Nic's Ocean Journey
In late July, our own Nic Fisher set out on an adventure few would dare to try - sailing across the Pacific Ocean for 12 days, on a 70 foot sailboat with just four other people en route from Oahu to Long Beach, California.
Nic began sailing when he was about 12 years old with his dad in Fort Lauderdale, FL. After a long break away from the sport, he returned to it when he was about 28 because of his continued fascination with the ocean. While he’d never done an open ocean crossing like this before, he had previously crewed and delivered boats from as far as Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A journey of this magnitude was something he’d never attempted before.
Together, the crew covered 2,600 miles across the ocean, taking turns doing day and night rotations to keep moving forward. They went a full 10 days without any signs of land, traversing an ocean desert that seemed to lack any sea life. It was a stark contrast to the abundant fish and wildlife they had enjoyed closer to the coast of Hawaii and as they approached California several days later.
Nic sent email updates to family and friends back home throughout the trip. “The most interesting thing to me is that we haven’t seen anything resembling life all day,” he said as they made their way for over a week through the ocean desert. “Out of all the miles and miles of ocean (it’s big!), the thing we see the most is trash.” It was something he didn’t expect to see.
From his account, there was debris every few hundred yards. “It amazed me that so far out in the ocean the effects of plastic pollution were still visible. We snagged netting and ropes, avoided plastic containers, and marveled at the Styrofoam.” On more than one occasion, they had to back the boat up and clear the rudder of the trash in which they’d become entangled.
While most people will never set out on an adventure like this across the ocean, much of the world does get to experience other water sources on a daily basis. “This isn’t a problem that’s limited to the ocean. People experience pollution in our rivers, lakes, and waterways every day.”
Nic’s biggest takeaway? “The ocean is so vast, but it is so fragile, too. It’s huge, but it’s still a finite area. It might cover three-quarters of the planet, but that is three-quarters of this planet. We only have one, and there’s only so many places this stuff can go.”
Regardless of climate change and who or what deserves the blame, humans must find a solution to the mistreatment of plastic refuse. It’s not going to go away on it’s own.
In the spring, Wild Swell began a campaign to spread awareness of and provide education about plastic pollution, in which we partnered with Plastic Oceans and raised funds to support the development of their next short film documentary “A Plastic Ocean”. While Nic’s trip across the Pacific was not related to his work with Wild Swell, he felt compelled to share his story, as his experience directly relates to the problems that are created by single-use plastics.
Much needs to be done to help our oceans and find alternatives to single-use plastics. To learn more about plastic pollution, its effects, and how you can help, visit our Spring Dream campaign page to learn more.
Written by Lauren Ennis