Love sailing — and want to go on a 20-day high-seas expedition from Honolulu to Vancouver? Heard about the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean — and want to see the mess up close? Concerned about marine plastic pollution — and want to be part of the solution? You can do all three this summer by signing up to go on a plastic pollution research voyage with the environmental nonprofit Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

No, the trip isn’t free — if that were the case, the expedition would be swamped with volunteers. You’ll need to have or raise $9,000 ($10,000 after Feb. 28) — and have enough money in addition to that to pay for incidentals and your flight to and from Hawaii — to get one of the 10 coveted spots. Though that’s a lot of money, a portion of the fee will be tax deductible and the net proceeds will go to a good cause — supporting Algalita’s scientific research and educational outreach.

Algalita is the nonprofit behind Junk Raft, the recycled vessel that made the voyage from Long Beach, Calif., to Hawaii back in 2008 — among other attention-getting educational projects. The organization was founded by Captain Charles Moore, a well-known marine pollution expert who for years has been drawing attention to the ever-growing problem of plastic pollution in the oceans.

And if you end up going on this year’s trip, you’ll be a serious participant in Algalita’s work — whether it’s helping sail or helping with scientific research. The eco-adventure will go from July 7 to 27, 2011, taking you through the North Pacific Gyre on a 72-foot racing sloop owned by Pangaea Explorations, a partner of Algalita. Think you’re up for the challenge? Find out more at Algalita’s website — and good luck with the fundraising!

Also on MNN: Learn more about the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch