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Net zero | cleaning up the outer Hawaiian islands

At Sun Powered Yachts 1% of all our sales since February 2021 has been going directly to help the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project (PMDP) clean up the outer Hawaiian islands. We are always keen to help raise awareness of their hard work and wonted to share an article in the Hawaiian Airlines in-flight magazine Hana Hou!

By DW Gibson

Here's just a small teaser, for the full article with awesome photographs click here

The forecast predicted thunderstorms, but Kevin O’Brien didn’t think much of it. Over the fifteen years he’d been coming to the remote atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, he’d never encountered lightning that presented any real threat to divers or boats. That day last summer off Kapou (Lisianski Island), however, was different. A few thunderclouds gathered and quickly passed until one stalled overhead. “It just stopped right over the island and continued to build until it was about twenty-five miles in diameter with lightning striking the water and the island all around,” O’Brien recalls. “It got pretty sketchy.” 

O’Brien reminded his crew of their training: Hunker down in the vegetation, stay away from the tallest growth and minimize contact with the ground. Everyone wrapped themselves in the black contractor trash bags they use to collect plastic and other debris and waited out the lightning for several hours while O’Brien worried about hyperthermia setting in. Everyone kept their spirits up by belting out Katy Perry’s “Firework.” The first line—“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?”—felt particularly relatable. Eventually there was a lull, the crew bolted from the island and made it back to their vessel unsinged. 

The next morning they got up and went straight back into the water to resume their work. Over the course of two month-long voyages, each filled with grueling fourteen-hour days, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine Debris Project (PMDP) aims to cut and remove two hundred thousand pounds of marine debris and abandoned fishing nets from the delicate coral reefs of the world’s most remote atolls.... 

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