At Lenovo we love passionate people fulfilling their dreams especially when it’s for a good cause. Paul Sharp from Two Hands Project is committed to ocean conservation and is actively involved in marine wildlife rescue. In 2010 he founded the Two Hands Project to address the growing problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. So what is Two Hands Project? The message is simple, take two hands and 30 minutes to clean up yOUR world anytime, anywhere and you will make a difference.
Paul recently embarked on a world first expedition from Japan to Hawaii to survey the debris from the devastating Japanese Tsunami. He will also document the plastic pollution of the great North Pacific Gyre. With an onboard International Documentary team filming their findings and his trusty ThinkPad X220 powering his research, we follow this amazing expedition with regular updates from Paul.
Joining the 5 Gyres/Algalita Marine Research Foundation 2012 Japanese Tsunami Debris Expedition has meant acquiring some new gear as my 4 years old laptop just couldn’t cope anymore. Goodbye trusty friend. The learning curve in new software and gear is a small challenge that I have to get up to speed before we sail. Thanks to Lenovo and Adobe for supporting Two Hands Project with gear (ThinkPad X220) and imaging software.
“Your storage space will be in a box next to your bunk, dimensions – 50cm x 40cm x 26cm” Really? Wow. Trying to minimize my pack list for the month at sea has been a challenge. If I wasn’t committed to documenting the voyage I think I could meet the space limitation, though my ThinkPad X220, cameras and audio recording gear take up more space than my personal supplies!
I am currently in Yokohama Bay Marina, Japan, on the Sea Dragon, waiting on a replacement alternator before we set sail. To set sail without this vital piece of equipment will compromise our ability to generate electricity, and could become a safety issue so we wait.
With the extra time available and in order to understand the debris we are seeking in the Pacific Ocean, some of the expedition crew and I volunteered to travel to Fukushima to clean up the tsunami debris. It was a mind blowing experience.
We were assigned to help an old lady, Kazuko Sakaida, and her property was in the nuclear exclusion zone. This meant we were faced with a snapshot of the disaster, as it looked in the days after the disaster. Due to nuclear contamination no clean-up crew had ventured to the area until now.
Working with the Japanese volunteers to help Kazuko Sakaida was a humbling experience. The Japanese people have a quiet resilience to adversity that is inspiring. Visiting some of these areas hardest hit by the tsunami and working to help repair the damage has added a dimension to this expedition which I never anticipated.
The Sea Dragon has been steadily sailing east since departing Yokohama port. The GPS puts us at 33° 15.9' North, 151° 3.6' East. Weather allowing, we'll be heading North East soon to survey the projected tsunami debris field.
I can understand how people fall in love with the ocean. This is my first ocean passage and we've had some uncomfortable sailing (one of our life preservers was lost to a hungry swell, torn from its mountings) yet the North Pacific is beautiful, with endless rolling swells and seabirds, whose wing-tips are inches from the waves, our only company.
My first dawn watch saw me at the helm as the sun rose, a rose glow peaking through grey clouds, like a touch of warmth over a grey ocean. If you can imagine London, completely submerged by seawater, grey skies and grey swells, you can picture the North Pacific.
Today we start sampling and surveying. One of the crew members, Marcus, is collecting some water samples for Woods Hole Institute and our first trawls are underway.
The Sea Dragon has now been at sea for 14 days. The weather has kept us from heading north, though even at these lower latitudes we have found tsunami debris and plastic pollution.
Yesterday, while taking my habitual post on the bow with the net, plastic was floating past every minute or so. I spotted a Japanese hard-hat, the bucket from a toy dump-truck and several crates. I successfully netted a fishing buoy as well as a jar cap and numerous plastic pieces. Most interesting was a fluorescent tube. We see a lot of tubes and light bulbs, though they are delicate on land, they weather the open ocean well.
Our most significant find yet has been the entire bow of a Japanese fishing boat, with identification markings intact. Assuming the records weren’t destroyed in the tsunami, we’ll be able to trace the owner and home port of the boat. Finds like this are sobering, we don’t know whether we’ll find the owner alive and well, or if they were one of the many fatalities.
The sailing is great, though I wonder if we are ever going to dry out. Regular squalls dump rain on us and errant seas lash us with saltwater. I am wearing my last dry clothes, a pair of board-shorts. Pre watch ritual involves climbing into sodden foul-weather gear before climbing up on the deck. Sunshine, if it arrives, will be greeted with a mad laundry rush, with rails of the Sea Dragon flying a variety of clothes as if they are signal flags.
I'm back on dry land, preparing for our upcoming events in Manly and Bondi Beach. The voyage was incredible; we achieved the expedition goals despite delays and having to dodge two typhoons.
The ThinkPad X220 was great, perfect size and durable. I wouldn't hesitate to take a machine like this on any tough expedition. The keyboard handled the odd bit of sea spray and condensation with no problem. I love the drain holes on the bottom of the machine, it was brilliant! On the whole a great machine, I can't wait to see how the ThinkPad X230 raises the bar.