During her time at sea, the 28 year-old has witnessed, first-hand, the effect single-use plastics are having on our Oceans.
During the last leg of the Race from Hong Kong to Auckland, Bianca, the first Kiwi woman to sail in the race around the world in 16 years, was shocked at how much debris and plastic she saw in the waters.
She has also seen plastic washing up in marinas in New Zealand and further afield in the South Pacific and even Greenland and the North West Passage.
She said: “When we were in Hong Kong waters I noticed a lot of plastic and I really wanted to pull it out of the water but it’s so frustrating because you’re in a race and you can’t stop and pick up every piece that you see.
“We’ve even had a few situations where plastic bags have become wrapped around the rudder, especially in leg two from Lisbon to Cape Town.”
These experiences have made her determined to tell others what she has seen including family, friends and even schoolchildren in her native Auckland.
Bianca added: “By me being so passionate about trying to stop myself using single-use plastic it’s also made the people around me join my plastic-free mission.
“Since being part of the Turn the Tide on Plastic, my friends and family have really embraced the move away from plastic and my cousins have been banned from using plastic straws
“It has made me so anti-straw now that I find it astonishing that if you go into a bar, the first thing they do is stick a straw in your glass.”
The Turn the Tide on Plastic boat is collecting Ocean samples that are tested for tiny pieces of plastic too small for the human eye to see, called microplastic.
Bianca is proud to be part of a team that, as well as racing across our oceans is collecting valuable scientific data which is helping send a simple message that these particles have become so pervasive.
Bianca said: “It’s really interesting and frightening to see that even in the Southern Ocean we were finding levels of microplastic. They were less than those we collected nearer to the coastline and major cities but, still, to find them in such a remote areas was truly astounding.
“You see images of fish being cut open and their stomachs are full of these little tiny pieces of plastic and it’s also in our food chain now so there’s no way of getting away from it.
“Thankfully, the Volvo Ocean Race is the perfect platform for carrying the message and never before have we heard so much about how much plastic is in our Oceans.
During the New Zealand stopover, Bianca took her mission to Churchill Park School in Auckland where she shared her experiences of life at sea and the plastic problem.
Bianca added: "It was really inspiring talking to the kids, because they are already taking initiatives to save the planet. There was one girl who had already stated a Save the Turtles Club within the school and was starting to get people to sign up.
“They all had some really good questions to ask. The school is also trying to become a clean green school and is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. The message that we have is already engrained in the school’s learning."