony working the pump.
“Plastics in our environment is probably the biggest catastrophe we will face this century,” Rachelle Lauro, Indigo V co-director, says. “Think of every little piece of plastic as a vessel, carrying pathogens and toxins and depositing them into every life-sustaining crevasse of the planet. Plastics make their way up the food chain and ultimately end up on our dinner tables.”
Associate Professor and Director of Indigo V Expeditions, Federico Lauro says, “Protecting this great wilderness is hugely important as it provides food not only for the world’s largest mammals, but also for us humans.”
Frank Hyde, director of SeaTrek Sailing Adventures, says, “We are so happy to find Rachelle and Federico Lauro to help us in our efforts to connect guests with the ocean. This programme gives us and our guests an important purpose. The ocean supports all of us, and it is a pleasure to be able to help protect its health. Working with innovative and determined-to-help people like Indigo V gives us and our guests a lot of hope for the future".
"We are very proud to be a part of Indigo V Expeditions vision for a clean renewable future,” continues Hyde. “As a sailor myself, it’s tremendously exciting to see the merging of oceanography, sailing, technology, and citizen science that allows us to help make major breakthroughs in solving this tremendously important problem."
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