Dominican Republic | Exploration Science Program

[image_frame width=”417″ height=”240″][/image_frame]

Mar 07 – Mar 15, 2015

Depart: Dominican Republic
Arrive: Dominican Republic
Length: 9 days (8 nights)
Focus: Intensive Training to become an Ocean Science Explorer




[tab title=”Overview”]

Are you a student, graduate or working towards a career in environmental science or ocean conservation and outreach? Are you wondering how you can gain relevant field experience to make your CV stand out above the rest? If so, look no further, as this intimate and unique course will make your CV shine by giving you the skills to lead a real life expedition. Through this program, you will obtain cutting edge information on how best to explore the ocean in order to conduct research or to promote conservation initiatives. Led by an experienced and multidisciplinary team of educators, our Exploration Science Program is specifically designed to prepare scientists to lead open ocean expeditions.

Exploration Science Program in the Dominican Republic

You will get to experience the thrill of sailing across the rich blue of the Caribbean under beautiful trade-wind skies, crashing upwind through the infamous Mona Passage, and then surfing Sea Dragon back down the waves to the north-shore town of Samana. We will visit unexplored areas of the ocean and see whales.  From start to finish, crew will learn to provision the boat, develop the itinerary, plan the route and safely sail the boat across the open ocean while developing skills to collect and communicate important oceanic data.

This expedition is open to anyone who would like to gain experience in how to conduct expeditions and may potentially be used to gain credit towards a degree. You will also receive two International Yacht Training certificates (on completion of an exam): IYT Introduction to Boating and International Crew; and VHF Radio Operator.

The Key Challenge

The world is ever increasingly changing as it is ever increasingly becoming flat. As this happens we begin to understand how everything is dependent upon key connections that influence not only our cultural views but also the conditions of the planet that sustains us all. In this rapidly changing world, we progressively need experts to understand what changes are happening, the rates at which conditions are changing, and how these changes will impact people and ecosystems. With this in mind, Pangaea Exploration in collaboration with Dr Keene Haywood from the University of Miami has developed a unique program to train scientists in the science of research and world exploration.

How Pangaea Envisions Success

This comprehensive program contains modules that cover the full spectrum of expedition planning from food provisioning to mechanics to emergency response. Areas of emphasis include: International Transit with a focus in Customs and Immigration and Cultural Sensitivity, Navigation and Remote Communication Techniques and Mobile Apps for Data Collection and Emerging Technologies in Scientific Research. So researchers may gain expertise in obtaining funding for projects and raising awareness, instruction will be given on the dissemination of findings through media via audio, video and still photography.

To find out more about the University of Miami’s Exploration Science programme, have a look at their website.


[tab title=”Team”]


[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Dr. Keene Haywood 

Head of Exploration Science

Dr. Keene Haywood is the Director of Education at the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy and helps direct the Exploration Science Masters program.

His background is a mixture of media production, conservation, and also geospatial and educational technology research. His interests intersect the humanities and natural sciences with a particular focus on the implementation of effective uses of technology in the field to gather data, document research, and disseminating discoveries to the general public.  He has consulted with explorers, video productions, and educators on how to best approach the use of technology in the field.

In the past, Dr. Haywood has worked on deep ocean ROV projects, film projects for National Geographic’s Explorer and Wild Chronicles series, and field projects for The Nature Conservancy and Earthwatch. He has held positions at The University of Texas at Austin, the New Media Consortium, National Geographic, and The Nature Conservancy. He holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin, an MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking from Montana State University, a MA in Marine Affairs and Policy from RSMAS, and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Miami. He was elected to the Explorers Club as a Fellow National in 2007 and currently sits on the ESRI Education Community Advisory Board and the board of the PAST Foundation.

