eXXpedition, an all-women microplastic research expedition, completed a round trip of Britain in the Summer to raise awareness of ocean plastic and sample the water to see what damage is being done.
The month long voyage aboard S/V Sea Dragon, which started in Plymouth on 8 August, sailed into the heart of all four of Britain’s capital cities, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and London, as well as to the Isle of Arran in the Clyde.
The all-female crew collected scientific samples and data on plastics and toxics in UK waters. These samples and data will be analysed by specialists across the UK, in Germany and in the USA and will help provide a clearer image of plastic and toxic pollution in UK waters.
The female crew members included scientists, students, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, ocean activists and sustainability professionals, who ranged from first-time to experienced sailors. They battled against fierce winds and sea sickness during some of the legs, which tested even the most experienced among the crew.
eXXpedition’s Round Britain voyage was the focus of a Sky News documentary, A Plastic Voyage, which can be viewed below.
The team travelled 2,035 nautical miles and collected nearly 100 scientific samples for further analysis.
The eXXpedition team believe that to combat plastic and toxic pollution there needs to be action taken internationally.
eXXpedition co-founder Emily Penn said: “We need to understand the problem and collecting data is a really good way of doing that. We also need to be able to monitor how the problem’s changing and so ongoing science is key. I personally am at the point where I don’t need any more science to make a change and I think a lot of other people are at the same point. It’s not about waiting for more papers to be published to tell us what’s wrong, but more about thinking “okay, we know there’s a problem, let’s act.” That’s why a huge focus of our program was about action.”
eXXpedition, the community interest company behind Round Britain, specialises in all-women sailing trips with a focus on highlighting the devastating impact single-use plastic and toxics from land-based activities are having on our planet’s oceans, ecosystems and on human health.
eXXpedition’s next voyage will be North Pacific 2018 which will take in two legs from Hawaii to Vancouver and Vancouver to Seattle and Vancouver Islands. If you are interested in becoming a crew member, visit eXXpedition’s website.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.