On Adventure, Innovation, and Spring Cleaning…

Fresh spring weather is here and with it some exciting boating-related news and activities – ahead of Opening Day. Several seemingly unrelated stories caught my interest and imagination in recent weeks.

The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is underway, and the racers have arrived here in Seattle from China. Have you ever undertaken, or wanted to undertake, such an adventure? I was inspired by this first-person account from Gary Purdom of Bainbridge Island, someone who has, who almost didn’t. He writes candidly about how he feels the experience changed him. The Clipper race offers a unique opportunity for amateur sailors to participate. I hope to tour their vessels and see them off on their journey later this week. In contrast, the professional, world-class competition, Sailing World Cup – Hyères is also underway now.

I was intrigued to learn recently of a pilot project that involves the use of cargo ships to detect and monitor tsunami waves. The author, James Foster, an Associate Researcher at the University of Hawaii, says, “The recognition that tsunamis can be detected from ships is a game-changer. There are thousands of large cargo ships sailing the shipping lanes across the world.” Outfitting these cargo ships with sensors will fill geographic gaps in coverage in a much more cost-effective way than deploying traditional ocean-based sensors.

March 11th marked the fifth anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which brought death and so much destruction to coastal communities in the region, including the loss of many boats. Boat builders in affected areas, including those who build Long-Tails in Thailand, have been kept very busy ever since. In light of the large earthquakes we’ve seen these past weeks in Ecuador and Japan, this improved tsunami detection technology can’t come a moment too soon.

Did you participate in Earth Day projects this month? April 22nd marked the 46th year for this event that provides so many benefits and results. I am always glad to see so many creative, focused efforts to build awareness of issues that need attention and resolution, as well as much-needed habitat restoration and clean-up projects. Our local activities included land-based neighborhood clean-up projects, as well as an art installation on one of our local beaches. Earlier this “Earth Month”, hundreds gathered for Duwamish Alive! – a concerted clean-up effort in multiple locations to restore our local waterways and wetlands.

Reflecting further on the spirit of Earth Day, I’ll share an innovative effort from further away that also caught my imagination. The Ocean Cleanup system is a technology designed to remove plastics from our oceans in a brilliant, yet simple way that takes advantage of the currents.

I do see some common threads in these seemingly-unrelated stories after all. These include being observant; thinking about and questioning what you see in the world around you; heeding your own thoughts and ideas (questioning those too, as needed); being willing to take action; and perhaps asking, “Why not now?”

Here’s to adventure, innovation, and spring cleaning – all things that make our day-to-day lives better!

Karen Berge

Karen Berge

I enjoy living in Seattle, where boating opportunities abound. My goal is to take advantage of them all!
Karen Berge

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