Dante Vaidya

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Background & Expertise
Dante Vaidya, a White Mountain student, has sought many opportunities to study his passion for environmentalism such as attending sessions at the Acadia Institute of Oceanography, the Tropical Research and Education Center in Belize, the Everglades Conservatory, and the Jackson lab on Mount Desert Island, ME.  He is an active member of the Water Resource Conservation Administration, an organization committed to preserving access to clean water. Dante has leveraged his other passion, technology, to embrace the tools needed by the researcher and the observer. These include time-lapse photography, database tools, file systems, and photo/video editing. Dante’s desire to share his knowledge with others has led him into writing, attending, and conducting seminars at the Harris Center and the Peterborough Conservation Society.

Dante is an active participant in both major national competitions, aiming at furthering environmental conservation and education, including The Ocean Bowl, which seeks to engage our generation to preserve the ocean, and the Envirothon, which provides student conversation to produce the ideas of tomorrow.

Dante is an avid paddleboarder, kayaker, and hiker and hopes to add surfing to the list.

Expedition Goals

During Pangaea’s Dominican Republic Exploration Science Program, I hope to get out of it a new experience of sailing on a ship, learning what it’s like to work on a sailing ship. I hope to further my knowledge about the ocean and the environment. During this trip, I am excited to travel to the Dominican Republic for the first time, even if it’s not the main event of this trip. I hope to improve my photography skills during this trip through practice and the many opportunities of capturing the expedition in photo and video.  I want to see the ecosystems of the waters around the Dominican and help build my understanding of the current environment and how it may change.

Jennifer Savaro

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Background & Expertise
Jen was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, giving her easy access to the shore, where she gained her passion for the marine environment. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Marine Science and a minor in Environmental Science from Coastal Carolina University. She is currently a Masters of Science student at Nova Southeastern University for Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management, as well as working for Miami Dade County’s Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources. Research interests include tropical reef fish ecology, stable isotopes and fisheries management. Jen is a NAUI Advance Rescue Diver and an AAUS Scientific Diver.

Expedition Goals
Her goals for this trip include learning how to sail, gaining knowledge on how to organize and run a scientific expedition and having an adventure of a lifetime.

Patrick Gaughran

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Background & Expertise
MPS student at UM studying Exploration Science. PADI Dive instructor. !st aid, CPR and O2 instructor.

Expedition Goals
To come out of this experience with a greater understanding of what it takes to conduct research out of the lab and in the world.

Schuyler Evan Weiss

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Background & Expertise
Gaining field experience and learning how to sail.

Expedition Goals

Bill Fuse

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Background & Expertise

My name is Bill, I am 19 years old. I am currently enrolled at Dalhousie University in Canada and I am studying a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. I have many years of experience in dinghy sailing, as well as keel boats: 2011 420 Canadian National Champion; 2011 420 Ontario Sailing Grand Prix Winner; 2012 Ontario Sailing Team 29er; 2013 Ontario Sailing Team 29er; 2013 Canada Summer Games alternate 29er crew for Ontario; 2013 Ontario Sailing Grand Prix Winner; 2014 Ontario Sailing Team 29er Quest for Gold Athlete; Race night crew on C&C 99 for 2 years (all positions including bow); Race night crew on C&C 27 for 4 years (all positions including bow); Trimmer on 1D35 for 2 years; Oakcliff, New York Grade 3 invitational 2014 (Match Racing) Trimmed; Headsail and Spinnaker on Swedish Match 40’s; and taught sailing at National One Design Sailing Academy on Flying Tigers.

Expedition Goals
Being a part of the crew is a dream come true as it merges both my passions; sailing and science. I aim to learn as much as possible during my time on the boat and i look forward to meeting all of you!


Thalles Augusto Abreu Araujo

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Background & Expertise

I have a Bachelor in Oceanography. My background is mainly in interdisciplinary oceanographic process with a little focus on the physical aspects of the oceans, i.e. seawater properties, waves, tides, currents, and my interests always make me relate the physical environment with the ecological, geological and chemical aspects of the ecosystems, focusing in coastal regions. Nowadays I am in the Exploration Science track of the Master in Professional Science (MPS) of the University of Miami and my interests include: exploration, expedition planning, sailing, documentary production, data collection, mapping and scientific diving.

