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5 Gyres Coral Triangle Expedition

Explore the biodiverse marine and terrestrial habitats of the Coral Triangle while sampling plastic pollution with dedicated scientists and ocean enthusiasts on this liveaboard trip from Bali to Komodo Island, offered in partnership with 5 Gyres.

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We are excited to bring you this special 5 Gyres Expedition through Indonesia’s Coral Triangle from Bali to Komodo to monitor microplastics and explore solutions to the problem of plastic pollution. The team will be lead by 5 Gyres Co-Founder and Research Director Marcus Eriksen and will include representatives from regional NGOs who are working on community-based, zero-waste solutions that prevent the flow of plastics to local waters.

Through their Asia Pacific Action Against Plastic Pollution program (see below), 5 Gyres is collaborating with NGOs in Southeast Asia to highlight and scale zero-waste efforts in the region. To better understand the long-term impacts of these initiatives, onboard representatives from participating NGO groups will be trained on citizen science protocols. Through the 5 Gyres TrawlShare program, they will also be loaned monitoring equipment in order to continue monitoring plastic pollution in the region.

Data collected by all Expedition guests will be incorporated into the organization’s global dataset of microplastics, used in 5 Gyres’ Global Estimate of Marine Plastic Pollution study. In keeping with the “science to solutions” model, a better understanding of the global scope and trends related to ocean plastic pollution will help 5 Gyres monitor the efficacy of upstream solutions over time.

Along the route between Bali and Komodo, the voyage will overnight at a variety of small islands including Lombok, Satonda, Moya and Sangeang. In addition to collecting valuable near-shore data, guests will explore lush tropical forests, visit world-renowned cultural sites, and snorkel through the cobalt blue waters and stunning coral reefs that provide unique marine microhabitats to invertebrates and reef fish.

Komodo National Park is a collection of rugged volcanic islands located in Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands. The area has been protected since 1980 and is globally recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While Komodo is known primarily for the endemic Komodo dragon, it also features excellent marine diversity, and uniquely dry vegetation that gives the islands a golden hue. The park's rich marine life includes manta rays, eagle rays and pygmy seahorses, among others.

This nine-day liveaboard trip begins with an evening at a well-appointed Bali hotel and a dinnertime panel discussion with local NGO leaders on the unique challenges and opportunities of fighting plastic pollution in the region. The following morning the group embarks on the Sea Safari VII.

Trip Dates & Cost

2018: July 30 - August 8 | From $5,375 / person.* Group limit 28.
12/6 UPDATE: Due to the overwhelming popularity of this Expedition, new bookings are currently closed. However, we may add a second leg to the voyage, so please contact us to add your name to the wait list. We will contact you as soon as a spot opens up. Thanks!

* Accommodations are shared. Trip prices do not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.

About 5 Gyres Institute

The 5 Gyres Institute discovered plastic microbeads in 2012 and campaigned for a successful federal ban in 2015. Through ocean expeditions, the organization was first to research plastic in all five subtropical gyres, and published the first Global Estimate of Plastic Pollution in 2014, finding nearly 270,000 tons and 5.25 trillion pieces of “plastic smog” worldwide. 5 Gyres, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has been in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2017.

5 Gyres believes that solutions to plastic pollution must begin upstream, with better corporate accountability for design, and comprehensive polices to eliminate the worst offenders. In 2016, the U.S. State Department endorsed the organization’s vision of solutions-oriented initiatives to engage global partners, awarding a significant grant to work on reducing the flow of plastic waste to Southeast Asian waters, especially in Indonesia and the Philippines, through a project called Asia Pacific Action Against Plastic Pollution.

