Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mile countdown and tainted cans

July 8, 2008
Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999! At 4:20pm we passed the 2000-mile mark at roughly 24N latitude, 122W longitude. It’s a HUGE landmark in our journey and mental stamina. To celebrate we’re going to dice one of the few remaining cabbage cores (we peel off wilting leaves daily, leaving potato-size, white, bitter cores) and add a bit of pesto sauce. The strips of cabbage look like pasta, and the more we mumble words like “bowtie, penne, linguini” while we eat it, the more we think it is. For our main course, carrot soup with a can of vegetable medley mixed in. Joel has become an expert at identifying the contents of de-labeled cans based on the faint serial numbers printed on top.

Speaking of cans: Have you read Our Stolen Future by chance? The authors describe in fascinating detail, the impact of synthetic chemicals on our lives, including that thin plastic film lining the inside of metal cans, like the ones we’re eating from. Most of the canned veggies on American grocer shelves are lined with Bisphenol-A, the building block of polycarbonate plastic. It keeps the metal from degrading and prevents that metallic taste liquid can quickly absorb. What’s interesting about Bisphenol-A is the ability of this manmade compound to mimic estrogen.
Bisphenol-A has been found to leach into surrounding liquids at room temperature and remain bioactive, even after consumption. Scientific studies have linked Bisphenol-A to tumors in mammary glands and the male prostate, insulin resistance, and endocrine disruption, resulting in the disruption of sexual development of males and females invitro. What’s startling is that it only takes a few parts per billion during critical windows of development to cause lifelong effects. The last thing you want is a little Bisphenol-A, and it’s estrogenic properties, swirling around your male fetus when he’s trying to develop testicles...

Back to our voyage.

We’re going more west than south now. We average a bearing of 240 degrees, with a range of 10 degrees either side. Two months of this, hopefully less, and we’ll be eating poke and fresh pineapple, sans can.


Kelly said...

I just found your website after seeing a great banner on smart2begreen.com. They had a great write up about recycling and there you were to the right. Very cool idea!

Anonymous said...

Marcus, Joel, and you too Anna,

You guys are truly inspirational!

I think you are nuts, but you're inspirational nuts.

At first I wondered if you brought a fishing pole along, but then I realized,.. what's within 100 feet of the surface 'way out there, .. a few migrating whales and an occasional jellyfish?

Then it hit me, even if there were fish,.. you're not likely to catch much using beans as bait.

Isn't there someone sailing a big boat to Hawaii who can deliver some take-out to you guys?

Seriously, sailing a junk raft for three months for an environmental cause is admirable. Sailing a junk raft for three months eating cabbage cores and canned carrot soup is . . . well, .. if you start to see pink elephants dancing on the horizon, that will be nature's way of telling you to come back and get a bigger sail and a keel, and maybe one of those companies which make those freeze dried meals for backpacking could provide some alternative meal planning.

Lastly, where IS your PR? Has anyone called NBC, CBS, . CNN, .. How come I don't see an "update" on the plight of the starving junk raft environmentalists cruise on Leno, Letterman or at least Stephen Colbert?

Promoting the cause of plastic in the ocean is truly worthy and deserves attention, .. But a better story, and one which is likely to catch the attention of the media is the story of 2 guys drifting/sailing on a pile of junk, 1,000 miles from shore, who have run out of fresh food, and are down to some unlabeled cans of beans and soup, . . and still have 2 months and over 1500 miles to go, .. Regardless of your mission, your current situation is a much more compelling story, and a way to get attention.

Hell it's Hemmingway-esque,..

So, if you're going waste away, and suffer like a couple of shipwreck survivors, looking like a pair of characters carved out of beef jerky, .. drifting at sea, you should at least get LOTS of publicity.

Ask everybody in your network to call their local TV station, go on-line and send e-mails to the news directors, . . and the newspaper editors, ask why there are no stories about those two guys on that raft in the pacific who are slowly starving while promoting the issue of plastic in the ocean. On a slow news day in the middle of summer the press has to be looking for something to talk about besides the fires and the heat wave.

I can hear the lead-in . . "Here's a couple of guys who've found a way to beat the heat this summer, .. They're sailing across the pacific to draw attention to the growing problem of plastic in the ocean, .. The only problem is, .. their sail boat is a leaky raft made out of a crashed airplane, junk, plastic fishing nets and bottles, . . and just to make it interesting, . they’re a thousand miles from anywhere, a month behind schedule .. and they've run out of fresh food."

