This past weekend, in a house perched on a cliff North of Santa Barbara, 30-plus people gathered in the living room to discuss the logistics of the 260-mile ocean voyage down the California coast, set to get underway the following day. The home, belonging to friends of the crew, is an earthy labyrinth of adobe huts, hidden rooms, and caves whittled into the cliff. It was the perfect backdrop for this eclectic collection of humans. Lead by the original Transparantsea crew--Dave Rastovich, Chris Del Moro, Hilton Dawe, JJ Jenkins, Howie Cooke, Justin Crumb, and Will Conner--and accompanied by a massive support party, which includes musicians, artists, activists, and other like-minded people, the team will spend the next three weeks making their way from Gaviota to Mexico on a fleet of sailing kayaks as they raise awareness for local coastal issues.
In 2009, the crew embarked on the original Transparantsea voyage, a 400-mile trek from Byron Bay to Sydney, following the migration of humpback whales and raising awareness about the threat raised by Japanese whaling fleets.
For this trip, however, the crew has also decided to focus on educating local communities about the major environmental issues plaguing each particular county--in Santa Barbara, an event at the Maritime Museum on November 28 will spread awareness about cargo ships striking whales in the Santa Barbara Channel, as well as the threat of development along the Gaviota coastline; in Los Angeles, the event at the Malibu Inn on October 7 will focus on saving the Malibu lagoon (and the wildlife and adjacent pointbreak which depend on it); in Orange County, an event in Dana Point will spread awareness about the efforts of the Ocean Institute Education Program; and finally an event in San Diego will educate the community about acoustic pollution issues.
"The central thing of the whole trip is the shift from being exclusive to being inclusive,” says Dave Rastovich. “At [professional surf] contests, everything is boxed off, there are security guards. So if you want to talk to a professional surfer, or anyone in that scene, you have to have clearance, or somehow know someone, or be valid in some weird way. I've never really liked that, so I'm stoked when we get something like this happening. It's always about making it so that people don't feel like they are imposing by coming along, it's not intimidating. Groms and great grandparents and everyone in between can come, and have a chat to everyone."
"There's so much [surf] industry and media in Southern California, but I feel like environmental issues only get touched on a bit or are just kinda used for marketing purposes," says Chris Del Moro. "Personally, I feel like they don't get enough attention. It's great to have a campaign like this that's open to everyone. If anyone wants to come join us and surf, and hang out, we're totally open to it. It's not about us being pros or us surfing well; it's about learning what's going on here and how we can be better custodians to this coastline."
The crew will sail 3 to 5 hours each day as they camp their way down the coast, making new friends, cleaning beaches, surfing, and spreading the gospel of earth-loving along the way.
"You can live in a town and not even know that there is a little grassroots group there doing work to make sure we've all got a wonderful place to live,” says Dave. “If we all just did a teeny bit for those groups, for those who make it their lives to do this work, if we all just did a teeny bit to support them, it would make the world of difference."
Visit Transparantseavoyage.com for more info.