Tsunami Ruins, And Music With Impossible Nature Surroundings At Robinson Crusoe Island


All photos: Paula Alvarado

Continuing with our trip with 5 Gyres in search of plastic pollution in the South Pacific, our sailboat - the Sea Dragon - stopped at Robinson Crusoe island for a quick look around the place and some relaxing before we hit the rest of the 15-day voyage to Easter Island.

Part of Chilean territory and inhabited by over 500 people, this piece of land is located about 300 miles north east from our port of departure in Valdivia, and is supposedly the place that inspired Daniel Dafoe's novel by the same name.

Although some plastic pollution was visible on the coast line (and with a visit from the Bag Monster), what was more palpable and present was -once again- a reminiscence of natural disasters: a whole section of the coast of the island was swept away by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Concepcion, Chile, in 2010.


The absence of constructions and the presence of ruins and torn trees over a whole strip of the coast marked pretty clearly the area that was affected, making it visible from the distance. One of the most impressive images: a basketball court drawn in an empty base of concrete, the only remaining of what was once a city gym.


Photo Credit: 5 Gyres

A large part of our crew including the founders of 5 Gyres - Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen - filmmakers Friedemann Hottenbacher and Bill Bowles, and musicians Ben Lear and Charlie Bradford (above, on the bagpipes), hiked a mountain in the Juan Fernandez national park, a natural reserve that surrounds the island.

When we got to the top, there was a little performance of back-pipes and guitar by Bradford and Lear, respectively, and some video shooting with the most impossible mountain-beach-fishing town scenery around.


A very long lunch and short walk around town followed, not without some interesting local characters: an old man that claimed to be the only one called Robinson in the island and that sold one of the crew members some lobster and the most adorable labrador dog that accompanied us all afternoon among them.

Back in the boat, we're now setting the last details to set sail again to cross the South Pacific. The 'trawling' of water to see if there's presence of plastic pollution in this part of the ocean will begin when we hit international waters in the following days.

Stay tuned!

More from 5 Gyres
And We're Off! Charging Into the South Pacific Gyre for Plastic
5 Gyres Founders Explain How Plastic Pollution in Oceans Really Works (Video)
TreeHugger Joins 5 Gyres To Sail The South Pacific In Search Of Plastic Pollution

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