30 December 2010

Bon voyage, Sea Dragon

Helen Lockhart

After just 20 days in Cape Town, the Sea Dragon and her crew, including Plastikos creator Simon MAX Bannister, left for Walvis Bay (Namibia) on 28 December, 2010.

Once in Walvis Bay, several new crew members will join 5 Gyres Communications Director Stiv Wilson and Pangaea Exploration Expedition Leader Dale Selvam for the return leg that will take them across the South Atlantic to Montevideo in Uruguay. En route, the boat will stop over in Saint Helena, where the crew will have a chance to stretch their legs.

Upon arriving in Cape Town on 9 December, 2010, after 31 days at sea, co-founders of the 5 Gyres Institute, Dr Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins, finally met up with Simon MAX Bannister and they had the opportunity to see Plastikos at the Aquarium.

After seeing the exhibition, Marcus enthused: “We are blown away by what we have just seen – no other facility has dedicated space to the issue of plastic pollution like the Two Oceans Aquarium has.”

Having spent some time with Simon, Marcus and Anna extended an invitation to him to join the next leg of the expedition from Walvis Bay to Montevideo.

Thanks to donations from the PET Recycling Company (PETCO), Peninsula Plastics, Cape Storm and the Two Oceans Aquarium, Simon is packed and ready for a month at sea, during which time he will assist with collecting plastic samples as well as fulfil his duties as a deckhand, which include cooking and cleaning!

Simon is thrilled: “I am so excited – not only will I have the opportunity to see the problem of plastic in the oceans for myself, but I know it will inspire me and give me the momentum to take my work and message to new levels.”

Simon will keep us updated on his adventures at sea, so watch this space. He’ll also be giving a series of talks at the Aquarium on his return.

On 23 December, 2010, we bid farewell to Anna and Marcus as they took to the skies to return to their Californian base for Christmas.

Their visit to Cape Town and to the Two Oceans Aquarium has established the beginnings of a strong partnership, which will gather momentum over the next 18 months.

We discussed the possibility of a collaborative exhibit, dedicated to increasing awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans and showcasing potential solutions.

The plan is to invite several other aquariums to collaborate in this initiative and to open the exhibit in time for the 8th International Aquarium Congress (IAC), which the Two Oceans Aquarium is hosting from 9 to 14 September 2012.

“Powerful partnerships are key to the success of the Aquarium and to elevating the campaigns with which we are involved. We are really looking forward to working closely with Marcus and Anna and believe this is the beginning of a long friendship,” said Two Oceans Aquarium Managing Director Dr Patrick Garratt.

Bon voyage Simon, Stiv, Dale and all aboard the Sea Dragon.

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