North Pacific 2018 Crew

Meet the eXXpedition North Pacific 2018 Crew

Emily Penn – Mission Director

As co-founder of eXXpedition EMILY has seen first hand how much plastic ends up in our ocean. She has spent the last decade exploring the high seas from the tropics to the Arctic – enabling scientists, filmmakers and interested individuals to gain access to the most remote parts of our planet via Pangaea Exploration’s 72ft sailing expedition vessel, Sea Dragon.

She has organised the largest ever community-led waste cleanup from a tiny Tongan island, trawled for micro-plastics on a voyage through the Arctic Northwest Passage, rounded the planet on the record-breaking biofuelled boat Earthrace, and worked on a sailing cargo ship trading western supplies for coconuts.

Emily splits her time between running eXXpedition and developing upstream solutions to the ocean plastic issue with Parley for the Oceans, corporate partners, scientists and government bodies. An experienced public speaker, Emily speaks around the world at conferences, universities and global companies about her adventures and issues relating to our oceans, human mindset and future society.

Emily will be sailing on both leg 1 and leg 2 of eXXpedition North Pacific 2018. You can find more information on Emily’s projects at



Leg 1 Crew
North Pacific Gyre


Sally Earthrowl – Deputy Mission Leader

“I’m super excited to be collaborating with other inspirational women to raise awareness of the visible and invisible pollution that has ended up in our oceans, and in us.”

SALLY is a keen environmentalist, Geography teacher and whole-school Teaching and Learning Coordinator. Having worked in both London schools and a school in Bali over her twelve-year teaching career, Sally values the importance and power of education as a key contributor to the sustainable management of global issues.

Living in Bali, she has seen first-hand the devastating effect and upstream issues around plastic pollution in a developing country. She is hugely passionate about our planet and has worked closely with the local community in Bali to educate and raise awareness to bring about change in local waste management systems and behaviours. Sally hopes to be able to use what she learns on board Sea Dragon and her experience in the realm of education to take action in raising awareness to change consumer habits and reduce our impact on our planet.


Eleanor Church – Documentary Filmmaker and Photographer

“I’m excited about working with the crew to use film and photos to engage people even further with ocean plastics, to bring the viewer with us on our expedition and to explore where we go from here.”

A documentary filmmaker, photographer, mother, adventurer, environmentalist and swimmer, ELEANOR been making films for over 15 years, in challenging conditions all over the world. Her work has always focussed on the environment and people, and the impact that they have on one another. Often her work has been linked to the sea – from illegal fishing in West Africa and human rights abuses in the Thai fishing industry, to fish sustainability and pollution. Eleanor’s mission over the years has been to find the most effective and creative way of putting these stories across, to nudge people to see things differently and to bring about change.

Eleanor is sponsored by:

Emily Duncan – PhD Researcher

“I’m joining this voyage to assess the magnitude of both macro and micro plastic pollution in the North Pacific”

EMILY is a PhD researcher at University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. The research focus is on the Impacts of plastic pollution on marine turtles in research sites in the USA, Cyprus and Australia. Her area of expertise is the scientific background and consequences of plastic pollution on marine organisms and environments and sample collection for investigating plastic pollution in the marine environments, in particular large marine vertebrates (specialising marine turtles). During the eXXpedition North Pacific sail, Emily is planning to consider plastic pollution levels in the context of important development sites for post-hatchling marine turtles; a critical stage in development and recruitment in potentially vulnerable sub-populations.

Emily is sponsored by:

Jennifer Russell – Filmmaker

“I hope to gain inspiration and knowledge during the trip that I can use to raise awareness of the magnitude of the plastic pollution problem”

JENNIFER is a short filmmaker, who has been based in Hong Kong for the past 7 years. She produces short-form content, predominantly for distribution across social media. Jennifer is increasingly teaming up with brands who prioritise sustainability, as well as working for charities & NGOs to tell the stories that matter. As she’s become aware of the sheer volume of plastic in our seas, both in HK and globally.  As a child she was exposed to sailing by her parents and loves being on the water, whether on a boat, stand-up paddleboard or surfboard.

Rowan Henthorn – Marine Scientist

“I am passionate about the health of our marine environment and spreading the word about plastic pollution”

Growing up on the Isle of Man, ROWAN was immersed in the marine environment from an early age. At the age of five, she learnt to dive and snorkel in the waters around the Island. These early experiences created an inherent interest in the seas and led to her study a degree in ocean science and a masters in applied marine science at Plymouth University. Now working as a marine scientist, Rowan is passionate about the health of our marine environment, and is excited to be part of a team of inspiring woman that want to spread the word about plastic pollution to a global audience.

Rowan is a UNESCO Isle of Man Biosphere Ambassador.

