eXXpedition – a reflection on my time at sea


Drawing with headlamps during early morning watch

Where to start?

eXXpedition Amazon was a life changing experience. Hopefully I can share some of what and why here. Sadly I don’t think I’ll be able to do it justice.


Beach cleanup in Olinda with local conservation organizations

To find the blog posts that we wrote while on the boat – you can find the first of them here. And then follow the link at the bottom of the page to find the next and the next and the next. If you’re only interested in my writings from on board, you can find them here (but you’re missing out on the brilliance of the rest of the crew):

img_6270For me eXXpedition as an organization is a melding of many things important to me; environmental activism, citizen engagement, volunteerism, protecting the ocean, empowerment of women, multi-generational community, international collaboration, and sailing just to name a few. When I saw the documentary (watch it here) about the first eXXpedition Atlantic in 2014, I knew that I felt called to contribute to this work.

eXXpedition: Making the Unseen Seen (Trailer) from eXXpedition on Vimeo.

img_3031I went home after watching the documentary and filled out the online application form, put my computer away and didn’t think much more of it. Though passionate about biology and the environment, I had studied Business and Not-For-Profit Management at Earlham. I hadn’t done research since I was in university, and though a certified PADI Open Water Scuba instructor, I didn’t think that was so special it would make me a person of interest for the crew they were putting together.

img_7848Fortunately for me… they were putting together a crew specifically to show that anyone can be involved and participate if they care enough about it. They work to find balance and diversity, but I didn’t need to be a professional sailor, biologist, researcher or conservationist (though they take those too). So, blah blah blah… needless to say, I was interviewed, selected and then had to both tell my parents what I’d signed up for, ensure they were game to cover the farm for me while I was gone AND figure out how to raise the funds.

img_7864One of the things I really valued about needing to fund raise for my participation in eXXpedition was that it provided me with an opportunity to start raising awareness about the environmental concerns about plastics (and micro and nano plastics) and toxics in our waterways, oceans and selves. I did broad outreach and publicized what I was planning on doing and participating in, in a way that I wouldn’t have if I was completely self funding a trip. I feel like my involvement with eXXpedition was upheld and supported by my community in a way that few other things have. It was incredible to feel the interest, support and love which was shown in many different ways. THANK YOU. Whether you donated money, helped watch the farm, covered one of my many other responsibilities, followed along as we sailed, listened to me once we were back and I needed to tell you everything I learned and experienced, loaned me gear, gave me advice, or invited me to your school or community group to present about eXXpedition’s mission. THANK YOU.

img_8164I will write more a blow by blow of my experience on the boat – but… not here, I think that would be asking a bit TOO much of you, dear reader. I’ll make a separate blog post for that.

Instead, I’ll try to summarize some of my thoughts about it all, now having had a year of reflection.

One important thing that I’ve realized is that each of us has our part to do, and that each of us is in a different place on the continuum in terms of scale and readiness. Because of my involvement with eXXpedition I am ready to (and have) made a lot of cha


dsc00224The end of our time on Sea Dragon was quite dramatic, and if you only read one blog post about the whole trip- let me recommend “Drama in Guyana” written by our first mate, Emily Caruso.

20151216_111330If you’re inspired by what eXXpedition is doing and have an interest in getting involved, they continue to have new trips happening each year. Check out their website and find one that you could participate in!

~ by mcquaka on December 30, 2015.

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