Forums » Charity Projects

Mekong River Clean-up Campaign

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    • 1534 posts
    January 19, 2011 7:15 PM PST
    @M3R1IN said: I just realized after reading KitKats latest post that we all have a legitimate reason to call Kirk "Captain Kirk"" lol.
    I guess we should call the boat "The Enterprise".
    • Moderator
    • 3727 posts
    January 30, 2011 8:26 PM PST
    Just got back from moving the boat to a technical school along the river. They specialize in engines and boats so we're hoping they'll be able to get our plastic bottle boat working (steering) properly.

    Some photos were taken. We'll upload them soon.
    • Moderator
    • 3727 posts
    February 4, 2011 8:40 PM PST

    Here are the pics from the big move. The boat is now moored near the Thai-Laos Friendship bridge. The boat building school is helping with repairs and preparations. The steering mechanism is going to be completely redone. And they're going to add a gear box. The teacher said he would also have his students paint the boat too. :-)

    Cleaning up the construction site. Once the boat was moved our volunteers cleaned-up the site where the boat was built.

    Thanks to Don, Julia, Michelle, James, and Ming. :-)


    This post was edited by Kirk Gillock at February 5, 2011 3:07 AM PST
    • 16 posts
    February 5, 2011 7:31 AM PST
    Well done for clearing up everyone!
    • 124 posts
    March 8, 2011 5:52 PM PST
    Sounds like you have the community helping you out to get it working. That will make it all the more worthwhile when it does. Keep up the fight to raise awareness!
    • 131 posts
    March 16, 2011 6:47 PM PDT

    So cool.

  • March 18, 2011 2:31 PM PDT
    Kirk can you give an update about the boat? I've been completly out of the loop so I dont know whats going on! Just wondering what the story is with this amazing project?

    Hope it sails soon :-)
    • 74 posts
    March 24, 2011 2:20 AM PDT
    Hi yes it would be great to hear the latest about this exciting campagin,Kirk.
    • Moderator
    • 3727 posts
    April 20, 2011 1:50 AM PDT
    Tom, Ming, and I just got back from visiting the plastic bottle boat. The current situation of the boat is ok, but not great.

    The metal arch has been completely removed. It was broken last month when the main mooring rope got loose during a storm and the back-up rope (tied around the metal arch) was the only thing keeping the boat from drifting down river. the weight and current were too much for the arch so it broke. Also, the plastic bag cover has been removed. It was weakened by the Sun and ripped off during some strong winds 2 nights ago.

    Every piece was salvaged and no damage was done to the environment (can't say the same for our pride though).

    Right now we're thinking about what we can do to complete this project and still consider it 100% successful.

    The current engine we have (12hp) is not strong enough to push the boat. The only solution is to lift the boat out of the water and place some metal paneling along the bottom section so there is not as much friction with the bottles when the boat is moving. We also need to get a different engine. Most likely the new engine will not be diesel so the bio-diesel fuel idea is out the window.

    One possibility is that we complete the boat, aesthetically, and park it down near the main riverwalk area. The boat will be seen by thousands of people and draw a lot of attention. A sign will explain the purpose of the boat and how it was constructed.

    That would be only part of the campaign. We will also buy a small long-tail fishing boat and use it to go up and down the river (locally), playing a recorded message about keeping the river clean.

    One thing is for sure, we need to do this project and it's still 100% possible to use the plastic bottle boat as a eye-catching showcase for our campaign.

    More info in the next day or two.
    • 5035 posts
    April 20, 2011 5:22 AM PDT

    Great ideas! However, a new engine would be very expensive, so I believe your idea of having the boat parked near the river walk is a better solution. It would be there as a constant reminder to be green conscious every day. The plastic bottle boat was built for a reason and it will reach more people docked near the river walk.

    I also like the idea of Isara buying a small fishing boat and going along the Mekong River (locally) with a recorder message about keeping the river clean. This, along with the plastic boat docked near the river wall, will get a lot of attention and wasn't this the main focus and mission of the Mekong River clean up campaign?

    Great job to our volunteers for thinking this process through to, just maybe, a better and more lasting solution.


    This post was edited by KitKat G at April 20, 2011 7:01 AM PDT
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    • 7061 posts
    April 20, 2011 6:46 AM PDT
    Such a shame about all the hard work putting the engine in only to not have it work for us. :( But whatever happens next, I know will be better! I agree with Kathy, what is important is to keep the focus on spreading the importance of cleaning up the environment.

    Thank you for the update, I know it's hard to share news like that.
    • Moderator
    • 3727 posts
    April 26, 2011 10:12 PM PDT
    Making some more progress on the boat.

