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Science sample at sea

Acclaimed Australian world record solo sailor Lisa Blair sails into the Sea Museum at Darling Harbour from Monday, October 2nd to share her incredible adventure stories, ocean science research and open her boat ‘Climate Action Now’ for the public to climb aboard during a week-long school holiday exhibition.

Lisa is presenting the historic findings of her extensive microplastic research done in the Southern Ocean during her 2022 voyage, analysed in partnership with the Australian Institute of marine Science (AIMS) revealing the shocking extent of microplastic pollution.

She set a new world record, becoming the fastest person in the world to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica and the first women to do so.  Lisa completed the journey in 92 days in 2022, taking 10 days off the previous record set by Fedor Konyukhov in 2008.

The exhibition Lisa Blair – Climate Action in Antarctic Waters showcases her exceptional sailing adventures, and you can meet her aboard the yacht, plus join a special free talk on Wednesday, October 4.

Lisa survived near misses, blizzards, waves the size of a 5-storey building and winds strong enough to rip the roof off a house.  Lisa and her vessel Climate Action Now were rolled three times upside down on the voyage. Regardless of the weather conditions she was still able to participate in the micro plastic sampling every day to achieve the impressive dataset.  

Through Lisa's Antarctica record, working in partnership with the (AIMS) and supported by the Integrated Marine Observing Systems (IMOS) and other agencies like the Australian Bureau of Meteorology she was able to record  incredible findings that are virtually impossible for scientists to attain from such remote locations.

"The logistical challenges of working in the remote Southern Ocean means continuous samples sets, such as that collected by Lisa Blair during her recent circumnavigation, provide us with a unique opportunity to establish baseline knowledge of this environment, and the data shows microplastics are everywhere,” said Dr Cherie Motti, research scientist with the Biomolecular Analysis Facility at AIMS.

Key voyage findings:

  • Microplastics found in every single one of 83 analysed samples
  • The highest concentration of microplastics sampled was found in the waters below Australia and is equivalent to 357,500 particles of plastic in an Olympic size swimming pool.
  • Fibres were more abundant than fragments, comprising 64.8% of all microplastics found. 
  • On average, the volume of water collected per sample was 1400 L and the distance covered was at least 200 km.
  • Provided data sets on ocean acidity, salinity and PCo2 for ocean health measurements with the 24/7 RAN micro lab
  • Supplied seafloor depth data to the Seabed 2030 Program
  • Deployed 8 weather drifting buoys and one A.R.G.O research float for the Bureau of Meteorology, becoming a mobile weather station
  • Contributed to the UN Decade of Ocean science through the Oceans Ops Odyssey Program

“I am a huge believer that as an adventurer I have a responsibility to our communities to support science. The Southern Ocean is such a data-sparse area of our planet and it would have been almost impossible for scientists to collect the data I was able to generate.”

“I want to see a happy and healthy planet and people won’t protect what they can’t understand so I try to share my love of the ocean and this planet with my records. I think all adventurers have a responsibility to become story tellers and communicators,” said Lisa, who was named 2022 Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

Lisa currently holds 5 world records in sailing and is working to establish two new World Record sailing events from Australia to New Zealand and around New Zealand.

“Sailing has become a fantastic avenue for me to create change, the more projects I complete the more impact I can create.”

Key Facts:

School holiday exbhibition and entry to yacht Climate Action Now from Monday October 2.

Free Talk and Tour on Wednesday Octobert 4.

Contact details:

Media contact for interviews, video and images: Carolyn Grant. |               P +61 407898727 | | Lisa Biography here. | Images here.


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