Expedition Goals
For this expedition I expect to get in touch with a broad set of scientific tools and approaches to conduct science in the field and have the opportunity to experience hands-on activities. Specifically, I am looking for more knowledge and experience in: sailing routine, navigation, exploration technology, exploration science techniques, documentary production and different types, equipments and methods for data collecting.

Zachary Jenkins

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Background & Expertise
I am a graduate student in the Professional Masters Exploration Science Program at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. I completed my Bachelors degree in Applied Physics at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

Expedition Goals
My goals for the expedition are to learn to sail and operate a large vessel, learn and hone the skills necessary for expeditions and learn new techniques.



[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Eric Loss


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.

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Shanley Mcentee


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 Yatchs Offshore with commercial endorsement.

[image_frame style=”framed_shadow” height=”194″ width=”194″][/image_frame]

Megan Evans


Megan was born and raised in Wales, UK and was on the water from a young age. The marine and coastal environment has played a huge part in her life learning to sail at age 7 she took that onto compete internationally representing Wales and Great Britain. Megan is a qualified sailing instructor having worked at home and in the UAE and spends most free time surfing, wake boarding and windsurfing. Recently graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Environmental Management from the University of the West of England Megan is now keen to take this onto a career in marine research and conservation to help protect the environment she is most passionate about to ensure irreversible damage is not done.


[tab title=”Course Details”]

We will cover many different areas of information pertaining to operation procedures and planning involved with an ocean passage. You will also receive two International Yacht Training certificates (on completion of an exam): IYT Introduction to Boating and International Crew; and VHF Radio Operator.

All of the different areas and topics to be covered are as follows:

Tech and Media Curriculum

  • Planning and Organizing Media for the Field
  • Audio and Video in the Field
  • Still Photography
  • Mobile Apps in the Field – Data Collection, etc.
  • Data and Media Organization
  • Geo Data
  •  Editing and Data Backing up Procedures
  • Emerging Technologies – ROV, Drones, Balloons, etc.

Logistics and Planning

  • Passage Planning
  • Choosing a Dock/Anchorage
  • Scheduling
  • Permits
  • Spare Parts
  • Fuel
  • Provisioning and Cooking
  • Weather


  • Orientation of the Vessel
  • Watch Duties
  • Line Handling
  • Maneuvering
  • Points of Sail
  • Docking
  • Anchoring
  • Knots
  • Leadership
  • Navigation

Chart Work

  • GPS and Chart Plotter
  • Deviation/Variation
  • Dead Reckoning
  • 3 Point Fixes
  • Radar
  • AIS


  • Main Engine Checks- Oil, Coolant, Belts
  • Outboard Engine Checks and Fuel Quality

Small Boat Handling

  • Starting and Operating a Small Boat
  • Inflatable Dinghy Care, Training to Assemble and Disassemble
  • Manoeuvres (Coming Along a Dock, Vessel and Mooring)
  • Recovering a Person from the Water Using a Dinghy
  • Small Vessel Safety

International Transit

  • Customs and Immigration
  • Health and Agriculture
  • Cultural Sensitivity


  • VHF Radio Usage
  • SSB Radio Usage when Offshore
  • Satellite Phone/Email Service

Safety Procedures

  • Man Overboard Drill
  • Fire Drill
  • Abandon Ship and Life Raft


[tab title=”Apps”]
Apps List


FiMiC Pro
Gives many advanced video controls for iPhones

Enables easy time-lapse video shooting

Extracts stills from video on iPhone


Control GoPro cameras via iPhone, Android or Windows smartphones and tablets

Give video a retro 8mm look – actually used for a feature film

Helps create shot lists for pre-production

Video Space
Utility for calculating how much disk space video files will take up. Useful for desktop and laptop video archiving

Ustream Broadcaster
Enables live video webcasts (need internet connection)


Apple’s video editor for iPhone and iPad

Reel Director
Video Editing


Advanced camera controls

Top Camera
Advanced camera controls

Advanced camera controls

Advanced camera controls

Allows control of shutter speed on iPhone

Enables parts of images to be thrown out of focus

Enables photo and video transfer wirelessly from different devices, particularly Eye-Fi cards.

