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March 17, 2015 Eric Cardenas, LoaTree
Trans-Pacific ‘Green Coconut Run’ to set sail end of March
Promoting Island Protection: Cruising 15,000 miles with a Cause
SANTA BARBARA, Ca. – Later this month, a three year journey called ‘The Green Coconut Run’ will set sail across the Pacific and link protected areas from California to New Zealand.
Inspired by the beauty of the Channel Islands, the crew aboard the 42 foot trimaran Aldebaran will be diving, surfing, and creating a route that supports the conservation of remote islands.
A spin off of the famous ‘Coconut Milk Run’ — used to describe the downwind voyage along the South Seas taken by hundreds of ‘cruising sailboats’ every year — the ‘Green Coconut Run’ is a sailing route that visits wild and protected areas. The trip is spearheaded by the Aldebaran Sailing Cooperative, a group of young marine ecologists, environmental professionals, and artists from around California. Their goal is to encourage other sailors to cruise on the Green Coconut Run and lend a hand to island communities.
“It’s like a Pacific Crest Trail for sailing,” explains Ryan Smith, previously a project manager at a conservation investment group and now Aldebaran’s development director. “It’s a route connecting vast regions which helps us appreciate the majesty of Nature.”
The Green Coconut Run begins in California’s Channel Islands, hugs the Pacific coast of Central America down to Panama, and then west across to the Galapagos, Tahiti, Fiji, eventually ending in New Zealand. The journey will cover more than 15,000 miles.
Along the way, the Aldebaran crew will meet nonprofit conservation groups and responsible businesses that steward protected areas, using video and photography to share their stories and raise awareness about their needs.
This first year, Green Coconut Run is partnering with ‘Adventures and Scientists for Conservation (ASC)’. On behalf of ASC, the crew will sample for micro-plastics and promote the global campaign to assess the quantity and impact of micro-plastics around the world.
“This is another way cruising sailboats can help,” says Ben Best, a PhD candidate in marine ecology and Aldebaran’s science advisor. “With today’s GPS-enabled phones and cameras, we can crowdsource data collection, which opens up new possibilities for science.”
The end goal of the voyage is to support the health and vitality of islands and oceans by harnessing the collective network of cruising sailboats and the general public.
“Cruisers are in a unique position,” says Kristian Beadle, captain of Aldebaran. “We can bring resources to island communities and collect data from far-flung places. We’d like to make ‘cruising with a cause’ a reality.”
“This is how we are living our dream while also making a positive impact,” says Sabrina Littée, the ship’s nurse and dive master. “We hope other people can be inspired to do the same.”
To participate in the journey, visit www.GreenCoconutRun.com. The Aldebaran Sailing Cooperative seeks sponsors (gear and funds) and nonprofit partners to collaborate with along the route. To learn more, contact Ryan Smith at greencoconutrun at gmail dot com. Photos available upon request.