Marine litter in the Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands are located right on the edge of the great pacific garbage patch, a natural ocean gyre that accumulated enormous amounts of litter over the past couple of years. About 70% of the artificial debris that enters the ocean eventually sinks to the ground but the rest, mainly plastic, keeps floating around until it either brakes down to micro plastic or ends up on a shore. The great pacific garbage patch brings so much plastic to the shores of the Marshall Islands that it is sometimes hard to see the beach under the plastic.

A littered beach in Aur, a typical scene at the shore line

There are international standards (e.g. by UN and OSPAR) to measure the amount of pollution by conducting systematic beach cleanups: all litter within a certain stretch of beach is collected, sorted into categories, counted and weighed. Doing this on multiple beaches and over a longer period of time allows to track the origins of certain litter items and give valuable recommendations for stricter policies to politicians.

Plastic paradise in Majuro

Surprisingly we could not find any publication about the amount of beach litter in the Marshall Islands. Therefore Henrik conducted such a study on his own back in 2022. Since this was a purely voluntary effort it took a while to analyze all the data and write everything down but now we present you the first Baseline Study on Beach Litter in the Marshall Islands. This is still a very small study with limited data but at least its something. More research is urgently needed, it would be great to continue this work as part of a properly funded project.

A Vision is Turning into Reality

For centuries, the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) have been celebrated for their exceptional prowess in boat building and sailing. They regularly journeyed between atolls on expansive offshore canoes called Walap, some stretching up to 100 feet in length. Within the tranquil lagoons of their coral atolls, smaller outrigger canoe designs were used for tasks like food gathering and fishing. The NGO Waan Aelõñ in Majel (WAM) as part of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implemented Low Carbon Sea Transport project has revived the traditional knowledge and made it fit for today by merging it with contemporary technology. The new canoe designs offer much needed emission-free options for transportation and fishing. We have been supporting WAM and the Low Carbon Sea Transport project for the past 6 years and are very proud to see more and more of “our” yellow designs being used on the lagoons.

For more information check out the full article on This short movie shows the activities and achievements that took place at WAM in the past 6 years:

Video and article by GIZ Majuro.

Side Event at COP 28

Waan Aelon in Majel (WAM) and GIZ will present the Low Carbon Sea Transport Project in the Marshall Islands as a side event on the international climate conference COP28 in Dubai. The live stream starts 12/09/2023 | 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time):–1

See here for further information!

End of sailing season

Winter really kicked in recently so made the decision to use a lovely Sunday breeze and sail to our spot for the winter in Surendorf. It was a pleasant 4h sail in a light but freezing wind at -2°C. We actually ran into a couple of issues with our proa design because we never planned for ice building up here and there. Aside of making the deck slippery we initially couldn’t open the sliding hatch and fit the leeboard. The sheets and other ropes were stiff like sticks too, turning sailing into a hole new adventure.

Proasis is now on the hard for the next couple of months to protect her from the winter and to work on some improvements. Slipping her over the 200 m wide beach went smoothly, thanks to an electric winch and the support of our local sailing club.

Proa Meeting Flensburg

There are not many proas (boats with a long and a short hull) in Europe, let alone in Germany. It was a very pleasant surprise to see 5 of such rare craft sailing together for a meeting in Flensburg. Henrik sailed Proasis singlehanded up to Flensburg and was already greeted by smaller outrigger canoes when entering the fjord. The fleet spend a very nice weekend together, including sailing in nice warm summer weather, cold beer and camp fire. Hopefully there will be another meeting next year!

Denmark 2023

Initially we had planned to explore the Danish archipelago for at least a week but unfavorable weather shortened our trip to just 2 days. We left Kiel on Friday with a good easterly breeze and pretty awful weather for August. Fortunately the wind got lighter, the sky clear and the second half of the 30 nm leg to the island of Aeroe was more enjoyable than its start. Right in the middle between Germany and Denmark we found a weir orange object adrift. Turned out it was a humongous damaged drift buoy. We managed to pull it on board with much difficulties to free the ocean from the plastic waste. Our anchor dropped right next to the southern tip of Aeroe, next to the lighthouse. Because of the shallow draft of our canoe we could anchor so close to the beach that we didnt even need a dinghy to get to shore.

The next day brought cold and foggy weather with a stiff breeze. The morning was spent wing foiling, riding down the swell which bent around the cape near by. Around noon, the wind went down a bit to around 20 kn, the anchor was lifted and we started sailing back to keel with great speed. Shortly after the wind increased again, probably up to 30 kn, forcing us to put in a reef. Still doing 8-9 kn we were both holding on behind, staring at the huge waves and bracing for spray which would come over us every once in a while. These were not particularly terrible conditions in general, but the heaviest we have ever sailed proasis in yet. After this wiled ride the wind out of a sudden completely died once we entered the Kiel fjord and we had to use our electric engine for the last couple of miles. Eventually we made it home just before a heavy thunderstorm. We were only gone for two days but it still feels like a week worth of adventure!

Kiel Sailing Week 2023

This was supposed to be a post about the Kiel Sailing Week, especially the tall ship parade, and how great it was to sail in this massive fleet of hundreds of vessels. But just as we went out of the bay to meet the fleet, together with lots of friends on board, something very special happened: Tobi, a colleague of Christian, pulled out a ring, went down on his knees and proposed to his girlfriend!

How crazy is that, has ever someone proposed on a proa before?! We feel very honored and looking forward to the marriage!

Some more impressions of that day: