15/06/2007 | by Mark Patterson
Vancouver, British Columbia – As surfers, we all dream. Living in Canada, and trying to squeeze in sessions between snowstorms, wind warnings, arctic storm surf and 3:30pm sunsets, we all dream of the good life. We dream of the tropics, of boardshorts, and crystalline aquamarine water. At night we fall asleep, and dream…
You wake in the pre dawn, and slowly become aware of your surroundings. With the wisps of dreams from a deep and fitful sleep scattering from your mind, you realize that the day ahead of you is yours to do with as you please, in the tropical paradise that currently surrounds you. You lie still with your eyes closed and savour the pre-dawn moments, sounds and smells. You become aware of the gentle rocking of your bunk as the boat sways at anchor, timed perfectly with the gentle creak of the fruit hammock in the galley. The familiar and pleasant ache of your body stands testament to the five sunny hours spent in perfect aquamarine waves the previous day, as does the warmth in your skin. It is time to get up.
You roll out of bed, pull on your boardies and climb the steps up the companionway. The splendor of the surroundings before you makes you gasp. You look around you and allow yourself to be immersed in the purity of the moment: The boom of surf crashing on the outer reefs and the whisper of the gentle offshore breeze in the palms on the beach. In the foreground, the brightening sky is reflected off the oily ocean in a kaleidoscope of color, dulled in places as the offshore breeze touches down in rippling goose bumps – almost as if the ocean itself is awaking from its slumber. As you look toward the beach, the light has strengthened just enough for you to pick out the tell tale line of garbage deposited on the beach from the nocturnal high tide…
During a recent trip to the Mentawai and Hinako Islands, we became very aware of this line of garbage. No matter what island we managed to visit, this omnipresent line of garbage ways always present, reminding us that we all have greater impacts that we imagine. This line of garbage on these deserted beaches, on islands in the middle of nowhere, is why OceanGybe was created.
OceanGybe is a surfing and sailing voyage of discovery and awareness. In June 2007 Hugh Patterson, Ryan and Bryson Robertson will be leaving the west coast of the Baja peninsula aboard their 40ft sailboat “Khulula”. Searching out and riding uncharted reef breaks is not the only goal of the trip; it is an expedition to spread awareness about the sheer volume of garbage afloat in the oceans. In a society where the majority of folk seem to care less about the ocean than they do about their ocean view, this problem has already reached scary proportions. Even more alarming is how little is known about it – the ocean is so vast and so unreachable that it is hard to imagine it being filled with garbage. What we see washed on the beaches is a tiny percentage of what is actually out there.
The OceanGybe expedition will sail across every ocean in the world studying, documenting and spreading awareness on ocean borne garbage. Partnered with organizations such as the Surfrider Foundation and Queens University, this expedition aims to educate younger generations on the hefty environmental responsibility their generation must bear as a direct result of the apathy (and general ignorance) of ours. All the oceans are connected, which means that all our garbage is shared: A kid dropping an empty pop bottle into a river in North America may result in that same pop bottle being caught up in the fishing nets of a similarly aged kid in Ecuador, or French Polynesia, or Malaysia! The simple fact is that the human race cannot survive without a healthy ocean.
Throughout this voyage, Hugh and Bryson will be seeking out every opportunity to do presentations and talks at schools, universities, Surfrider meetings, sailing clubs and other gatherings of like minded folk. At this stage, a rough itinerary has been drawn up but still allows room for the trip to evolve whilst underway.
Visit www.oceangybe.com to keep up with the voyage and their research findings as well as stories of adventures and waves encountered along the way. Surfer’s Path will be following the crew over the duration of the trip and providing continual updates both on the website and in print. With this global initiative, the OceanGybe crew hopes to sew the seeds of ocean conservation the world over.
– Bryson and Hugh