Friday, June 6, 2008

Unique ocean voyagers at sea in small boats

At least three small boats are plying the Pacific with environmental missions as you read this.

Two of them are single-handed efforts, the other having a two-person crew.

(Image: Rower Roz Savage in her little boat, from her website,

Here are some details on each, and where to track them.

Japan sailor Kenichi Horie, 69, is bobbing the Pacific between Hawai'i and Japan, a 4350-mile trip, aboard his boat Suntory Mermaid II. He left Honolulu March 16, 2008.

The twin-hulled vehicle has a pair of aluminum fins under the bow that convert the power of waves into forward movement. So his "engine" uses no fossil fuels.

Horie is more than three-quarters of the way to Japan. See his progress at his website,

Meanwhile, long-distance rower Roz Savage left San Francisco May 24 and is nearly two weeks into an attempt to row her aluminum boat from the West Coast to Hawai'i.

Her attempt last year was cut short when she was repeatedly rolled over in rough weather. This year her boat is outfitted with 200 pounds of lead in the keel to be more stable.

Follow her voyage on her website, where she's blogging and posting photos from sea: There's lots of environmental information on the website.

As this is written Friday afternoon (June 6, 2008) Savage is beset by a storm off the California coast.

A few hundred miles south, another unique boat is waiting out the storm in at San Nicolas Island after departing Long Beach Sunday (June 1) before heading across the ocean to Hawai'i.

This is one of the stranger boats you'll see. It is made of trash. Its hulls are constructed of 15,000 plastic bottles encased in netting. Its cockpit is an old single-engine Cessna 310 airplane body. The deck appears to be supported by a framework of old sailboat masts.

The boat's name is Junk. The crew is Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal. They plan to sail downwind to Hawai'i behind a big square sail, which is used. Their goal is to bring more attention to the issue of ocean pollution and marine debris.

They expect the voyage to take six weeks, which should put them in Hawai'i in mid-July. Follow Junk's progress at the blog

© 2008 Jan W. TenBruggencate