David de Rothschild is no ordinary person; and certainly no ordinary adventurer. The son of Britain’s Evelyn de Rothschild of the famous Rothschild banking family, and a known adventurer and environmentalist, David has already accomplished a number of feats in his 31 years, including crossing both the Arctic icecap and entire continent of Antarctica, including reaching both geographical poles.
His love for plant earth and concern for its environment has resulted in his launching of what appears to be his most harrowing feat of adventure to date. And that feat entails sailing a homemade craft made almost entirely of discarded plastic bottles, tied together by web mesh.
His destination: the gigantic “plastic island”, located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and made up of waste plastic and other material – and said to be almost twice the size of the American state of Texas.
His voyage, a journey of nearly 11,000 nautical miles, will begin off the State of California, continue until reaching the “island” now floating in an area known as the Great Pacific Gyre (southwest of Hawaii) and finally ending in Sydney Australia. The improbable voyage, on a craft made up of the same type of flotsam that the “Plastic Island“ is said to be made of, is to make people aware that our oceans, the giver of much of our planet’s food and oxygen sources, are in danger to being turned into nothing but floating garbage dumps; and as a result will make life on earth even more threatened.
The journey, which was to have begun in March, 2009, was delayed until mid-summer, which could make de Rothschild’s trip even more perilous due to the occurrence of typhoons and other serve storms which are more prevalent during the summer and autumn months.
Following his journeys to both geometrical polar regions, David led an expedition to the Ecuadorian rain forest in South America, in order to monitor the effects that oil drilling and other man-created ecological endeavors are having on one of the last remaining virgin rain forest regions on earth. The damage that this drilling is having on this region, in order to obtain more greenhouse gas creating fossil fuels, is most disturbing, he notes.
The 60 ft catamaran craft, made out of 12,000 plastic bottles and other recycled plastic material woven into self-reinforcing polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a very strong webbing material , will be his home and that of his crew during the voyage, which he says will take about three months. “The only worry I have (concerning the voyage) is that I get sea-sick in a bath tub. But when one is as committed as I am to do such a thing, it will be done” he says. The craft that he and the small crew of scientists and ecologists will sail on has been named Kon Tiki, after the primitive raft that Norwegian adventurer and writer Thor Hayerdahl used to cross the Pacific Ocean in 1947. The main difference now is that the gigantic plastic island they are sailing to was much smaller then – if it existed at all.