eXXpedition North Pacific crew member and marketing professional Meg Tapp shares how being on board has boosted her understanding of the science behind ocean plastic!
“Being on Sea Dragon is all at once both exactly how I imagined it and nothing like it. The experience of being aboard with these incredible women is eye-opening in the best way, and while I was ready to learn and discover with them, nothing could have prepared me for the realities of this trip.
As a beginner to this world, there has been an awful lot to take in, so it is so great to have this strong group around me to show me how everything is done. The sailing is tricky – I write this with the boat at quite an angle! – and the seasickness has been worse. A few of us have suffered, but I think I’m the only one so far who has done it so publically!
Getting my head around the science has also been hard. 10 years ago I failed one of my science GCSEs, so I really don’t take anything for granted when it comes to that part of the process. Immy Napper is a total force to be reckoned with, and she has been so patient answering all my silly questions about polymers and toxins, so I finally feel like some of it is starting to sink in.
Yesterday was a very rocky and seasick day, but I did get above deck to join in the manta trawl experiment, and see what plastic particles and fibres were present in our water sample. I have read and studied and watched so much about plastic pollution, but seeing it for myself was something completely different. A dozen particles in a reasonably small sample of water (.5×2,000 meters) may not immediately seem like a lot, but stretched out across a whole world of ocean, that suddenly becomes a startling statistic. In the weirdest possible way, I am looking forward to seeing what else comes from our water samples, and understanding more of the situation in these remote coastlines.
I arrived on Sea Dragon completely convinced that I could not do this, and that I simply was not up to the challenge. I had never expected to feel so at home amongst like-minded women who can guide me through all the questions I have had over the last three days. I can’t wait to see what Victoria and the Broken Islands bring us, from the hard-hitting data that comes from our water samples, to the unbelievably stunning scenery that has become the new normal here.
If anyone reading this has previously felt intimidated by the scale and scope of a project like this, and worried about being ‘good’ enough to put themselves forward, my advice would be: do it anyway. I could not be further from my comfort zone, and I could not have less confidence in myself as a valuable contributor to this trip. But every pair of eyes on this is crucial – whether we are scientisists, film makers, or simply people who want to do their best in their day-to-day, nothing can possibly beat the experience of seeing this for yourself. We are all of us responsible tog ether for our oceans; they have no real boundary, and so neither should we. From all walks of life, we can make a real difference.
The ocean is waiting – come and see it for yourself. You will not be disappointed.”
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The North Pacific Crew will be sending us daily updates from Sea Dragon, which will be posted here on the eXXpedition website. You will also be able to see updates from the crew and ground team throughout North Pacific on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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