Rowan is sponsored by:

Photo credit: Anne Valeur

Siri Østvold – Designer

“I’m excited about sharing compassion, gathering knowledge, doing hard work and exchanging ideas with a group of like-minded women with the love of the ocean and a desire to create positive change.”

SIRI spent a lot of time on sailboats while growing up – she loves being on the ocean and in the surf. As a designer based in Oslo, she is enjoying the long coastline of Norway. Her work involves developing brands, concepts and completing identity processes.
Siri believes in a starting point in research, insight and a curious mind, which might lead to pleasant surprises and sustainable solutions. Driven by personal motivation, she wants to use her expertise and experience within design and storytelling to contribute to a cause that’s close to her heart and affects us all.

Siri is sponsored by:

Kristine Berg – Circular Economy Communicator

“People will care to save the oceans when they know more about them (to paraphrase a great man), so I am both excited and nervous about seeing exactly what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch looks like”

KRISTINE is a circular economy nerd, hobby photographer, outdoors human and environmentalist. Born and raised amidst the deep fjords of Norway, her grandfather taught her the joys and mysteries of the ocean from an early age. Excited by the complexity of human behaviour and science of sustainability, she has worked with innovation, non-profits and sustainability consulting. But it was after working at a surf camp in Indonesia that she experienced first hand the devastating plastic pollution threatening our oceans and the communities that depend on them.

With degrees in Industrial Ecology and Political Science, Kristine now works as Community Manager for TOMRA, living out her passion for innovative recycling. She is thrilled to be spending time on the ocean with amazing and talented women,  working hard and exploring how they can empower others to understand how to care for the ocean. Her goal is also to help develop tools for the eXXpedition community to share their stories and inspire change after the voyage.


Ana Jarc – Environmental Engineering Student

“I come from a country where we don’t speak a lot about the plastic problem and pollution of water. I’m really looking forward to learning about those issues first hand in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and presenting it to my community after the expedition”

ANA is a final year student of Water Management and Environmental Engineering at University of Ljubljana. Coming from Slovenia, she spent all of her summers sailing the Adriatic sea with her family, where her love of ocean and sailing began. Ana is passionate about traveling, because it enables her to experience different cultures, ways of living and take on new adventures. She can’t wait to experience this voyage with these inspiring women from which she says she’s sure that she’ll learn so much.


Michelle Byle – Designer and Art Director

“I hope to gain first-hand experience of the full product life cycle in order to tell the whole story of how we’ve gotten here and what we can do to effect positive change in the packaging industry.”

MICHELLE is a multidisciplinary designer and art director based in San Francisco, California. She loves to help shape the way people experience the world through design, and believes in the power of visual communication to help educate and expose us to new things. In her career, Michelle has created educational exhibits for museums, and developed branding and corporate identities. She is currently working in marketing and packaging design as a creative lead at People Against Dirty, the parent company of the brands Method and Ecover, which have pioneered using plastic recovered from the ocean in their packaging.

Michelle’s first exposure to the problem of plastic debris in our oceans was as a volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, where sea lions, elephant seals and dolphins afflicted by entanglements are treated and rereleased into the wild. Her goal is to bring people who aren’t able to join the crew on the boat into the North Pacific, to see the problem first hand through the power of visual storytelling. She aims to use her design skills to raise awareness about what we each can do to reduce the use of plastic in our day-to-day lives, and to use what she learns onboard to influence the packaging industry in a positive way.


Karine Therrien – Yoga instructor

“I’m thrilled to be in a team who collect new data to get a better and updated understanding of the plastic in the ocean. I’m engaged and proactive and I want to take actions to improve the situation.”

KARINE is a mother of four, sailor, stand-up paddler and yoga instructor. Passionate about environmental sciences, water protection and having fun in water, she is a strong believer in healthy lifestyles and following our bliss. Having lived along the St-Laurence River and the Great Lakes, Karine is an avid advocate of sustainable agriculture. After her masters degree in agro-environmental engineering deepened her interests around water protection, she advised established farmers on soil management best practices and the future generation by teaching in college.

Education of science (learning and teaching) has always been, for Karine, the best way to bring awareness to people to change their actions. She’s passionate about scientific research, environment protection (mainly water), health, education (teaching and learning) and sailing. Karine is particularly motivated by the post voyage: educating people around the plastic issues in water, the link to our health and the impacts of our actions. She is planning to start by talking directly to children in schools.

