Team Row the Pacific is made up of Rebecca Berger and Leanne Zrum, the only Canadians in the inaugural Great Pacific Race. Their goal is to raise awareness for Ocean Health Issues and funds for the Canadian environmental organization, The David Suzuki Foundation. They are also hoping to become the first Canadians to row the Pacific, and the first female pair to complete the history making race. Rebecca and Leanne will have sattelite communications during the row to update their blog and receive messages. You can keep up with their progress on their website, Facebook and Twitter (@RowThePacific).
RTP - We met at a local gym in Vancouver in 2010. Rebecca was looking for a challenging team to join so it was fate that we met by the rowing machines. We both come from a strong backgrounds in water sports and share a similar focus in competition so we knew we would be perfect partners! It was just a matter of getting her (Leanne) to realize she'd always wanted to row an ocean too.
ASC - What's the story behind your team/boat name?
RTP - The Honey Badger is a fierce and fearless African Mammal. It is pretty much impossible to stop a Honey Badger from doing what it wants to do, and it's very difficult to kill. In short, the Honey Badger is pretty bad ass! We love our sense of humor and we love the Honey Badger so it only made sense to name our boat after the lovely creatures.
ASC - What is your training secret?
RTP - In Ocean rowing I think the training secrets are all in the mental preparation. We've been working with a sports psychologist in Vancouver (Roger Friesen) who's given us some "tools" to use in preparation for the row. I'm sure we'll use them while we're out there too!
ASC - Have you ever done anything like this before?
RTP - This is the first time either of us have been this crazy.
RTP - Lots and lots of freeze dried dinners, fruit, nuts, Oxylent multivitamines and Vega sports bars and shakes!
ASC - What's the one item you're taking in the boat with you to keep yourself sane?
RTP - Music and a couple photos of our friends and family back home.
ASC - How can we keep up with you while you're out on the ocean?
RTP - Check out our facebook, twitter, and blog. As long as we are able to, we plan to update the blog each day!
ASC - Why are you excited to collect samples for the microplastics project?
RTP - Both of us grew up on the water and have been playing in nature all of our lives. We love our surroundings, and know how precious and fragile our ecosystem is. We're also devastated by the enormity of the plastic pollution issue in our oceans. If we can use the row to bring attention to the issues and convince even just a few people to change their habits we'll feel we've made a difference.
ASC - What's been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome while preparing for the race?
RTP - So far the biggest obstacle has been the fundraising and training. We've had to raise enough money to take part in the race and we are hoping to raise more for the our primary charity. We've also had to become experts in Marine systems, Navigation, Survival, and Sailing theory in a short time. All while working full time jobs!
Learn more about the Great Pacific Race and our Microplastics project on our website. You can keep up with ASC by subscribing to our blog, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter (@AdventurScience), Instagram (@AdventureScience) and Google+.