Crewmembers analyze plastic samples (Photo by Sophie Dingwall)

Lessons from a Round-the-World Voyage Cut Short

eXXpedition clocked 10,000 nautical miles before COVID-19 hit— and they aren’t done

Crew collect trash on an uninhabited island in the San Blas Islands (Leg 5, photo by Sophie Dingwall)
Photo by Nomad Neumonics

“We all live on the planet, we all consume plastic or have plastic as part of our lives, and therefore we need all solutions to make a difference.”

So far, 80 women from 23 countries have participated — nearly doubling the number of eXXpedition ambassadors (or participants of past voyages) so far.

Left: microplastic samples; right: a crewmember uses the Perkin Elmer FT-IR (Photos by Sophie Dingwall)
Left: the manta trawl skims the ocean surface; right: Sally Earthrowl inspects a surface sample (Leg 4, photos by Jamie Coleman)

“We’re just making the most of the opportunities we’ve got at the moment with the SHiFT platform and the virtual impact we can make.”

Personally, Sally found, life aboard the S.V. TravelEdge prepared her well for lockdown. “When you’re out at sea, you have to prepare and take everything you’re going to need. When we first went into lockdown, I was provisioning my house like I would a sailing vessel,” she said.

Findings onshore (Leg 5, photo by Sophie Dingwall)

“If you don’t turn off the tap, you’re constantly going to be mopping. It’s about stopping that flow of plastics into the ocean that we really value as the biggest change.”

Until the S.V. TravelEdge makes its way back to Tahiti to complete the voyage, Sally finds herself inspired by the community online and the legacy that the eXXpedition has already created with women of all fields around the world. And she has no doubt that, come April, or whenever it’s safe to return to sea, the voyage will commence with the same infectious enthusiasm as before.

Leg 3, photo by Sophie Dingwall



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