Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Project-Kaisei - Sailing Vessel Kaisei

What does a blog about sailing vessels, what people do with trash, and an airplane nicknamed "Rivet Ball" have in common? As always truth is stranger than fiction and as is often the case these days Facebook plays a role. My cousin, Robert L. Brown, a retired teacher, active historian, and former Air Force Officer was at one time a crew dog on a plane flying out of a small island in Alaska, an island called Shemya. "Rivet Ball" flew out of the single runway on Shemya and along the Russian coastline capturing electronic intelligence and evidence of Soviet ICBM launches. The weather was terrible and landings were always a challenge. On one of those landings in bad weather "Rivet Ball" encountered slush and ice on the runway preventing the braking needed to stop. "Rivet Ball" slid off the end of the runway and ended up a twisted and broken bird but her crew escaped with minor injuries. King Hawes and my cousin were fellow crew dogs on the broken plane and have remained friends ever since. Recently I encountered King on Facebook and knowing the connection to my cousin we became Facebook friends. It was then that I learned that he has some very talented daughters, the youngest, Karen is maintaining a the blog Open Waters where she is documenting her experiences on the sailing brig Kaisei. The excerpt below is from her blog.

Kaisei Meets New Horizon

Kaisei Meets New Horizon

Just a quick update, because internet access is a little iffy out at sea. . . I’m traveling west and north, on the brigantine Kaisei – a tall-mast ship with Ocean Voyages Institute. We’re over 1,000 miles from nearest land, taking a short swim break in the deep waters. The crew of 25 are enjoying a much-needed break from the long days and short nights – or long nights and short days (depending on what shift you’re working)!

I’m onboard as the medic, engineer, and computer geek/website assistant to the blog for Project Kaisei – Sailing Vessel Kaisei. There’s a second ship, the New Horizon, which is also working with OVI on Project Kaisei.

Obviously, I’m also onboard for my exploration of trash, for Trash Trip. The fact that I’m out at sea, searching for the plastic vortex of trash, is a dream come true! I have known about the gyre but never imagined it possible to reach. We have seen plenty of bits and pieces of trash along the way but we have yet to encounter the elusive island of floating trash. The gyre is a big place and we’re a small vessel. If and when we do encounter it I can only imagine how that will feel!

Find pictures and updates about our ship at the blog for The Kaisei and I will post my own updates when I can and when I return. Thanks to all who have contacted me so far – I will reply when I’m back on land

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