‘Junk boat’ reaches halfway mark

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The crew of the aptly-named raft Junk, kept afloat by 15,000 plastic bottles, are celebrating somewhere in the middle of the Pacific blue. On Monday, they hit the halfway mark on their journey to Hawaii to raise awareness about the harmfulness of plastics in the world’s oceans, according to a recent report on their blog (http://junkraft.blogspot.com).

“We’ve crossed the 1,300 mile mark and the midway point of the trip in terms of miles traveled and miles to go,” states the blog. “On top of that we traveled a record 56 miles in 24 hours! If we keep this up, we’ll be home before you can say ‘I’m dying for something to eat besides fish and granola.’ ”

Junk is kept afloat by six pontoons stuffed with plastic bottles inside mesh bags made from fishing nets, and includes a small enclosed pilothouse that appears to be made from refuse airplane parts, a mast and a sail. It was built by Marcus Eriksen of the Algalita Institute of Long Beach,Calif., along with volunteers Joe Paschal and Anna Cummins, according to their blog. The vessel set sail June 1 from Long Beach Aquarium in Long Beach, Calif., crewed by Paschal and Eriksen, and they anticipate the journey will be completed in another three to five weeks.

Pitfalls have included the mainsail giving way and the galvanized wire securing the mast beginning to fray, but so far they’ve been able to make any necessary repairs at sea.

— Elizabeth Ellis

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