exxpedition: Making the Unseen Seen


The Parley-supported expedition crosses the North Pacific Gyre and finds a record amount of plastic.
 

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Led by Parley Ambassador Emily Penn, eXXpedition is a pioneering all-female sailing voyage and scientific research mission raising awareness of the devastating environmental and health impacts of single-use plastic and toxics in the world’s oceans. Parley is supporting the current North Pacific mission, which consists of a crew of 24 women ranging from scientists and environmental engineers to designers and filmmakers.

The first leg of the expedition reached Vancouver recently from Hawaii and reported back to Parley HQ on the journey so far. Here are some of their thoughts and findings from the open ocean.

 
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“How do you convey – when you wake up on day four and you’re still seeing this plastic pouring past the boat. The feeling just makes my stomach clench.”

-Emily Penn

 
 
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“We took a small sample of the ocean water today. We poured it through a series of screens to filter out its contents. This is what we found: over 1000 pieces of plastic. One of the densest samples eXXpedition has ever recorded." – Michelle Byle

 

 
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“As we get to know each other better, we’re also learning about each other’s superpowers. All of us coming from different fields allows us to collaborate in a multidisciplinary way, all attacking the problem from different angles.” – Eleanor Church

 

 
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“We are about as far away from civilization as one can get. Yet here, all around us, is evidence of our daily lives on land. Our choices. Our purchases. This is your old toothbrush, my empty shampoo bottle, the lid to his coffee cup.” – Michelle Byle

 

 
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“As we were putting out the manta trawl into the water today, Siri spotted a huge mass of tangled fishing nets. It measured around 5 meters wide and extended even deeper below the surface. Scientist Nikolai Maximenko had given us a tracker to put on a piece of marine debris. This gigantic mass of ghost fishing gear will now be tracked as it moves around the ocean for the next several months.” – Michelle Byle