Sailors hail the good ship 'Plastiki': Boat made from 12,500 plastic bottles completes 8,000-mile Pacific journey
A boat made out of 12,500 recycled plastic bottles docked in Sydney Harbour today after four difficult months crossing the Pacific Ocean on a journey meant to raise awareness about the perils of plastic waste.
The crew of the Plastiki, a 60ft (18m) catamaran which weathered fierce storms during its 8,000 nautical miles at sea, left San Francisco on March 20, stopping at various South Pacific island nations including Kiribati and Samoa along the way.
'This is the hardest part of the journey so far - getting it in!' expedition leader David de Rothschild yelled from the boat as the crew struggled to manoeuvre the difficult-to-steer vessel into port outside the Australian National Maritime Museum.


Green message: The 60ft-long Plastiki catamaran, built from plastic bottles, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge 

Excited: Expedition leader David de Rothschild (second on left) and his crew
A crowd of about 100 erupted into cheers after the Plastiki finally docked.
De Rothschild - a descendant of the British banking family - exchanged high fives and hugs with his crew, pumping his fists into the air in victory.
'It has been an extraordinary adventure,' he said.
The 31-year-old said the idea for the journey came to him after he read a United Nations report in 2006 which said that pollution - and particularly plastic waste - was seriously threatening the world's oceans.
He decided that a good way to prove that rubbish can be effectively recycled was to use some of it to build a boat.
Long journey: The Plastiki completes her 8,000-nautical mile trans-Pacific voyage from San Francisco as she approaches the Sydney Opera House 
British adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild sails as the Plastiki arrives at Sydney Harbour
 The Plastiki - named after the 1947 Kon-Tiki raft sailed across the Pacific by explorer Thor Heyerdahl - is fully recyclable and gets its power from solar panels and windmills.
The boat is almost entirely made up of bottles, which are held together with an organic glue made from sugar cane and cashews, but includes other materials too. The mast, for instance, is recycled aluminium irrigation pipe.
'The journey of the Plastiki is a journey from trash to triumph,' Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, who greeted the team after they docked, said.
During their 128-day journey, the six-member crew lived in a cabin of just 20ft (6m) by 15ft (4.5m), took saltwater showers, and survived on a diet of dehydrated and canned food, supplemented with the occasional vegetable from their small on-board garden.
'Trash to triumph': During their 128-day journey, the six-member crew lived in a cabin of just 20ft (6m) by 15ft (4.5m)
Divers next to the keel of the boat made from 12,500 plastic bottles

Along the way, they fought giant ocean swells, 62-knot (70mph) winds, temperatures up to 38c (100f) and torn sails.
The crew briefly stopped in Queensland state last week, after battling a fierce storm off the Australian coast.
Skipper Jo Royle also had the particular challenge of being the only woman on board.
'I'm definitely looking forward to a glass of wine and a giggle with my girlfriends,' she said.
Vern Moen, the Plastiki's film-maker, missed the birth of his first child - although he managed to watch the delivery on a grainy Skype connection. He met his son for the first time after docking in Sydney.
'It was very, very surreal to show up on a dock and it's like, "Here's your kid",' he said with a laugh.
Although the team had originally hoped to recycle the Plastiki, de Rothschild said they were now thinking of keeping it intact, and using it as a way of enlightening people to the power of recycling.
'There were many times when people looked at us and said, "You're crazy",' he said.
'I think it drove us on to say, "Anything's possible".