Another quick update, I had a great chat to Andrea Lavigne from Victoria News a couple weeks ago and just recently was perusing their website to see if they had published it yet and came across her wonderful article. Take a look below…
Big blue thrill
By Andrea Lavigne
Mar 23 2007
Students combine work with a three-year, circumglobal surfing vacation
Call it a pipe dream.
What started off as banter over a few beers, has turned into a three-year research and outreach expedition.
University of Victoria graduates Hugh Patterson and Bryson Robertson share a love of surfing, sailing, adventure and activism; passions they plan to weave together in an exploration project called OceanGybe.
The journey begins this spring and will take them across the Pacific Ocean to remote islands and beaches in the South Pacific and beyond.
By studying ocean reefs few people have ever visited, they will provide documentation that will be used to estimate changes in marine pollution and/or deterioration in the future.
Robertson, a mechanical engineer by trade, is also completing his PhD thesis on the interrelationship between ocean swell and bathymetry – the measurement of ocean depths.
Queens University is contributing to the research by providing a hyperspectral camera that shoots light at a coral face and measures the light reflected back. From the light reflected back, the researchers can tell the what sort of community it is and the health of that community.
It’s a completely non-destructive method,Â he added.
They plan on sharing their findings with universities and environmental organizations and conducting school presentations along the way.
But it isn’t all work.
An avid surfer from the age of six, Robertson plans on surfing waves only accessible by boat.
“We hope to run into places that haven’t been surfed and hit islands that haven’t been destroyed by the new surf culture people jumping on a luxury yacht, drinking a bunch of beer, watching movies and surfing perfect waves getting back to the essence of surf exploration.”
Robertson has already experienced surfing in far-flung locations. His family moved from South Africa to Canada about 10 years ago. He’s spent the last decade surfing off the Island’s west coast and in that time has noticed increased garbage and pollution.
Hence, a heightened desire to do something about it.
While they’re looking forward to the adventure, Robertson admits he has some trepidation.
Sharks, pirates, rough seas? No, he’s more worried about how his relationship with his best friend, Patterson, will withstand the pressure of living in close quarters for long periods of time.
It’s even been suggested we go to marriage counseling, he laughed.
The pair recently purchased a 40 foot sloop that they’ve renamed Freedom. The sailboat was a natural choice for an expedition documenting the destruction of the world’s coastlines by garbage and chemicals, Robertson explained.
So far, they’ve funded the entire expedition themselves, but are looking for a sponsor. For more information on the expedition, to view their route, or to follow the trip, go to www.oceangybe.com.