So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain, American Author
Friday, June 18, 2010
OCEAN WATCH: Seattle-area Sailors Complete First Circumnavigation Of The Americas
PORT TOWNSEND WA -- The first American to singlehandedly circumnavigate the Earth's five Great Capes docked the sailing yacht Ocean Watch at the Northwest Maritime Center pier Wednesday to spread the word about environmental threats to the world's majestic, resilient seas.
Capt. Mark Schrader, windworn but still cheerful, marked the Ocean Watch's 52nd stop -- the last being back at home in Seattle's Shilshoe Marina -- which nearly completes a more than 27,400-mile educational expedition circling the Western Hemisphere.
The expedition is called Around the Americas.
Schrader, a Nebraska native and longtime Camano Island resident who is now 63 and sailing toward 50 years on the water, began his 382-day expedition in May 2009.
The mission of the journey is to raise money to sail the Northwest Passage with a crew of five.
He shared the 64-foot steel-hulled vessel with a crew that included a writer, videographer, educator and scientist.
After raising about $1 million, they plan to produce a documentary film and book about the trip intended to instill awareness about the pollution and plastic waste that fouls oceans and their marine life.
Schrader, who spoke in Port Townsend on Wednesday, said he plans other speaking engagements to help raise the money.
Draw attention to oceans
"Our mission as a voyage was to draw attention to our oceans," Schrader said in an interview aboard the sleek Ocean Watch -- which uses sails made by Port Townsend-based Hasse & Co., owned by sailmaker Carol Hasse.
"We talked with people about the issues in each area and shared those stories elsewhere in the world," Schrader said.
"People are finding they have a lot in common."
Schrader twice sailed solo around the world. He became the first lone American to circumnavigate around the five Great Capes in 1982-'83.
He later met David Rockefeller Jr., a philanthropist and avid sailor, and couched the idea of a trip through the Northwest Passage.
They decided to combine sailing, education and science to increase awareness about marine conservation.
The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, the philanthropic wing of the jewelry company, and Unilever also made generous donations to what became a voyage costing around $2 million instead of the originally budgeted $6 million, Schrader said.
Tiffany promotes that fact that it uses no corral, a threatened marine species, in its jewelry.
Northern sea changing
During that voyage, Schrader said he saw firsthand how the northern sea is changing.
"Global warming is not a political issue, it's a reality," he said firmly.
"It's a phenomenon in which the ice is going away, and is changing cultures."
Young children in Cambridge Bay in the Northwest Passage, for example, are eating potato chips and soda instead of the native foods they once hunted and consumed, such as polar bear and seals.
"Child diabetes is at epic proportions," he said.
"How do you teach young men how to hunt now that the ice is gone and all the polar bears and seals are gone?"
Regardless, Schrader said he was encouraged that at least some of the thousands of young people who have boarded Ocean Watch during the Around the Americas voyage will help change how the world looks at ocean pollution.
"I think it takes every one of us to make it better," he said.
Must protect oceans
Sailors should be more active in attempting to protect the oceans, said Schrader, who views himself today as more of a steward than explorer.
"I have to say, across the boat, boaters have been pretty apathetic," he said. "They are not paying attention to pollution and plastics" in the sea.
Because of plastic pellets from discarded water bottles and trash thrown overboard, he said, "Obviously, there aren't any more organic fish out there."
People can make a difference by not buying bottled water, he said, and ports can help by not charging ships for trash disposal.
Although the voyage did not encounter the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Schrader called the ongoing spill, which began in April, "a disaster of epic proportions.
"I don't think anybody realizes how awful it's going to be, but I hope I am wrong," he said.
The Ocean Watch stopped in Neah Bay on Tuesday, he said, so that those aboard could learn about the state-funded emergency response tugboat based there, a safety net to protect ships and barges from grounding.
"I was glad to hear my tax dollars are going to something like that," he said.- - - snip - - -Tom Banse(2010-06-17)
Courtesy of AroundtheAmericas.org
SEATTLE, WA(N3) - A sailboat from Seattle will finish a history-making journey Thursday. The crew believes it's the first to circumnavigate the Americas, a feat made easier by arctic warming. KPLU's Tom Banse reports.
Full story Just over a year ago, a 64-foot steel hulled sailboat named the Ocean Watch and her four person crew left Seattle. They set course for Alaska and then sailed a big circle clockwise around North and South America. Previously, the barrier to such a trip has been the ice-packed Northwest Passage across the top of Canada. Arctic warming makes that more passable now. Captain Mark Schrader says he's ready to trade the blue of the ocean for the green of his small farm north of Seattle.
Mark Schrader: "It's the end of the voyage, a completion of something that we don't think anyone else has ever done -- not that that is terribly important. But we've had the most amazing opportunity to talk to people at both ends of the world and everybody in between."
Schrader explains the adventure had a larger purpose, to raise awareness of threats to ocean health. He says he was particularly discouraged by the amount of trash and plastic debris in the Pacific, which he says could so easily be prevented with just a little care and consideration. I'm Tom Banse in Olympia.
Event: Flotilla welcoming and shoreside arrival ceremony Details: The Ocean Watch crew returns to Seattle after a 28,000 nm circumnavigation of the American continents. Free and open to the public. Preceding the shoreside ceremony boat owners are welcome to join the homecoming flotilla which will include a Seattle Fire Department fireboat. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Date: Thursday, June 17th, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm Location: Shilshole Bay Marina Plaza (adjacent to the marina offices and I dock), 7001 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98117
Event: Dockside open house Details: Meet the crew, tour S/V Ocean Watch, learn about onboard research and participate in hands-on marine science activities led by the Around the Americas Education Team from the Pacific Science Center. All ages welcome, no cost to attend. Date: Sunday, June 20th, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm Location: Fisherman's Terminal Guest Dock, 3919 18th Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119
Event: Public presentation featuring David Thoreson's images from throughout the Expedition Details: Led by Ocean Watch Captain Mark Schrader and Onboard Scientist Dr. Michael Reynolds. All ages welcome, no cost to attend. Seating is first come, first serve. Enter at main gates on the north side of the center starting at 6:30 pm. Date: Sunday, June 20th Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) Location: Pacific Science Center Eames IMAX Theater, 200 2nd Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109