Open House at the Institute

Feb 19 2012

Amidst all the rush, push and craziness of our final refit stages, Sea Dragon and her crew took two full days for a public open house. We chose the Dana Point Ocean Institute, about halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles CA. On top of all this we even squeezed in our annual UK Maritime and Coastal Agency (coast guard) survey – Tim Petit flew in from London! Departure for the core 2012 expedition to cross the Pacific and back is set for the 23rd. Taking time to engage the public like we did this weekend is what we really do. The last several months have been all about the “stuff” we have to do, just to be able to to get out and do our real mission- sail the world’s oceans for conservation, education and exploration…

IMG_1804
The Dana Point Ocean Institute is a perfect example of exceptional environmental education. They do the hard, constant, day-after-day grunt work of exposing thousands of people – principally school kids and their teachers- to marine conservation issues. All the high profile work that scientists and agencies do all over the world- including our Pangaea team – means nothing were it not for this last mile. These are the people – in organizations like them all over the world that make it happen. They take the data, the photos, gear, stories and occasionally the actual people and translate them into powerful lessons that all of us must learn. Without the connection to real people, the citizens that make the daily decisions affecting our oceans – nothing we do matters. I personally view this connection as far more critical and vital than all the lobbying and policy discussions some find so attractive. The fortunate among us live in democratic societies that ultimately, only do what we ask them to do.

So this weekend, Sea Dragon – as is her way – did most of the talking. Her sleek gray hull now with over 100, 000 sea miles on her stood firmly at the dock as hundreds of people took her in. They saw the machine- with powerful sailing gear spanning almost 120′ vertical feet from keep to mast. Electronics, her complex systems, working cabin space and huge amounts of gear conveyed a sense of pure capability. The team, led by Dale Selvam, made you believe in the mission and the ability of this team to go out there and get the mission done in almost any conditions. She was wonderfully complimented by the team at Algalita Marine Research and 5Gyres- most spectacularly by Captain Charles Moore talking to a full hall on Saturday.
IMG_1850
Together, something much more important comes across- a commitment to serve. We as a team are guided by the wisdom and hard work of so many before us. Two of our mentors come to mind. Patagonia founder Yvonne Chouinard put it so simply… “In order to do good….you have to do something (see post May 2010) Finally we are never far from the graceful syntax of the the Lorax:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get Better. It’s not.

Thank you to all who came to see us the last two days.

Ron