TransparentSea Environmental Initiative: A Modern Voyage with Ancient Creatures
September 29th - October 25th
Sunday 2nd October, 2011 (Gaviota Coast, California, USA): A group of environmental activists led by Australian professional free-surfer Dave Rastovich (31, Byron Bay, NSW) set to sea north of Santa Barbara yesterday on a one-month voyage to the USA-Mexico boarder. Called "TransparentSea" the environmental initiative aims to highlight local coastal issues and the plight of marine mammals.
During the 260-mile (418-kilometer) odyssey the group will be joined by like-minded individuals and a rotating roster of special guests as they kayak and surf their way south, making more than 20 stops to engage communities and draw awareness to key issues.
Among those on the first leg from Gaviota Pier to El Capitan (in Santa Barbara County) were Australian actress Isabel Lucas and her singer-songwriter boyfriend Angus Stone.
Before the 18ft twin-seat Hobie kayaks were placed in the water for their maiden voyage, a beach-clean was undertaken in conjunction with the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Chairman, Sandy Lejeune, was on hand to represent the Foundation in the region he is fighting to protect from development - the Gaviota Coast is home to the last remaining 20-mile stretch of undeveloped rural coastline in Southern California.
On Thursday night at the local Santa Barbara Maritime Museum a fundraiser kick-off and awareness night saw over 300 paying guests enjoy music by Australian group Band of Frequencies, the recently completed documentary "Minds in the Water" was screened and a silent art auction held with all proceeds being forwarded to the not-for-profit "Surfers for Cetaceans" (S4C) group Rastovich helped co-found in 2005.
Kristi Birney, Marine Conservation Analyst for the Santa Barbara Environmental Defense Center spoke of local efforts to reduce ship strikes on blue whales in the Santa Barbara channel. The channel boasts one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, but also the densest population of blue whales, the world's largest animal.
The TransparentSea team will make four key stops on the journey south and encourages participants to attend and help promote the following key issues and events:
TRANSPARENTSEA VOYAGE L.A. PARTY
Malibu Inn, Malibu - October 7th
(Save Malibu Lagoon)
TRANSPARENTSEA VOYAGE O.C. PARTY
Dana Point, Ocean Institute, October 16th
(Ocean Institute Education Program)
TRANSPARENTSEA VOYAGE S.D. PARTY
Venue TBC – October 23rd
(NRDC Acoustic Pollution Issues)
Following the final function in San Diego, key members of the group will then continue overland on October 25th to the grey whale's mating and calving lagoons located in Baja California, Mexico
"Our group is acting as a voice for the global surfing community, focusing on ocean issues and primarily cetaceans, which include dolphins, whale and porpoises. California is a major surf industry hub, and also where a lot of surfers take active roles in defending their coast so it is a great privilege for our group to be able to join in those efforts and further the movement."
Chris Del Moro:
"Even though we have a lot of urban sprawl (in California), we also have a lot of nature that we should celebrate and protect. We have a lot of issues with coastal run-off - just last week we had a 20-million gallon spill that was quite the omen for us and our trip; in a way reiterating that we have a lot of work to do here in California. It's a beautiful place, but needs a lot of loving."
"It's hard to not want to be involved with this type of thing (TransparentSea). Once you have an interest and a passion for something, you have a natural desire to want to protect it and nurture it and love it and see other people do the same thing. We're just a small group of people and – one step at a time – we can all do our part knowing it does make a difference."
The first TransparentSea voyage took place in 2009; a similar initiative which saw the same core group of activists travel 700km (434 mile) over 36 days down Australia's Eastern Seaboard, successfully highlighting the plight of humpback whales.
The TransparentSea group includes Californian surfer and artist, Chris Del Moro (San Diego, CA, USA), Australian musician Will Conner (Byron Bay, NSW), world-renowned surf photographer Hilton Dawe (Byron Bay, NSW) and professional women's longboard champion Lauren Hill (FL, USA), plus a small behind-the-scenes production team.
For more information on TransparentSea including detailed route information and key dates, transparentseavoyage.com/events
For bio information on the TransparentSea participants and crew, go to transparentseavoyage.com/crew
Want to contribute or volunteer? Go to transparentseavoyage.com/action
A big thank you goes out to the following companies who share in the overall vision and goals of the TransparentSea voyage and are helping it happen: Billabong, Sanuk, Hobie, Fast Lane, North Face, Etnies & Clif. Additional contributing sponsors include Toyota, Surfline, Sector 9 and Electric.