Stitching software for creating panoramas

Enables reading of EXIF data from photos

Enables reading of EXIF data from photos with some additional features

Enables creation of animated GIF photography. You’ll see what this on the website.


Perfectly Clear (Apple iOS and Android)
Helps clean up images

Diptic (Apple iOS and Android)
Excellent collage creation app

Photogene (Apple iOS)
Photo editing

Colorsplash (Apple iOS)
Enables selective color display on images

DramaticB&W (Apple iOS)
Easily creates black, white and greyscale images

FX Photo Studio Pro (Apple iOS)
Full featured image editing

Snapseed (Apple iOS and Android)
Photo editing and special effects

Most of these need an internet connection to be useful or used.



MapBox and TileMill



NGS GeoStories

Google Earth

Google Earth Tours

GPS Visualizer

There are a number of these. Here are few I’ve tried.

Excellent for charts on iPhone iPads and Android Devices

Renders custom vector maps from official navigation charts

Flexible digital charting app

Navigation app

NOAA charts

Garmin Mobile Apps (Apple and Android)

There are many, many apps in this area. I have something like over 30 installed. I’ve just picked a few here that would be relevant.
NOTE:Many of these require a live internet connection and may not be able to display weather data outside of US waters.

My go to weather app. Lots of information at your fingertips

Downloads wind Grib files for up to date wind conditions and forecasting

NOAA Radar Pro
Nice interface with a lot of information and layers

Hurricane Pro
Excellent hurricane info, tracking and history app

Excellent visualization tool for seeing winds globally. Needs an internet connection. No hard data, just wind.

MyRadar Pro

Nice use of NOAA weather radar data

Nice clean weather info interface

Very good radar app

Provides up to data NOAA warnings and weather for up to five locations

HF Fax (Apple and Android)
Innovative app that converts sound of an incoming weather fax into a digital representation on your iPhone or iPad.

Weather Calc
Good weather and meteorology calculations app

Full featured weather app showing global weather

Shows select news making global weather events

Boating Weather
Quickly shows NOAA weather reports

Yahoo Weather
One of the nicer weather interfaces

Weather Underground (Apple and Android and a few other platforms)
Well known weather service, now available for mobile devices

NOAA Weather Radio
Gives access to not only radio forecasts, but specific radar maps as well

Dark Sky
Predictive rain app. Lots of other weather apps use their algorithm.

Weendy (Apple and Android)
Crowd sourced wind info with user uploaded pictures.

Living Earth
Impressive globe imagery with weather info. Mostly great eye-candy

Cartography, Data Collection and Location focused Apps
Some of these are not appropriate for open ocean use, namely the elevation related apps.

FulcrumApp (Apple/Android)
Excellent data collection app and service. Completely customizable and flexible tool. Allows full data export.

FileMaker Go (Apple iOS)
Full featured relational database for mobile use

CyberTracker – Android
Wildlife Census taking app

Theodolite (Apple iOS)
Innovative tool that uses augmented reality imaging to display a range of data

Pro Compass (Apple iOS)
Full featured compass

Field Notes (Apple iOS/Android)
Excellent field note app with many features

Geo Elevation (Apple iOS)
Measures elevation with nice cross section views

Elevation Chart (Apple iOS)

Measure Map Pro (Apple iOS)
Excellent map measuring tool.

Topo Maps (Apple iOS)
Great for topo map use

MyAltitude (Apple iOS)
Altitude utility app

Earth Observer (Apple iOS)
Excellent general reference tool for earth data. From Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Useful geospatial map measuring tool

Geo Measure
Another good map measuring app, not to be confused with the one above.

