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East Coast Odyssey - Setting sail to catch the ‘colourful killers’

by Roger Dickeson on 27 May 2013
Two Hands Paul Sharp with Plastic Collected from Beach hero. Roger Dickeson
East Coast Odyssey is looking for people with a sense of adventure and a passion for preventing our oceans from becoming a ‘plastic soup’.

The nature tourism, scientific research and conservation project, East Coast Odyssey, will be the first expedition of its kind to tackle insidious micro-plastics in Australian waters.

A passionate scientist, a peripatetic tall ship sailor, two new generation garbologists, a beautiful 22m ketch, and a mission, a very important one, will launch in August.

Captain David Nash, one of the project founders, said the East Coast Odyssey was an historic opportunity to take a low-impact holiday, feel the amazing sensation of a wooden ship under sail at sea and contribute to vital research.

The mission, under the supervision of Monash University’s Jennifer Lavers, is to collect data on the millions of multi-coloured plastic remnants killing marine wildlife at an alarming rate off Australia’s spectacular east coast.

The restored 1930s Danish vessel Yukon will depart from Hobart to sail Australia's coastline trailing a fine gauge neustonic net designed to pick up surface traces of plastic being ingested at important seabird foraging sites.

But the mission is only possible with the support of lovers of the open ocean keen to board the Yukon for any of her 14 legs from Hobart to Brisbane and south again.


'The project’s success rests entirely with people who have a sense of adventure, would love a memorable holiday and want to stop plastic poisoning our oceans,' Wildiaries founder Simon Mustoe said.

With the assistance of the Two Hands Project, the expedition will also highlight the major influence coastal communities have on stopping the ‘colourful killers’, plastic debris poisoning wildlife and polluting pristine beaches.

Studies have found awareness of micro-plastics’ devastating effects is very low, a trend Dr Lavers and the team want to reverse.

'East Coast Odyssey is a wonderful opportunity to help us see what is really happening on our patch - it’s crucial we find out how much pollution is out there so we can find solutions that will make the biggest impact,' Dr Lavers said.

Guests can join the East Coast Odyssey from Hobart in August by booking a berth with nature-based travel specialist Caroline Densley at Diverse Travel (08 8234 8324) carolined@diversetravel.com.au

East Coast Odyssey is a project involving Yukon-Tours, Wildiaries, Two Hands Project, Dr Jennifer Lavers, Ian Hutton Tours, Marine Action Conservation Society and yachtsman David Pryce.

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