The GYRE Expedition, Alaska: Pam Longobardi's Field Report #1

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GYRE Expedition’s research vessel, The Norseman.

I am currently in Anchorage. I got here past midnight [yesterday], and take off for Seward at 7:00 am [Alaska Standard Time] to boat the ship and cast off. After more than 3 years in development, the GYRE expedition finally sets sail today, June 7, 2013!
Departing from Seward, Alaska and following along remote coasts of Kodiak Island and the upper Aleutian islands, the research vessel Norseman will travel for 10 days with a crew of artists, including Mark Dion, Andrew Hughes from the UK and myself, with scientists, policy makers and crew to discover, research, and gather the vast amounts of plastic waste on these shores.
After two scouting missions in 2010 and 2011, I can report untold amounts of material from all over the world on beaches so remote humans rarely tread. And now, the debris from the Japan earthquake/tsunami disaster of 2011 is arriving in droves. We are looking at hi-res aerial photos of beaches like this below (note:  the scale is deceiving, the black object on right side is a giant buoy, about 5 feet long…)
Image courtesy AirborneTechnologies Inc.
Image courtesy AirborneTechnologies Inc.

And check out our first video blog on National Geographic:

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Gyre is organized by the Alaska Sea Life Center and the Anchorage Museum.
The Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward, AK is a private, non-profit marine science facility dedicated to generating and sharing scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. The Anchorage Museum’s mission is to share and connect Alaska with the world through art, history and science.
The members of the 14-member expedition team that have been selected so far:
Expedition Leader: Howard Ferren, Alaska SeaLife Center
Curator: Julie Decker, Anchorage Museum
Scientist: Carl Safina, Founder and President, Blue Ocean Institute and host of PBS series Saving the Ocean
Project Artists: Pam Longobardi, GA; Mark Dion, NY; Andrew Hughes, UK; Karen Larsen, AK
Photographer: Kip Evans, CA
Filmographer: JJ Kelly, producer of Nat Geo/PBS ‘Battle for the Elephants’
Look for more posts and images coming soon from the field!
-Pam Longobardi

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