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Dr. Kris Ludwig is the
oceanographer and project
manager of Around the
Americas for the Pacific
Science Center.
The crew of Ocean Watch for the Around the Americas project: L-R, David Lee Logan,
first mate; David Thoreson; Captain Mark Schrader; and Herb McCormick.
The oceans are changing. When they arrive back in Seattle in the Passage when I did my first
Polar ice caps are disappearing at spring of 2010, they will have covered circumnavigation,” he said of his
an unprecedented rate. Coral reefs nearly 25,000 nautical miles, made record setting trip in 1982-83. “But
are dying. A rising sea level imperils ports-of-call in 31 cities and visited 11 with the Arctic ice pack, it wasn’t
shorelines and coastal regions. Acidity countries. possible at the time. In the past 100
levels are getting dangerously high, Mark Schrader, the Stanwood, years, only about 100 boats have made
threatening marine life both above Washington resident who has thousands the passage, most of them Coast Guard
and below the surface. Changes in of bluewater miles under his belt, ice breakers. Now, the conditions have
the marine environment have been knows well the perilous conditions of changed dramatically. We need to make
heavily influenced by human activity, the oceans. He is a veteran of two single- people aware of what’s happening in
endangering much of what sailors hold handed circumnavigations, and was the oceans before we lose the Arctic
near and dear. the first American to circumnavigate ice pack all together, before conditions
Now, a group of sailors have set the world via the five southern capes. become irreversible. Fortunately, some
out to do something about it. Sailors Now the project director of Around the other people shared my vision for the
for the Sea, an East Coast nonprofit Americas, he is hoping to add another trip.”
organization, has launched an first to his sailing credentials: the first One of those people was noted
ambitious campaign called Around the person ever to circumnavigate the sailor, philanthropist and member of
Americas to build awareness about the two Americas. In the process, he plans the Pew Ocean Commission, David
precipitous decline of the oceans and to to raise awareness and bring a full Rockefeller, Jr., who has been active
educate the public about what actions educational curriculum to thousands in ocean conservation for nearly
may be taken to protect these fragile of people. two decades. Together with David
waters. “The world’s oceans are at risk,” Treadway, Rockefeller founded the
Led by Northwest sailor and veteran he explained. “Around the Americas is Boston-based Sailors for the Sea in
circumnavigator Mark Schrader, a crew unlike any sailing adventure I’ve ever 2004 as a way to involve sailors directly
of six people will depart Seattle aboard captained, as we’ll utilize its dramatic with creating a healthier ocean. In 2006
Ocean Watch, a 64-foot steel cutter, at nature to bring public attention to Schrader pitched the idea of Around
the end of May ‘09, for a 13-month something so utterly important. the Americas to Rockefeller in the
circumnavigation of North and South This voyage will bring audiences Mediterranean, where Rockefeller
America, treating the two continents throughout many parts of the world was leading a marine environment
as one large island surrounded by an in direct contact with the health of our awareness campaign. Together,
endangered ocean. The expedition first oceans through scientific observation Schrader, Rockefeller and Treadway
heads north, sailing across the top of and evaluation. Our goal is to provide fine-tuned the project over wine in
North America, through the formerly a platform for scientists, researchers Naples, Italy.
icebound Northwest Passage, then and educators to bring the urgency “North and South America are
continues south along the coast of the of the issues into the forefront for the surrounded by a large, complex,
Americas before rounding Cape Horn general public. and frighteningly fragile ocean
and beginning the return voyage home. “I wanted to sail the Northwest environment – and these oceans are
48° No r t h , Ma r c h 2009 Pa g e 35
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