Karine is sponsored by:

Leg 2 Crew
Vancouver to Seattle


Soraya Abdel-Hadi – eXXpedition Office Manager

SORAYA is a sustainability professional and advocate for women’s rights, who is passionate about creating a holistic approach to improving our planet. After graduating with a law degree, she worked as an equestrian journalist and then as a marketing manager, before returning to university to achieve her One Planet MBA. This business course with a focus on sustainability cemented her desire to integrate sustainable processes into organisations and demonstrate her values through her own actions. But Soraya believes that there is more to sustainability than the environment, it also encompasses culture and diversity, which is why she focused on women in leadership for her final project.

She joined the eXXpedition team in 2017 and was part of the land-based crew for eXXpedition Round Britain. Now, in addition to working as Office Manager for eXXpedition, she will be sailing on leg 2 of eXXpedition North Pacific this summer.

Soraya is supported by:

Beccy Finlayson – TV Researcher

“I think by being ‘at the coalface’, I will be better informed and more able to communicate a powerful conservation message.”

BECCY is an a researcher in television production with a specific interest in environmental conservation. While studying physical geography at university, she gained a greater understanding about the natural world and threats to it. She felt compelled to work towards spreading the environmental message and currently works in factual broadcasting, which involves finding incredible stories and people.
Beccy has always been at home near or on the sea and has crewed aboard various boats, including a square-rigged tall ship from Ireland to Holland. She is taking part in eXXpedition North Pacific because she wants to find out more about how plastic is impacting upon the health of our oceans and ourselves, and aims to broadcast this message through various means – from writing to social media or a short film. On a personal level, she wants to keep up her sailing experience.

Beccy is sponsored by:

Meg Tapp – Communications and Marketing

“I want to become an ambassador for this project and promote the role of women within STEM careers.”

MEG works in the waste and recycling team at her local council. Her area of expertise is in communications and marketing, using a variety of platforms to communicate messages to a wide customer base. Meg is joining eXXpedition North Pacific to gain first-hand knowledge of the extent of the plastic pollution problem, and take this experience with her into her future work.


Nikkey Dawn – Designer

“This leg will be travelling through my home turf – I can’t wait to connect with the community and start working on local initiatives to reduce the amount of plastics ending up in the ocean.”

NIKKEY is a designer/illustrator and photographer who uses her work as a tool to connect people with the environment. She has spent many years working in and with clients in the eco-tourism industry.
Nikkey hopes to highlight the impact microplastics have on the local marine life and empower others to become ocean stewards. She’s also looking forward to learning more about the sampling and analysis process, and immersing herself in the day to day of life at sea.

Nikkey is sponsored by:


Victoria Fritz – TV Presenter

“There’s every indication that a big change in consumer attitudes is already underway. This voyage positions the crew at the heart of the solution to the world’s plastics and packaging problems.”
VICTORIA is a BBC News journalist and television presenter with a personal interest in environmental affairs. She is a member of Global Women In News (GWIN) and a mentor to school children interested in journalism through the BBC’s School Report program. Victoria is looking forward to getting to know her fellow crew members better and learning about the journeys that have led them to Sea Dragon.


Sarah Michler – Film Producer

“eXXpedition combines two of my passions: research about plastics in the ocean and female empowerment. I hope to gain great friends in the other women on the boat. We can only begin to make a difference if we all come together”
SARAH is a film and commercial producer. She is currently producing a feature film in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the past few years, she has traveled all over the world to produce commercials for big brands such as Gatorade, Apple and Google. She aims to create a partnership between brands and filmmakers to help raise awareness on environmental issues and how the brands can make a change. After she finishes her feature film in March 2018, she is partnering with RedBull to create a film in virtual reality that follows the journey of a plastic bag from a child’s school lunch to the stomach of a whale. Sarah believes that film has the power to shock people into action.
In the fall, in order to deepen her knowledge in science, Sarah will be pursuing her graduate degree in climate and society at Columbia University. Sarah grew up racing 420s and lasers in Connecticut. She is so excited to get back on the water this summer and is eager to meet and to get to know the incredible women crew.


Imogen Napper – PhD Student

“I know how bad the situation is, but I would like to see it in my own eyes. I hope to use this experience as a platform for outreach work, demonstrating that there needs to be a change now; not in a few years”

IMOGEN is a PhD student at Plymouth University researching ‘The Sources and Fate of Plastic in the Marine Environment’. Her research has influenced the ban of microbeads in cosmetics internationally and was also the first to estimate plastic contamination into the marine environment from washing clothes.

 Imogen has been mostly lab-based during her PhD, so she is intrigued and eager to see the impact plastic can have both at sea and to coastline communities. She is passionate about science communication and is looking forward to using this North Pacific expedition as a platform to encourage positive change.

Imogen is sponsored by:

Ellise Chappell – Actress

“This expedition is going to be incredibly inspiring, but it will also be difficult to see first-hand the extent of the problem. I hope to use this experience to fuel my passion even further, and raise awareness around the issue of plastic pollution.”

