My trip was off to a rocky start but I’ve arrived in Puerto Williams, Chile and spent my first night on the Sea Dragon (our ship) last night. After the long haul from New York City to the southernmost town in the world, I was tired and out like a light. We have been delayed a day and will start our plastic adventure before dawn tomorrow when we set sail from Puerto Williams into the Beagle Channel. In the coming days I’ll be talking to Anna, our on-board scientist, Clive the skipper and Dale the boat manager about their previous plastic expeditions — they’ve all logged a lot of 5 Gyres trips. So stay tuned on Inhabitat and Electrolux’s Vac from the Sea site for some interesting chats with the experts on board.

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The boat is incredible and outfitted with solar panels and wind turbines and every light inside is an LED. Our bunks are stacked one on top of the other — kind of like cocoons — in the stern and one bunk in the bow is dedicated to the ship’s laboratory where our on-board scientist, Anna, takes water samples and tests them for plastic-derived chemicals. It’s amazing how well designed the Sea Dragon is for its purpose – it is at once an amazingly earth friendly way to transport people and a self-contained laboratory.

Anna is able to take water samples, extract chemicals from them, analyze some of her findings and send the rest off to her colleagues in Sweden to do a more detailed analyses. The boat also has a trawling system that you can drop off the side to capture plastic samples from the waters while sailing. We haven’t delved into the science yet, but that part of our trip will commence once we set sail. For now we are preparing the boat for our journey to Valdivia, Chile — we actually swabbed the deck. We will be helping Anna collect water samples and I’ll be filling you in on all of the details. Stay tuned to the adventure on nhabitat and Electrolux’s Vac from the Sea Blog.

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Inhabitat Writer and Video Producer Brit Liggett was chosen by Electrolux to be a crew member on the latest 5 Gyres expedition. She is traveling along the southern coast of Chile helping the crew of the Sea Dragon study plastic pollution along the Chilean coastline. This post is sponsored by Electrolux