Through 2018, in collaboration with GAIA, Mother Earth Foundation, Lonely Whale Foundation, Story of Stuff, UPSTREAM, and Yayasan Pengembangan Biosains dan Biotechnologi (YPBB), 5 Gyres will employ a two-pronged approach: scaling on-the-ground efforts to implement zero waste strategies, and gathering data on poorly designed products to expand the Plastics BAN List study internationally. Together, we seek to implement innovative zero waste model initiatives that will reduce the input of plastic waste so as to achieve measurable reductions of waste leakage into waterways and oceans.


Marcus Eriksen is 5 Gyres Institute's co-founder and research director / board member. Marcus has led expeditions around the world to research plastic marine pollution, co-publishing the first global estimate and the discovery of plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes, which led to the federal Microbead-free Waters Act of 2015. He and Anna Cummins began 5 Gyres with an 88-day journey from California to Hawaii on the Junk Raft, built from 15,000 plastic bottles. Earlier, Marcus had rafted the Mississippi River, writing about the river and his experience as a Marine in the 1991 Gulf War in the book, My River Home (Beacon 2008). His second book, Junk Raft: An ocean voyage and a rising tide of activism to fight plastic pollution (Beacon 2017) recalls the rise of the plastic pollution movement, growing steadily today. He received his PhD from USC.

Carolynn Box is Science Programs Director at 5 Gyres. She received a Master’s in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island in 2005 and worked in the field of Coastal Management for seven years in San Francisco Bay. After her first 5 Gyres Voyage in 2011, a 33-day trip across the South Atlantic Gyre, she decided to change the course of her life and apply her science and organizing background to efforts to fight plastic pollution. Carolynn has traveled 15,000 miles researching microplastics and she will be completing her ninth ocean expedition with 5 Gyres in 2018. Carolynn is currently working on a large scale research program analyzing microplastics in San Francisco Bay, bringing her global knowledge of the issue upstream and local.


Day 0-1: USA - Bali (July 29-30)
Arrive July 30 (or earlier) in time for our welcome dinner and expedition introductions. Overnight at hotel. 5 Gyres/Oceanic Society will arrange the hotel room and airport transfers for your arrival day (30 July).

Day 2: Bali - Nusa Lembogan (July 31)
Board our privately chartered vessel in the morning. Cruise Badung Strait for Nusa Lembongan Island. Afternoon snorkeling. Head for Lombok in the evening. We will work to have our first manta tow deployment training and sampling.

Day 3: Nara Bay, Lombok - Gili Island (Aug 1)
Morning and afternoon snorkeling activities along with microplastic and beach sampling. Evening lecture and data collection.

Day 4: Moyo Island Marine Reserve (Aug 2)
Excellent snorkeling opportunities at Moyo and continuation of the microplastic sampling and processing.

Day 5: Satonda Island (Aug 3)
Morning and afternoon snorkeling – with zodiac microplastic sampling and beach clean up. Evening lectures.

Day 6-8: Komodo National Park (Aug 4-6)
Early morning excursion ashore to view the Komodo dragon and sample plastic within the park. Enjoy excellent snorkeling in clear waters around the many islands including a chance to possibly swim with manta rays.

Day 9: Padar Island (Aug 7)
Explore and hike Padar Island and conduct microplastic sampling by Zodiac and beach plastic pollution surveys to identify plastic types found. Afternoon snorkeling. Evening farewell dinner.

Day 10: Labuan Bajo (Aug 8)
Disembark in Labuan Bajo transfer to airport for flights (included) back to Bali. Participants can continue home or participate in the 5 Gyres post-trip summit - details to be announced shortly.

Please note that this is a sample itinerary – weather or other events may cause the actual locations visited to vary from what is outlined above. Additionally, the microplastic monitoring and beach sampling efforts may impact our timeline. If all goes to plan we do, however, expect to accomplish the route as outlined.


Participants will stay aboard Sea Safari VII, a handcrafted 28-passenger, 123-foot-long motored Buginese-style schooner featuring 14 air-conditioned cabins with their own complete en suite facilities. The air-conditioned lounge and dining area have panoramic windows to observe the stunning surrounding landscape.

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