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Christmas in springtime: The Plastiki finds land

The photo from Matt Grey of the Plastiki expediton, shows kids on Christmas Island.
The photo from Matt Grey of the Plastiki expediton, shows kids on Christmas Island.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Plastiki crew reaches Christmas Island 39 days after it set sail from San Francisco
  • This is nearly the expedition's halfway point and is the first time the crew touches land
  • The crew interacts with the local community and promotes their message of sustainability

(CNN) -- More than a month after the Plastiki set sail from San Francisco, the six-person crew has made it to Christmas Island, nearly marking the halfway point of the ship's journey to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Upon their arrival, the crew was greeted at by local residents who performed cultural songs and dances, as well as offered them drinks and chocolate -- traditional treats on the Republic of Kiripbati island.

The vessel embarked from San Francisco on March 20. The arrival on Christmas Island is the first time since the ship left California that that the crew -- David de Rothschild, Jo Royle, David Thomson, Olav Heyerdahl, Vern Moen and Max Jourdan -- disembarked from their ship, constructed of more than 12,000 plastic bottles.

After participating in the arrival ceremony, the crew members spoke to 1,000 high school students about the importance of recycling, and led a discussion to address the challenges the students face in their own efforts to promote sustainable practices.

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The crew had the additional opportunity to interact with the local community while the Plastiki was re-stocked and underwent a maintenance check and minor repairs.

Also on Christmas Island, filmmaker Moen will leave the Plastiki to return to California, where his wife gave birth to their son last month. In his place, Graham Hill, the founder of environmental website Treehugger, will be joining the crew.

The Plastiki has sailed 3,617 nautical miles of it 11,000-mile journey. Its final destination is Sydney, Australia.