    Today we finished the windows and tomorrow we'll finish the two hulls by putting one more layer of plywood for extra strength. :-)

    Unfortunately, the weather is much hotter now so it's not as easy (or fun) to work on the boat. We usually just work in the mornings and evenings.

    Also, the river has started to rise again. It's gone up about a foot in the last week.

    We'll try to get some updated photos for you later this week. Just want to get some more work done on the boat first.
    • Moderator
    • 3727 posts
    April 30, 2011 7:19 AM PDT

    Here's the latest pictures of the boat.

    We'll work on the boat some more next week. If all goes well, she'll be towed to her new home, closer to the middle of town, sometime in mid-May. Then she'll be seen by thousands of people every day.


    This post was edited by Kirk Gillock at April 30, 2011 7:20 AM PDT
    • 5035 posts
    April 30, 2011 4:29 PM PDT
    The plastic boat looks amazing. It's clean and almost ready for presentation. I think having it in a prominent location for thousands of people to see every day is the perfect plan. :) Great job to all our hard working volunteers!!
    • 131 posts
    May 2, 2011 10:41 PM PDT
    I hope I get to see the boat on display before I leave NK!
    • 1 posts
    May 4, 2011 1:40 PM PDT

    "I believe the greater the handicap, the greater the triumph." John H. Johnson 

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    • 3727 posts
    May 13, 2011 7:13 PM PDT

    A few days ago the city began construction behind our condo building so we no longer had access to the boat. Yesterday we moved the boat closer to town and will begin making the final adjustments to it. Plans are to launch the boat down the river sometime in late June or early July.

    Last week, some Americans and Thais living in Bangkok visited Nong Khai and came to see the boat. It was the first time we had 6 people on the boat.

    Here's a shot of the boat at it's old location, one last time.

    Here is the boat at it's current resting place, next to the Nagarina (Mut Mee's dinner boat cruise). Thank you to Julian for letting us park the boat here while we make more repairs.

    We'll get back to work on the boat as soon as it stops RAINING!

    • Moderator
    • 3727 posts
    May 18, 2011 5:03 AM PDT
    Today we had someone cut all the metal rigging that was used to form the rudder. It will not be used in the "new" version of the boat. The tractor engine was also removed today. We will be placing a much smaller engine on the back and putting some sheets of metal under the boat to lessen the friction as it cuts through the water. We're confident this will make it so the boat can move on its own.

    We've also set a target date of early or mid-June for the boat launch.

    Can't wait for you all to see what it will look like when it's all painted and lit up (at night). :-)
    • Moderator
    • 7061 posts
    May 18, 2011 6:47 AM PDT
    Woohoo! Thanks for the updates! :)
  • Tom
    • 86 posts
    May 19, 2011 11:28 AM PDT
    Ohh Kirk I wish I could be there for the launch. I'ts looking good mate. So whats the plan now, up or down the river? It's strange to see the boat down at mut mee's, but its a safe place I guess. Anyhow, great work guys. Great to see the boat again!!
    • Moderator
    • 3727 posts
    May 20, 2011 2:41 AM PDT

    It's proving to be VERY difficult to paint a boat when it rains EVERY day! We almost went a whole day without any rain today but then, at around 3pm, it rained hard for about 5 minutes. Afterwards I tried to dry the boat as much as possible so that the paint wouldn't be ruined. We'll know tomorrow if it will require another coat of paint. But, for now, here's a look at the new paint job! :-)

    Oh! And when it is not raining, it is hotter than the surface of the Sun outside. We can only work for about 30 minutes on the boat before heat exhaustion takes over. The cabin feels like a sauna during the day so we're adding some vents. I just grabbed some PVC corner pieces and they seem to do the trick. We'll also add a small computer case fan to each vent so that we can bring in some extra air when needed.

    Here is a sign we made (in English and Thai) that will be placed around the boat for visitors to read. The boat gets a lot of attention at it's new location and we're constantly having to answer questions from on-lookers. This sign should help answer some of their questions.

    Still trying to work out the engine situation. Will know more next week.
    • 5035 posts
    May 20, 2011 3:46 AM PDT
    Isara's sign is perfect! I'm printing copies and will have them in my shop showing Isara's latest environmental project. Great job Isara!
    • 131 posts
    May 24, 2011 9:37 AM PDT
    I like the Thai and Laos flags.
  • Tom
    • 86 posts
    May 24, 2011 11:50 AM PDT
    Great Flyer Kirk.
    As always you're the man who make magic happen.
    • 1091 posts
    May 25, 2011 2:39 AM PDT
    Look awesome