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Plastiki ready to leave New Caledonia

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Creature comforts aboard the Plastiki
  • NEW: Plastiki catamaran expected to leave this week for final leg of journey
  • Sailing vessel is attempting to sail across the Pacific Ocean
  • Purpose of journey is to raise public awareness about non-recyclable plastic

(CNN) -- Crew members of The Plastiki expedition are nearing departure from New Caledonia as they prepare for the final stage of their marathon cross-Pacific journey.

"Our last night in New Caledonia, I'm looking forward to the last leg and hope for some nice weather to get us to Sydney," co-captain David Thomson posted Tuesday on his Twitter account.

The Plastiki catamaran, made of recycled plastic, arrived in New Caledonia on June 28 for what was scheduled to be its last port call before its final destination of Australia.

While in New Caledonia, the Plastiki's crew, headed by environmentalist and adventurer David de Rothschild, prepared for what the crew expected to be a rough final leg after more than 100 days at sea.

As the catamaran has entered the Southern Hemisphere's winter weather, it will have to withstand the rain and strong winds expected between New Caledonia and the Australian shore.

Video: Strain of the voyage

Winds had ripped sails aboard the vessel, even before the voyage enters the worst of the weather, crew members said in recent blog postings. Crew members will use the stop in New Caledonia to ensure that the repairs can withstand the rougher seas that lie ahead. The pit stop will also be used to replenish the crew's food and water supply.

The vessel had last stopped three weeks ago at Samoa, where repairs to the catamaran's structure were made after it was discovered that beams supporting the boat had buckled and were out of place.

Weather allowing, the Plastiki will leave New Caledonia by this Friday to begin their home stretch journey to Australia's eastern coast. Crew members plan to head to Coffs Harbour and then Sydney.

The Pacific voyage aboard the 60-foot catamaran is intended to highlight the growing amount of plastic waste in the oceans and to spur public debate on finding ways to turn the waste into a resource.

Since departing San Francisco in mid-March, the Plastiki has traveled nearly 7,000 nautical miles.


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