You'll need some video clips, or a series of clips and photos edited together so they have something to talk over, .. The "beans, corn or peas" clip, is perfect. Emphasize the gruesome struggle you're willing to undergo to get your message across, .. that's your hook.

Down play the Hawaii angle, .. it makes it sound like you're on a leisurely vacation cruise to Maui.

If you get somebody like the Today Show, or GMA to pick up the story, and come back every few days to see how you're doing, .. you'll raise the awareness of millions of people. ABC might make your plight a re-occurring feature, if you offer them “exclusive” access, they’ll come back to see if you’ve fallen overboard or are still alive and eating beans.

Here’s segments, .. what about those big ocean liners, .. what about storms, .. what if one of you got injured,.. how long would it take for a rescue vessel to reach you ? . . Follow that with the human drama, .. how’s your family holding up?

I don't even know you guys and I'm rooting for you, and I'm worried about you.

Good luck fellows, ..

Jonathan Oliver
Santa Rosa, CA

The Fuel Dock/Ala Wai Boat Harbor said...

Hi Anna,

Joel phoned me last night. I am Carey Johnston, the manager at the fuel dock (Magic Island Petroleum) in the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor. Joel used to keep his boat here. We are going to provide dockage for them when the arrive. We also talked about the possiblity of having a welcoming party here, etc. No problem. I'll try to keep up with their progress.

Please dont' hesitate to contact me if you need help with anything else. My cell phone is 808 927-0160. The fuel dock phone is 808 955-8160. Our email is magicislandpetroleum@hawaiiantel.biz

One question, how will they dispose of the junkboat after reaching Hawaii?


nate said...

whats this about cabbage and cans? I thought joel was surviving on tequila, you mean all those 2 liter bottles are empty? oh boy. well it was great talkin to ya the other day that phone works better out there than mine does in my kitchen. hows the fishin been were headin to kauai tomorrow ill let you know how we do. heres a link for an interview for the hawaii dog foundation hope you can see it or maybe they can post it. peace out!


Anna said...

Thanks for checking in Kelly, and for passing on the link!

And Jonathan, all great ideas....sounds like we need you on board our PR team! Seriously, if you have a sec, would love to chat: annacummins@gmail.com

We should have some more news coverage in the next week or two, but could always use more - were a small team of 3, 2/3 of which are on the raft.....

Alicia Doerflinger said...

Hi Joel, Marcus, & Anna... I have been [quietly] following your blog.
Please tell Joel that Sophie & I are in NY, and that we have been tuning my NY family & friends into your journey.

Sophie would love to see her Uncle Joel on GMA; I'd wake her up to let her watch you on Letterman!

We are teaching Sophie to say "Joel" and "Junk!"

We can't wait to see you in Hawaii.

Ali & Sophie

Anna said...

From Marcus:
Hey Jonathan Oliver,

Thanks for the long response to our blog. We aren't withering away yet. Of the perishables remaining, we still have three cores of cabbage and 8 pounds of cheddar cheese. Our non-perishables are mostly granola, grain and peanut butter. We've caught a few fish, which are now dried and bits are hanging inside the cabin.

Here are a few answers to your questions.
Ocean liners? Haven't seen one yet, but we have an AIS system that beeps when anything that big gets within 5 miles of us.
Storms? That is a realistic fear. We are heading into waters where Hurricane Boris traveled through last week. We would like to more west faster, and no more south. But we have no control. We pray for no major storms.
Injured? We figure it will take a week to get picked up by another ship nearby. Usually the Coast Guard hails any vessel traveling in the vicinity. Hopefully, a week or less. We do have surgical supplies on board in case something major needs immediate attention.
Family? Everyone is holding up fine. Joel and I are pretty confident in the craft we and the volunteers for our organization have built. It's already stood up to 40knot winds without anything happening that we can't fix.

Thanks for writing to us. What do you think we can do from sea to get more people paying attention to the plastic waste issue? I would love to hear more of your comments.



hi, keep up the good work you folks are very courageous, especially when most of the U.S.A. is oblivious to the problem. It pains me to say that but from what I have seen and heard it is, unfortunately true. I winter in Florida and was appalled to find no mandatory recycling program. Perhaps we could embarrass them in to it by i.d.ing them and publicizing it. Good Luck, Cliff