24 Women. 3,000 nautical miles. One mission: Make the unseen seen
Plastic is found everywhere and in everything. This reality affects all levels of the marine food web. Right now, we carry toxic chemicals related to plastics in our own bodies. The more we learn about this reality, the more empowered we become in the battle to change it.
In collaboration with Parley and supported by TOMRA recycling, the pioneering all-female crew of "eXXpedition North Pacific" recently set sail from Honolulu, Hawaii, on a scientific research mission led by award-winning British skipper, Parley collaborator and ocean advocate, Emily Penn. The voyage will investigate solutions to the devastating impacts of plastic and related toxic pollutants in the world’s oceans, and bring global awareness to three "unseens": women in science; pollution in our oceans and bodies; and rises in disease, especially in young women.
The expedition crew is comprised of a diverse and international group of 24 women from Britain, the U.S., Canada, Slovenia, Norway and Honduras. Learn more about the crew here.
Split over two voyage legs, the group will journey for a month over 3,000 nautical miles on a 72 ft sailing research vessel, Sea Dragon, through the densest ocean plastic accumulation zone on the planet, the North Pacific Gyre — better known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The first leg will bring the crew from Hawaii to Vancouver (June 25-July 15) with the goal to further explore and understand microplastic pollution. Leg 2 will focus on the impacts of plastic on remote island shorelines as Sea Dragon sails from Vancouver to Seattle, via Vancouver Island (July 21-July 28).
- Raise awareness of the devastating impact of single-use plastic and toxics in the world’s oceans
- Champion and contribute to innovative scientific research to tackle the crisis
- Celebrate women in science, leadership and adventure
- Create a community of female changemakers and inspiring global ambassadors to tackle plastic pollution and its environmental and health impacts
The crew will conduct daily trawls for plastics and pollutants, and collect data for a variety of global datasets and scientific research studies along the way. This data is used to support scientists in the UK, Canada, Switzerland and the USA including conservation organization Ocean Wise in Canada and the Hawaii Pacific University. Studies range in focus from understanding the impact of plastic pollution on sea turtle environments to microplastics and the impact of toxics carried on plastic, on our bodies.
“Bold, exciting and innovative science into plastic and toxics is at the heart of all eXXpedition voyages. This year, we are seeing a shift in scientific focus. Scientists still want to know how much plastic is out there and where it is, but they also want to know which toxic chemicals are on the surface of it, whether organisms are growing on it and what the impacts might be on wildlife, and on us.”
- Mission Leader Emily Penn
eXXpedition, the British Community Interest Company behind North Pacific 2018, specialises in all-women sailing expeditions. This is the 10th eXXpedition voyage and the first in the North Pacific Gyre. It has the endorsement and support of the UN Environment Clean Seas initiative and Ocean Wise.
Earlier this month, on World Environment Day, Mission Leader and co-Founder of eXXpedition, Emily Penn, was awarded the British Prime Minister's Points of Light award. It recognises outstanding individuals and noted the important work of the eXXpedition voyages in scientific research and ocean advocacy.