Fourteen of us are aboard the 72-foot sailboat Sea Dragon researching plastic pollution in the western accumulation zone of the North Pacific Gyre between the Majuro, Marshall Islands and Tokyo, Japan.

Another voyage in June 2012 from Tokyo to Honolulu will focus on identifying tsunami debris from Japan. Both voyages are lead by 5 Gyres and Agalita Marine Research Foundation and include scientists, artists, filmmakers, activists, product developers, divers, and sailors. The voyages’ research goals include conducting surface samples of plastic pollution every 50 nautical miles and identifying large marine debris objects.

Currently, we are approximately 50 miles from Bikini Atoll, one of the most northern atolls of the Marshall Islands, and have already spotted plastic debris in the ocean, including a plastic tube and plastic cup. We expect to find much more plastic pollution and possibly tsunami debris after the next 400 nautical miles, once we enter the heart of the western accumulation zone. Though less than 10% of Japan’s tsunami debris is expected to be within the western accumulation zone, southeast of Japan, we expect to find evidence of the tsunami out here that will help the world understand how large scale weather events have longterm impacts over 1000s of miles and across entire oceans.

We start research tomorrow on the 350 Day of Action!