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Depart: Horta, Azores
Arrive: Lanzarote, Canaries
Length: 9 days
Focus: In the context of marine ecosystems and our impacts on them, we will explore human nature relations, ideas and solutions in the North Atlantic Gyre
Leg 1 of this expedition will be from UK to Azores on September 17th – 28th, 2014. Click here for details.
Would you care to join us for:
- An ocean voyage adventure aboard 72ft yacht ‘Sea Dragon’
- Sailing to and through the North Atlantic Gyre, northern Europe’s oceanic dump.
- Exploring little known seas, human/ nature relations, and pressing marine environmental issues
- Debating effective, original solutions for ocean plastic pollution
- With a unique and lovely group of people
‘…there is no more urgent intellectual task facing the human species… than thoroughly to re-imagine its relationship with nature…’ Robert Macfarlane
Gyre to Gaia is an uplifting voyage that aims to explore our intriguing relationship with nature and the sea in particular – with a focus on one of the most challenging ecological issues; ocean plastic pollution.
Gyre to Gaia is drawing together an inter-disciplinary crew, including designers, marine and materials scientists, students, philosophers, artists and writers, to sail from the UK to the Canary Islands, via the Azores. Through a carefully designed and facilitated journey to experience, experiment, discuss and reflect on how profoundly we need the sea; what an extraordinary, wonderful, diverse environment it is; what is happening to it; how lifestyle choices impact on it; and what we can do.
- Kate Rawles, outdoor philosopher, university lecturer and author will help facilitate an exploration of ideas as well as oceans.
- Studio Swine, creators of the award winning Sea Chairs, will use the voyage to up-cycle sea plastic into a kayak using their extraordinary latest invention. Click here to watch the beautiful film of the creation of Sea Chairs
- Marine plastics scientist, Adam Porter, from the University of Exeter will turn the yacht into a laboratory to advance our understanding of the impact of plastic on the sea.
- Inspire a connection to the significance of the seas and their awe-inspiring biodiversity
- To take ourselves physically to the heart of the issue of plastic marine pollution and other marine issues and challenges
- Create new stories, narratives and creative ways of expressing our interdependence with the ocean
- Develop practical solutions for tackling the issue of ocean plastic, from design standards to changes in behaviour, values and world views.
- Provide a creative space away from ‘land noise’ with a lovely bunch of people
Exeter Microplastics Research Info:
The microplastics research team at Exeter University, led by Professor Tamara Galloway and Dr Ceri Lewis, are investigating the uptake and biological effects of microplastics by a number of important marine animals.
Microplastic debris is made up of tiny plastic beads, granules, fibres and fragments less than 5mm in diameter. Work in the laboratory by the Exeter scientists has shown that these smaller pieces of plastic can be mistaken for food by a range of important marine animals, such as zooplankton, the small animals at the bottom of the marine food chain. This has so far only been shown in laboratory experiments, and the aim of the Exeter scientists on the Gyre to Gaia expedition will be to look to see if this occurs in the real ocean. Do microplastics occur in the same parts of the ocean as the plankton and if so, can we find ‘real world’ evidence that plankton accidentally eat microplastics
Whilst on board, the Exeter scientists will be assessing the plastic problem first-hand. By taking sea-surface water samples, they will look at the different sizes and types of plastic littering our seas and consider its impact on the co-existing zooplankton that they find. This work will form part of larger research projects across Europe and around UK coastal waters to better understand where microplastics occur and whether they impact marine zooplankton.
Dr Kate Rawles – Mission Leader
Kate’s background is environmental philosophy, which she taught at Lancaster University for ten years. She left to set up Outdoor Philosophy – combining debate about human/nature relations with powerful experiences of wild places, in order to inspire and support more sustainable ways of living and working. She’s now a half-time lecturer in Outdoor Studies at Cumbria University and a freelance outdoor philosopher, writer and environmental campaigner. She works with Jonathon Porritt on Forum for the Future’s innovative ‘Reconnections’ project and has written widely on environmental issues. Kate is passionate about the potential for using adventure stories to communicate. Her book The Carbon Cycle; Crossing the Great Divide (Two Ravens Press, 2012), is based on a 4553 mile ride from Texas to Alaska along the spine of the Rockies, exploring N.American attitudes to climate change.
Adam Porter – Lead Scientist
Adam is a new member of the Exeter microplastics research team, having just started his PhD looking at the impacts of microplastics on marine zooplankton. Adam joins Exeter fresh from a project in Saudi Arabia looking at the impacts of coastal developments on coral reefs and also has experience of investigating the benefits of marine protested areas. Adam’s PhD will be to look at the co-occurrence of microplastics and zooplankton around UK coastal water working with the government’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture (Cefas).
Background & Expertise
Artist / designer, collaborating with Studio Swine on the design, production and operation of the Solar Extruder machine.
Witness the atlantic gyre first hand, experience being offshore, collect plastic for the solar extruder and through it’s operation draw further attention to the scale and problems of sea plastic in turn sparking debate about consumption patterns and alternative approaches to materials and product lifecycles.
Background & Expertise
I grew up in Milan, Italy.
I hold a degree in Chemistry from the University of Miami and a Masters in Biological Interactions from the University of Nice. I’ve worked as a coral reef surveyor and science officer in the Caribbean, where I also carried out community outreach. My main area of expertise is science communication. Up until recently I worked at London’s Science Museum developing contemporary science content for exhibitions and festivals.
