Boat made of 12,500 recycled plastic bottles completes Pacific crossing

After four months at sea, on an arduous journey that spanned 8,000 miles of Pacific Ocean, the crew of Plastiki has delivered its environmental message on a sailboat made of bottles.

The 60-foot catamaran, which was constructed with 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, sailed into Australia’s Sydney Harbor on Monday to complete a journey that began in San Francisco with the hope of raising awareness about the threat plastic poses to the environment.

Many predicted the trip would prove too difficult for both vessel and crew, and it was exceedingly trying at times, as severe storms, sweltering heat and cramped quarters made life difficult for the eight men and two women aboard a strange-looking boat that held up remarkably well.

Afterward, expedition leader David de Rothschild, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, said on the NG website:

“The story has been told to us about plastic is that it’s cheap, it’s valueless, it’s non-toxic, it’s easy to use, and don’t worry about throwing it out because we can just make more.

“The reality is it’s not cheap, it’s not non-toxic, it’s not valueless. It’s valuable, it uses a lot of resources… We need to start taking a serious look at the way we produce and design every product we use in our lives.”

A blog post on the Plastiki website states that the vessel’s crew “were met by a welcome flotilla of boats and helicopters as they sailed through Sydney Harbor on theirway to Sydney’s Australian National Maritime Museum, where the arrival ceremony was held in front of a bustling audience of friends, families, press and supporters.”

The vessel’s name was inspired by Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 Kon-Tiki voyage from South America to Tahiti. Olav Heyerdahl, Thor’s grandson, was a crewman aboard Plastiki.

Fans of Plastki have followed the odyssey via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the photo website Flickr.

— Images pf Plastiki and crew in Australia courtesy of Plastiki website