Sea Blog

A Remembrance for Lost Species ceremony on board as the crew find microscopic plastic pieces in the sea…

30th November 2014

19 40.70 N

49 19.10 W

The morning was greeted with an incredible sunrise and the company of a mixed pod of dolphins, including both clymene and spotted, entertaining us with their antics at the side of the boat for at least a quarter hour.

The winds have died down to 10 to 15 knots necessitating the use of our engine. With the calmer conditions, our resident Koala Bear, Shanley attempted an assent of the mast and captured some incredible images of the boat and surrounding sea. Yikes, she’s a brave one, as the sea still tossed her back and forth from the height of nearly 96 feet.

Temperatures have also increased on board, as the crew seeks out small areas of shade from the intense sunshine. No complaints here though as winter has come to many of our homelands, bringing very low temperatures and snow. The water temperature also continue to rise as we head further south, and is now measured at 82.5 F!

We were able to do more trawling today and found a few pieces of plastic amongst the varied marine life, mostly invertebrates and a few larval fish, captured in the net. Some plastic pieces are only visible under the microscope, pointing to the great potential for ingestion by marine fauna.

Laura introduced us all to a Remembrance Day ceremony for threatened and endangered species, organized every 30th of November, to commemorate the loss of species on our planet. On board Sea Dragon, we decided to conduct our ceremony by releasing paper cut-outs of a variety of marine animals off the side of Sea Dragon. As the paper silhouettes drifted away we were all silent and contemplative, considering the various impacts and contributors to extinction and the very real toll this is taking on those beings with whom we share this planet.

Discussions on board have also centered on making visual the problems we are facing with plastics. This was further emphasized in the evening presentation by Maria, our other on-board artist Maria shared with us pictures of her many dramatic sculptures and installations that capture the impact of humans on the environment. She has no shortage of creative raw materials and easily collects several bags of plastic daily from a small patch of beach. At a distance her art work is alluring, with a range of colours and shapes, but as one gets closer, the image sharpens and we are faced with the unsettling evidence of our daily consumption and careless waste. She highlighted her passion for making visual the footprints we leave behind as we discard many of the trappings of everyday life, much of which washes up on the shores of the river near where she lives and works. Maria’s work will no doubt continue to provoke further thought an d consideration of our management of waste.

Our evening watches are now shared under a startlingly bright moon, which lights up the surrounding sea, and provides a guide on our journey. And as the chocolate supplies are running low, we are all keen to reach Martinique. Seven hundred nautical miles to go!

Sea Blog

Buy Nothing Day and Malin’s Norwegian environmental activism

20’ 44,13 N
46’ 47,16 W

Today all 14 of us succeeded in the International Buy Nothing Day mission by not buying anything! Easy!

Another day in Sea-She Dragon has passed.

Even with no more fresh fruit on board (eek!) we are still enjoying this amazing bold adventure all together in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Today we spotted a whale on our horizon – was that fin a shark or what? – but then we saw the unmistakable blow as she came up to breathe which clearly defined her identity.

Sadly she passed us in a few minutes without stopping for a chat.

We are still enjoying the amazing crew members’ talks, and yesterday evening we heard from the Norwegian environmental activist Malin.

Malin started her environmental activist career at the early age of 14 and then by 18 she was named Norway’s Environmental Hero after succeeding in her work to stop Hydro’s oil drilling off the southern coast of Norway.

Even at her young age, her work has consisted of intense involvement at the intersection of environmental activism and political participation. Questions of where our energies are best directed arise directly from this. Her talk has kicked off an active discussion on board about how individual actions can move and inspire bigger decisions even at higher political levels.

Malin has a unique way of combining laughter, crazy ideas (rollerblading across the Lofoten Islands anyone?) and a driven, serious determination, all with a dash of punk rock. All great ways to change the world.

A wind of active positivism has blown directly on our sails last night.

Listening to Malin’s story has brought an inspirational mood on board, fuelling thoughts and ideas about our eXXpedition mission to make the unseen seen.

 

Sea Blog, Uncategorized

Our director, Laura gave a talk about Wayra the puma as well as the ONCA Gallery!

27th November 2014

22 36.10 N

42 05.69 W

Happy Thanksgiving America!

We celebrated this holiday with three of our American shipmates – Diana, Shanley & Jenna. For many, it was their first Thanksgiving and although there was no turkey or “tofurkey” in sight, the occasion was complete with pancakes and the last of our fresh fruit (Eek!). The day ended with a bright moon on the water and each of us sharing what we are grateful for. Reflections on our current journey as well as tributes to family and friends were recurring themes. Also, our gratefulness to each other for creating an environment of support, caring and harmony in our floating shelter, very far from home.

But wait! We are getting ahead of ourselves here. Due to continued conditions at sea making trawling impossible – we were able to have two talks today instead of one. So, in our ‘hour of science’ we heard from our resident aquatic toxicologist, Diana, about her amazing career pushing boundaries and exploring endocrine disrupters in fish habitats throughout the US. Her typically infectious smile and laugh ebbed as we discussed the seriousness of the situation. However, her passion and energy for action was inspiring to us all, emphasising that we must adopt a whole system view to combat the problem – not just focus on the impacts that humans alone will experience.

The focus on animals continued in our evening talk, given by one of our artists in residence, Laura. She spoke of an animal that changed her life – Wayra – a puma saved from the Bolivian black market that she has helped to rehabilitate in an animal refuge over the past 8 years. Laura returned from her initial time with Waora to a very different England from the one she’d left. She found herself changed and with a new passion to share her experience of connecting with nature through art. She created an amazing gallery space in Brighton, establishing a charity – ONCA – and has since worked with over 1,000 artists to explore our multifaceted and complex relationship with the world around us.

It was after this that we gave our thanks, and she finished the evening with a quote from Keri Hulme’s ‘The Bone People’. It is incredible, that one quote can encapsulate so much of how we feel about what we are doing here, in the middle of the Ocean:

They were nothing more than people, by themselves. Even paired, any pairing, they would have been nothing more than people by themselves. But all together, they have become the heart and muscles and mind of something perilous and new, something strange and growing and great.

Together, all together, they are the instruments of change.