Partnered with photographer Chiara Grioni, my aim is to create an educational resource about expedition science, sustainable thinking and green, innovative ideas. I’d love to highlight career opportunities and resources the ocean can provide. I plan to learn as much as possible aboard the Sea Dragon, about the on-board science and challenges in marine conservation, and of course, sailing in the open ocean!
Background & Expertise
My original background was in management consultancy and senior management helping companies become more efficient, including minimising waste. I love independent and adventure travel. Whilst partaking in this and especially sailing along the East coast of Australia and from there to New Caledonia I became more aware of environmental issues and wanted to do something about it. I set up a voluntary organisation in Chamonix in the French Alps to hold awareness raising events. I now want to continue working on positive projects that help protect our amazing natural world.
I am very excited about meeting the amazing and inspiring people on this expedition who are obviously keen to help make a positive difference in the world and in particular tackling the immense issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. I’m hoping to take great photos and video footage to share on social media to raise awareness of the issue and help increase support for Pangaea and their partner organisations committed to resolving it. I am very interested to learn more about the scientific impact of plastic on marine life and to see Studio Swine in action in actually making use of the waste plastic that we collect.
Background & Expertise
I’m a photographer and filmmaker; I have an MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography. My passion for the ocean led me to complete my PADI Dive Master and become an underwater photographer.
I am co-founder, with Jasmine Spavieri, of The Sea Musketeers: an educational outreach team that aim to inspire solutions for the current challenges faced by our oceans today.
Background & Expertise
Born in the czech rep, 6 years in London (before 8 months in France).
Having photography background now focusing on film. Work in fashion, design and architecture.
Love the outdoors: mountains, horse riding, snorkelling.
Make a good film, be a good member of the team and have fun.
Eric Loss – Skipper
A native of California, Eric has been on the water since an early age. He has sailed more than 55,000 offshore miles, and has sailed everything from windsurfers to 115′ schooners, and recently he completed a single-handed circumnavigation by way of the great capes. He enjoys teaching all aspects of sailing, from boat handling and dinghy racing to navigation and seamanship. He is always eager to share his knowledge of celestial navigation. Eric has been involved in sail training for most of his life, and is an US Sailing instructor. He holds an IYT Master of Yachts Ocean with commercial endorsement and a USCG 100 ton master’s license. Eric is also an experienced diver and PADI Divemaster.
Shanley McEntee – First Mate
Shanley was born and raised in San Diego, CA and graduated with a BA in Environmental Policy and a minor in Environmental Science from Western Washington University. Having grown up by the sea, she holds a deep passion for Mother Ocean and our ever-growing need for protection and awareness of the problems our environment is facing. She enjoys anything having to do with the sea, from surfing to scuba diving to sailing, and loves offshore passages. She is PADI Rescue Diver certified and holds an IYT Master of Yachts Offshore with commercial endorsement.
Most days will include a combination of sailing; trawling
for plastic and other science support; and two facilitated conversations. The
exact format and content will depend on weather conditions and location. Here
is an outline plan – but be prepared for the unexpected (ie this will change!)
Day 1 (4th Oct): Getting on board our amazing 72ft sailing
yacht, Sea Dragon. Settling in and getting to know our partners in adventure
through an introductory session. Please plan to arrive by 2pm.
Day 2 (5th): Setting sail from the Azores heading Eastwards towards the Canaries. Overview session by our facilitator, outdoor
philosopher Kate Rawles, to discuss human impacts on the world’s oceans. How
does ocean plastic intersect with other ‘big picture’ issues eg ocean
acidification, other kinds of pollution and over-fishing?
Day 3 (6th): Feeling the wonder and calmness of a 360 degree ocean view. Discovery session on human relationships with nature. Do we see
ourselves as conquerors of nature, managers of nature or citizens of ecological
communities? Has it been ‘out of site, out of mind’ as we realise that we have
changed the pH of the ocean and depleted the fishing stocks? How can we create
a more positive human relationship with nature?
Day 4 (7th): The science of plastic pollution: Presentation by our
fantastically knowledgeable scientists from Exeter University on discovering
whether micro-plastics are getting into the ocean food chain through ingestion
Day 5 (8th): Trawling for marine plastics in the Gyre area. What kinds of
plastics are out there and what do we know about where they come from and the effects
they are having?
Day 6 (9th): Discovery session with Studio Swine, watching their incredible
skill of creating a sea kayak from ocean plastic. How can artists and
designers help create forward thinking
solutions for future use of recycled plastic?
Day 7 (10th): Solution Brainstorming Sessions! What can we do
about the problem of ocean plastic pollution? Creating new ideas through a
group of like minded people sailing in the ocean away from all land ‘noise.’ Do
we need legislation? Replacements for plastics? Consumer behaviour change? A shift in values and world views? All of the
Day 8 (11th): We arrive at the stunning island of Lanzarote. It will be
amazing to see land after our epic journey at sea! Depending on arrival time
and customs / immigration there may be an opportunity to do a beach clean or a
‘making’ session with Studio Swine.
Day 9 (12th): Wrap up session before everyone leaves focussing on future goals.
What, personally, can we do to contribute to solutions and positive ways
forward? Crew are free to leave the boat after 2pm.
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Crew will require a passport from their home country that will allow them to travel to Portugal and Spain.
- 8 nights accommodation on board Sea Dragon
- All meals, snacks and drinks on board
- Sailing instruction
- Safety equipment and foul weather gear
Payment does not include:
- Transportation to Azores and home from Lanzarote
- Transportation to and from the dock
- Personal expenses while in port
Please see our Travel Kit List.