About eXXpedition

eXXpedition specializes 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. Previous research carried out by eXXpedition has highlighted the endemic nature of microplastics within our ocean environments globally and the increasing potential impact they have on human health. eXXpedition was founded in 2014 by ocean advocate Emily Penn and Dr. Lucy Gilliam to make the unseen seen, from the toxins in our bodies to the toxins in our seas. eXXpedition became a Community Interest Company in 2017. You can read more information about eXXpedition here. Please go visit the website, it has SO much great information, the Shift toolkit, science, crew directory, resources for schools, past crew ambassadors, and of course the CREW!

Our boat is S/V TravelEdge! She is a ketch, which means that she has two masts, a taller main mast and shorter mizzen mast behind it. With a main sail, a mizzen sail and an assortment of headsails to be hoisted, there is plenty for the crew to do – and not much chance of getting bored!

Track the boat! Follow TraveEdge around the world! <—— click here!

Here she is waiting for Leg 1 to kick off October 7th in Plymouth, UK

My role

On board Discovery, each eXXpedition crew is carefully selected for the combination of skills and life experiences that we collectively offer. They believe that this provides the greatest potential for interdisciplinary collaboration and the opportunity to look at complex challenges from different perspectives.


The SHiFT Method:
Throughout each leg of the trip, the activities on board are carefully curated to take crew members on a transformative journey that will shift the way they feel, think and act to help solve the ocean plastic crisis. Through hands-on experiences, talks and immersive workshops, each step of the method is designed to help people see the problem firsthand, understand the threats to the environment and to ourselves, explore different solutions, find their role in helping solve it and finally, taking action – inspire others to follow.

Each crew member takes shifts navigating, cooking, cleaning, and all participate in the sample collections.

On land, we engage local communities and participate in beach cleaning efforts.

https://www.facebook.com/yachtdiscovery/photos/p.2533204236904824/2533204236904824/?type=1&theater

The Science

During every eXXpedition voyage, the crew carries out citizen science to collect data and samples for our partner scientists. By doing this, we will feed into bigger studies looking at the global impact of plastic and toxic pollution in our oceans. This also gives us the opportunity to experience plastic pollution first hand and get a broader picture of how the science in the area is developing. While on board:

● we will develop an understanding of the wider impact of plastic and toxic pollution on the environment, marine life and human health

● we will learn about the scientific protocols to collect data and samples for each project

● we will take part in data and sample collection as part of your daily routine as a member of the crew The science is likely to vary between voyages, but may include microplastic collection from the surface of the water, air sampling for microfibres and water sampling for microplastic, nano plastic and toxics.

For our Round the World voyages, eXXpedition will be partnering with internationally-recognized ocean plastic experts to carry out plastics-related citizen science, both at sea and on shore. Professor Richard Thompson and his team of scientists at the University of Plymouth, UK, will be taking the lead on our sea-based science program, while the collaboration with Dr. Jambeck and the University of Georgia, USA, will be focused on land impacts. The impacts on local communities will be measured using a Circularity Assessment Protocol, developed at the University of Georgia, which looks at everything from waste washed up on coastlines to plastics in community shops

Making the unseen seen

eXXpedition wants to bring attention to women in STEM careers, as sailors, and activists.

Leg 13: Vanuatu to Cairns

The final leg across the South Pacific will be sure to deliver excitement! Starting in Vanuatu, we will work with a local community group to find out more about the plastic pollution issues on the islands. Vanuatu is a mountainous archipelago and will provide a stunning backdrop to our onshore activities. We will sail West 1300 nautical miles to Cairns, Australia and continue our scientific research whilst at sea, deploying the manta trawl to collect sea surface samples and even managing to process some of these on board. We will be offshore for 10 days and during this time we will skirt the bioregion of the Coral Sea, a marginal sea stretching 2000km down the North East coast of Australia. In addition, we will hopefully be treated to sights of the Minke whale and Humpback whale migration that occurs along this coast at this time of year! When we reach land we will head into Cairns to share tales from our crossing and raise awareness about the impact that plastic pollution is having on our oceans and on us.

Fundraising

Budget

I have to fund my transportation and crew contribution to set sail in Vanuatu on June 5th, 2020. I will also ask for contributions to attend the eXXpedition Summit in London in September 2019 and all the visa fees, gear, and expenses associated with travelling. If I raise more money, I would like to help another woman have the chance to pay for her crew contribution by working with eXXpedition to set up a fund.

Here is an estimate of my budget:
Deposit paid June 2019: $1980
London September 2019 (flights, hotel, ground transport 4 nights): $2880
Crew contribution payment #1 due 11/01/2019: $2650
Crew contribution payment #2 due 02/01/2020: $2650
Misc supplies, travel insurance, and visa fees: $750
Flight to Vanuatu, Oceania (w/ 1 night hotel & ground transportation) 06/03/2020: $2300
Flight home  from Cairns, Australia (w/ 1 night hotel & ground transportation) 06/22/2020: $1500
I am trying to raise $15,000

Please visit my GoFundMe or you can donate by using my PayPal at:

julie.sommer.hug@gmail.com

Next Steps…

When I return from the voyage, I plan to find a niche in my community where I can help tackle a plastic pollution issue. There are many avenues to pursue within these 3 routes.

The Reduction route: work to reduce to production of plastics into the community by working to prevent plastics from entering the environment. This means finding affordable alternatives and making sustainable purchases. This is achievable. Plastic use is associated with a “throwaway” culture. I hope to encourage plastic reduction thorough education about the toxins released in the life-cycle of making plastic and it’s persistence in the world after it is produced.

The Recycling route: We all know we can never truly be plastic free, so I can focus on a program to keep certain common plastics out of the environment by ensuring they get to a recycling facility. Examples of these “certain” plastics may include cigarette butts, Styrofoam, plastics that are hard to recycle in the community, raising awareness of certain recycling programs (i.e. contacts (Bausch and Lomb) cigarette butts (Terracycle), etc.

The Public Health route: Plastic pollution poses a tremendous health threat. I am not a Physician nor do I have a Public Health degree, but I do work on the Nebraska Medicine-University of Nebraska Medical Center Campus. I can envision a great partnership for public outreach.

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