SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY
SEAPLEX PROGRAM – PROJECT KAISEI
The founders of Project Kaisei, Mary Crowley, George Orbelian and Doug Woodring, are all experienced Ocean people. The water is their life, they are around the Ocean constantly and they knew that the alarming news about Ocean plastic trash announced by Captain Charles Moore was a serious threat to Ocean health and consequently all life on this planet.
They decided that the best way to find solutions to the problem of marine debris was to bring in top scientific research. George Orbelian reached out to longtime friend, environmental attorney Mark Massara. “Who’s the best Ocean science person that you know?”, Orbelian asked. “Jim Dufour – Scripps Institution of Oceanography – here is his number.” Mark answered. Orbelian called, Jim answered, a conversation of several hours took place and within days George Orbelian was meeting Jim Dufour at San Francisco International Airport and they were on their way to meet Mary Crowley to see her vessel, the 151’ Brigantine Tall Ship, “KAISEI” in Point Richmond, California on San Francisco Bay. After discussions that went on through the next day, Jim returned to San Diego and checked with his wife Rose about availability of Scripps research vessels that could be deployed to the area. Typically, the vessels were all scheduled for two to three years in advance, but coincidentally the 174’ New Horizon was scheduled to sail from San Diego, California to Newport, Oregon during the Project Kaisei expedition window. Jim called George, “We can divert the New Horizon to meet the Kaisei.” “How many days can you give us?”, asked Orbelian. Jim answered, “Two or three, we may be able to get four, Rose is checking now and figuring out what may be possible.” “Please ask Rose to get us all the days she can,” requested Orbelian. Within days, the Project Kaisei / Scripps Institution of Oceanography – SEAPLEX expedition was a reality and the next call went out to TJ Marbois and Kendall Nishimine of Ojingo Labs. Orbelian asked, “TJ, what is the best technological support you can imagine for our expedition?” TJ answered, “The new Apple iPhone is coming out in June, (2009) and will have video capability. We can geo-code our video comment system BlipBack so that all the videos taken during the voyages on both vessels will be available in virtually real time.” Orbelian asked, “Can you do that in two months? We sail at the beginning of August?” TJ answered, “We’ll work with our friends at Apple and Google and make it happen.” The folks at Scripps were very pleased with the results and told Orbelian, “Your team at Ojingo Labs took science out of the classroom and laboratory and shared it with the world in real time – the whole campus is aware of this expedition – this is a first!” Project Kaisei and the the Scripps Institution of Oceanography SEAPLEX programs received Google Earth Hero recognition in the fall of 2009, as well as being recognized by the United Nations Environmental Program and participating in the Clinton Global Initiative.