I’ve been pretty absent from this space lately, but since I’m off on another sailing adventure I thought I’d post an update. 2014 was a little rough with the NASA UAS Airspace Operations Challenge being cancelled after many hours of hard work put into it, then my motorcycle accident in October almost costing me my leg, and putting a big hole where my knee used to be. After getting reassembled from spare body parts, I’ve spent the first half of 2015 getting back to walking, kneeling, squatting, cycling and sailing, and am pretty much 85% operational again. Naturally it’s time to get back on the ocean, and what better way to do that than deliver a 46-foot carbon sportboat from Honolulu to San Francisco. My friend and occasional SHTP nemesis Ronnie Simpson is skippering. SHTP reigning champ Steve Hodges and boat guru/all around badass Walt Kotecki round out the crew, for what promises to be a fun trip.

As a bonus, we’ll be taking part in The Ocean Cleanup’s first-ever MegaExpedition, a survey involving 40 other boats, and aimed at studying the distribution and composition of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. For much of our crossing we’ll be trawling a contraption with a net, taking samples from the first foot of water, cataloging them and storing them so they can be shipped to Delft Technical University in the Netherlands for analysis when we arrive in San Francisco. The samples have to stay wet and cool, so we’ve been provided with a little fridge, which I suspect will also keep some of our food and drink cool, since all-out race machines generally don’t have refrigeration. In addition, we’ll be doing periodic visual surveys of the water around the boat for bigger pieces of junk that don’t make it in the net. I think as a whole we’re all pretty excited about this, despite the extra workload involved, and the fact that slowing down to trawl six hours a day will probably extend our trip by a day and a half at least. As sailors we get to see how mankind has been polluting our oceans, and it’s great to be part of one of the first efforts to remove trash from the ocean. You can help too by avoiding plastic bags, bottles, wrappers, and packaging!

You can track Varuna here.