07 December 2010

The Sea Dragon’s arrival is imminent!

Two Oceans Aquarium
The 5 Gyres expedition crew

We’re so excited for the arrival of Pangea Exploration’s expedition sailing vessel, the Sea Dragon, which is en route to Cape Town and expected to dock at the yacht marina today or tomorrow. The Sea Dragon is carrying the crew who are completing the first ever trans-Atlantic Ocean plastic-pollution research trip in the Southern Hemisphere, a voyage that will cover approximately 5 391 kilometres (3 350 miles) of ocean.

On Friday, 10 December 2010 from 10h00 the Aquarium, in conjunction with the 5 Gyres Institute, the United Nations Safe Planet Campaign and Simon MAX Bannister, will host a media conference on the crisis of plastic pollution in the oceans.

Then, on Saturday 11 December, you are invited to climb aboard the Sea Dragon between 14h00 and 20h00 to meet the crew and find out more about their important work. The beautiful Sea Dragon will be docked at the yacht marina next to the Aquarium.

You can also join us on 14 December at 13h00 for a presentation by the co-founders of the 5 Gyres Institute, Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen, as they share their research findings and tell us more about the enormity of the plastic problem in the oceans, the techniques used to trawl plastic from the oceans and what it is like to live at sea.

They will reveal roughly 50 samples of micro-plastics that they’ve collected en route as well as various macro-debris including crates, fishing floats, buckets and bottles.

“We collected 70 surface samples, skimming the oceans surface through a 0.33 millimetre mesh net. Every sample contained small fragments of plastic,” said Marcus Eriksen. As the crew neared the centre of the Southern Atlantic gyre, Marcus said, they “counted hundreds of large floating objects, including fishing buoys, nets, buckets, crates, water bottles and construction hard hats.”

The beautiful Sea Dragon

The crew also collected more than 80 fish, which they’ll analyse for the presence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). This will advance their research into whether humans are being harmed by eating commercially harvested fish that have ingested plastic debris contaminated with these toxic chemicals.

You don’t have to book but seats for Marcus and Anna’s presentation are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

For enquires, please contact Visitor Services on 021 418 3823 or email mailto:info@aquarium.co.zainfo@aquarium.co.za.

Click here to read about other opportunities to travel with the crew.

Click here to read the media release about the 5 Gyres project.

The 5 Gyres visit to Cape Town coincides with the Plastikos exhibition, which opened in the Aquarium in October. Produced by Simon MAX Bannister, Plastikos is a unique exhibition that aims to raise awareness about waste – particularly plastic and micro-plastic – and its impact on the oceans, through art.

Below is a short video depicting Simon’s process.

Plastikos - Max Bannister from African Renaissance Productions on Vimeo.

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