ÆRKE , 36, developed a passion for the ocean while growing
up sailing around Denmark. Now based in Fuerteventura
in the Canary Islands, she is project coordinator for the
Clean Ocean Project, a nongovernmental organization
founded in 2002 to fight plastic pollution and to protect the ocean.
During their time in Wrightsville Beach, the women were
named the first international ambassadors for masonboro.org, the
citizen organization dedicated to the protection of Masonboro
“Theirs is an authentic story, the same as masonboro.org’s,”
says Tom Hackler, the organization’s president. “I think we have a
shared mission statement to some degree, protecting the ocean, the
coast. Without the ocean, what’s Masonboro Island going to be?”
The women are united in their quest to expose the quantity of
the plastic in the world’s oceans and the damage it is doing to the
planet. They want to document what happens to far too much
plastic and how some recycling is not actually recycled.
“When we met, we talked about sailing together and we decided
to really raise awareness of plastic,” says Kiana. “Crossing the
Atlantic, there’s lots of plastic floating, single-use plastic, even
things like Crocs.”
The Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean
100 miles northwest of Africa, collect plastic.
“In the Canary Islands it’s microplastics; high tide is marked by
this microplastic blue line,” Kiana says.
Microplastics are pieces of plastic debris less than 5 mm in length,
resulting from the breakdown of consumer products as well as indus-trial
26 august 2022
waste. Much of it makes its way into the oceans, where it can be
ingested by a wide range of fish species from small to large. Plastic
ingestion by fish we eat is a growing problem.
“In the vastness of the ocean — a thousand miles from shore —
so far from human activity you see plastic floating,” Lærke says.
“There’s no beach in the world where you will not see plastic.”
While anchored in Wrightsville, Lærke and Alizé spent a few of
their last hours with Hackler aboard his boat, learning how to fish,
while listening to Pavarotti. John Murchison donated some of his
own fishing equipment and some he purchased from Intracoastal
Mara Noka log July 21, 2022.
3,767 miles from Wrightsville Beach to Portugal
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