Awaiting the yacht Sea Dragon in Walvis Bay, Namibia on the Skeleton Coast surrounded by thousands of Flamingos, hundreds of Pelicans and many Dolphins reminds me of growing-up. When everything was new and exciting, still to be learnt and discovered. Then, with the passage of time the complacency creeps in, as individuals and as a collective race we have been there, seen it, done it.

A century ago there were great discoveries to be made, great places to be conquered, it seems that now we can only better previous achievements. I recently watched a documentary about El Capitan a huge Granite wall in Yosemite National Park, only decades earlier it had taken the first team of climbers days to ascend sleeping on the rock face. Now, recently a young climber summited in a day, free climbing the entire route. Man has an insatiable desire to push the boundaries, search for new challenges and accomplishments, always looking to discover new things. Following the recent discovery of the issue of plastics in the ocean we are now exploring the South Atlantic to quantify the exact scale of the issue here, something new.

What has unfolded in the years since this first ‘discovery’ is the scale of the issue. We are increasingly aware of our wasteful use of resources, our consumeristic lifestyles, now the oceans like the Canary in the Coalmine are being observed. Years of neglect and their assumed infinity is showing. Synthetic products do not de-grade like wood, paper and card, metals and glass they only photo-degrade in the environment, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, but still they exist. All courses lead downstream to the Ocean from all points on the planet, many rivers, one ocean, to where we are inadvertently diverting far too much of our synthetic waste.

We are intent of establishing the size of the issue, for me it is enough that it even exists. I have seen enough plastic out here to know that something has to be done about it. A new and this time unwanted discovery on our planet.

Clive Cosby

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