Fog of World
Fun game like app that “paints” where you have been on a global map

Pocket Earth
Nice offline map app. There a number of similar apps to this out there.


ESRI ArcGIS (Apple iOS, Android, Windows 8)
Interfaces with ESRI GIS files and ArcGIS Online. Third party developers have used platform to make other apps.

ESRI ArcGIS Online
Online version of ArcGIS (but without many of the desktop features). Require internet connection and modern web browser

GIS for mobile use

Wolf-GIS (Apple and Android)
GIS for mobile use

Full featured GIS for iPhones and iPads

GPS Kit (Apple iOS)
My favorite GPS app


Mobile GIS companion to Cartographica Mac desktop app (See below)

Full Desktop GIS for Mac – Many people wonder if such a thing exits. It does!

No mobile version, but good open source GIS that works on multiple platforms. Alternative to ArcGIS

GPS and Map Toolbox
Provides for various mapping features


Duke Marine Lab Catchalot app



Shark Net

Whale Alert

Chirp! USA
App for birders!-bird-song-usa-+/id364891918?mt=8

Provides recreational fishing info for a variety of species. Good general biology info and images.

WildLab Bird
App for birders

MyNature Tracks
Wildlife track field guide

Audubon Field Guides
Comprehensive field guides

Fishes of the Greater Caribbean
Good fish reference

iBird and iBird Pro
Flagship birding app


There is an increasingly number of apps in this area. Some of these are links to lists of the different projects.

Lists of projects
Cornell University Lab of Ornithology clearing house for citizen science projects



Specific apps

Project Noah
Popular nature photo app


Detailed botanical database


Secchi Disk Project
Measures marine phytoplankton density with secchi disks


Useful for calculating how much sun exposure you can have

Detects large and subtle earthquakes.

Not really a wildlife Guide but has useful boater info

Wikipedia Offline
Useful for having access to Wikipedia without an internet connection

[tab title=”Itinerary”]

March 7:  Students will be picked up by dinghy at the dock  in Boca Chica, just East of the international airport. Everyone will have an opportunity to settle into the yacht, and put away their personal belongings. The captain and first mate will give crew a safety and expedition briefing, followed by basic safety training. After an evening meal, the crew will retire and sleep on Sea Dragon for the night.

March 8:  Students will go out for a morning sail aboard Sea Dragon, before returning to her mooring to explore the reefs on the south shore of the DR.

March 9:  Sea Dragon will work east along the coast, visiting some field sites that have been identified by scientists at UM as needing further exploration.

March 10:  Sea Dragon will work east along the coast, visiting some field sites that have been identified by scientists at UM as needing further exploration.

March 11:  Sea Dragon will sail around the east end of the Dominican Republic and into the Mona Passage

March 12:  Sea Dragon will sail into the bay of Samana, a world famous destination for whales.

March 13:  The crew will explore Samana Bay and its national park.

March 14:  The crew will explore Samana Bay and its national park.

March 15:  Sea Dragon will return to the town of Samana, and students can disembark and take the bus back to the airport.


[tab title=”More Information”]

What to Bring:

In addition to the Tropical Kit List, you are advised to bring a smartphone or camera, tablet or laptop, and external storage device.

Please note that Sea Dragon is a dry vessel. No alcohol or cigarettes will be permitted on board.


Contribution Includes:

  • 8 nights accommodation on Sea Dragon
  • All meals, snacks and drinks on board
  • Sailing instruction scientific leadership training
  • Training and education covered in the syllabus
  • Safety equipment and foul weather gear
  • Opportunity to receive IYT Introduction to Boating and International Crew Certificate upon passing of exam

Contribution Does Not Include:

  • Transportation to and from the Dominican Republic
  • Transportation to and from the dock
  • Additional nights spent ashore
  • Personal expense while in port


Visa Requirements

Students will require a passport from their home country that will allow them to travel to the Dominican Republic. There may be specific visa requirements for students from countries outside of North America. For specific visa information, contact the Embassy of the Dominican Republic: