Got to hand it to Google for supporting the cause:
The Falkor gears up to help fill void of sea studies Hawaii News, Honolulu, Honolulu News, Sports, Editorial, Features, Travel and Business - Honolulu Star-Advertiser - Hawaii Newspaper
The Falkor gears up to help fill void of sea studies
By Marcel Honoré
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 02, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 01:57 a.m. HST, Nov 02, 2013
KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM
Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel, The Falkor, recently arrived at Aloha Tower on Thursday, October 31, 2013.
A stone's throw from Aloha Tower on Thursday, Wendy Schmidt gazed from the stern of her private foundation's research vessel, the Falkor, at the glistening turquoise-blue of Hono*lulu Harbor and pondered the journey ahead.
More ocean study must be done — and it needs to get done a lot more quickly, she said.
Furthermore, those who live thousands of miles from any ocean need to understand how the seas' health affects everyone — not just those who live in coastal areas like Hawaii, she added.
"As the oceans are in peril from many sources, we think this is an urgent mission," said Schmidt, who's the wife of Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
She's in town for a private symposium at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel this weekend organized by the couple's science venture, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, that aims to help speed the pace of ocean research. The institute also looks to help fill the void left by dwindling federal research budgets, precisely at a time "when the oceans are under attack" and need study the most, Schmidt said.
The Falkor, meanwhile, is gearing up for a series of expeditions early next year to the Northwestern Hawaiian Island chain.
The Falkor docked in Hono*lulu on Wednesdayand it's the institute's 272-foot-long mobile, globe-trotting headquarters. It was originally built in the early 1980s as a German coast guard ship. But after a $60 million retrofit by the institute — including a science control center room, flat-screen monitors that can display live images of the ocean floor, and even a reading lounge — its high-tech interior now resembles something out of a James Cameron movie.
The Falkor's most recent voyage, from Seattle to Hono*lulu, took it through parts of the so-called Great Pacific garbage patch — a massive swirling vortex of plastic, trash and marine debris in the middle of the sea, largely out of sight from civilization.