ELLISE is an actress, who has enjoyed filming by the sea in Cornwall for the past two years. During that time, she has become more and more aware of the issues surrounding plastic pollution, and it has now become a deep-rooted passion of hers. Keen to take a step further in her involvement and eager to become more proactive, Ellise is thrilled to be joining Leg 2 of the eXXpedition North Pacific voyage. She can’t wait to challenge herself, gain new skills, become better informed of the problem, and learn from a group of inspiring, like-minded women from different backgrounds.


Laura Leiva – Marine Scientist

“I want to make the issue of the amount of toxics floating in our ocean a trending topic among my peers and I am looking forward to meet other women with my same ecological principles and passion.”

LAURA is a marine scientist and conservationist. Growing up in Honduras her passion since a young age was the constant exploration of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Throughout the years, Laura witnessed the ongoing deterioration of this beautiful but fragile ecosystem due to irresponsible fishing and plastic pollution, and pledged to be part of the solution by becoming a biologist.

Her area of expertise is marine benthic communities and she’s currently working as a research assistant for marine sponge molecular studies. Laura is interested to explore how nano plastics and micro plastics bioaccumulate, and how toxics biomagnify across the marine food web. Her main goal is to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in the ocean and the threat it poses to marine life and human health. Additionally, she is keen to know how much plastic is floating in the water column and, thus, reaching marine bottom-dwelling organisms. 


Bimadoshka Pucan – PhD Candidate

“I’m excited to share an Indigenous perspective with the rest of the crew and to bring ideas home from the voyage to my community”

Bimadoshka is a Anthropology PhD Candidate and mother to three sons, based in Ontario and is very active within her indigenous community. She is particularly concerned about environmental issues impacting Lake Huron and the rapid changes to the water quality in recent years.

By joining eXXpedition North Pacific, Bimadoshka welcomes the opportunity to bond with other like-minded women. As she has never been to British Columbia, she believes that the educational and spiritual experiences on the voyage will be countless.

Bimadoshka is sponsored by:

Boat Crew
Hawaii to Seattle

Imogen Robinson – Skipper

To IMOGEN, it feels just as natural being in the water as out. She’s a true water baby spending much of her upbringing by the water on the south coast of the UK. Growing up in small sailing dinghies and swimming competitively, she has now been working as a professional Skipper for the past 7 years. She has covered many miles all over the world, but has focused on the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. Through her extensive time at sea, she has built a huge passion for the world’s oceans, the environment and protecting nature.
Imogen is a crew member on her local RNLI LifeBoat, has previously skippered Sea Dragon and loves to spend her days in the ocean; diving, surfing and kite surfing. She also has a true love for photography. Imogen holds her MCA/RYA Yachtmaster Ocean, MCA/RYA Cruising instructor, MCA Ship’s Captain Medical & PADI Rescue Diver.

Anna Strang – First Mate

ANNA was taught to sail by her grandfather at an early age. By the tender age of six, Anna and her cousin were competitively racing Cadets out of Parkstone Yacht Club most weekends.

After sailing for all her childhood, she went on to make ‘messing around on boats’ a full time career. No stranger to Sea Dragon, she is a full-time sailor, Yachtmaster instructor, general deck scrubber, occasional farmer and is always looking for more time on the water! She currently teaches a range of ages and abilities in practical and theory lessons from powerboats to yachting.

Anna has and does work tirelessly for Oceans of Hope as relief skipper and instructor during the annual ‘Oceans of Hope Challenges’. These challenges have included supporting 72 novice sailors with MS chartering 10 boats and independently sailing in Croatia and taking a team of 10 MS sufferers to Barcelona Watersports for two weeks of training to gain RYA Qualifications, so they can skipper for the coming year’s events.


Jessica McIntosh – Deckhand

Hailing from Nova Scotia, JESSICA grew up on the warm waters of the Northumberland Strait working in search and rescue with the Canadian Coast Guard, where she learned that a “bad day on the boat is better than a good day in the office.” Upon completing her undergraduate degree, Jessica was about to board a plane to Madrid to teach English, but an impulsive (and intuitive) change of heart took her to Gloucester, Massachusetts where she met her first ship, the Roseway. Jessica’s experience on Roseway with the World Ocean School sparked her passion for life at sea, traditional wooden boats and sharing this passion with others. Since then, Jessica has had the good fortune of sailing on the Pride of Baltimore II and various other traditional schooners throughout the Caribbean and the Eastern Seaboard, including racing on schooner Columbia in the 2017 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Jessica has also worked on commercial fishing vessels in the North Pacific and as a Pollution Response Officer with the Canadian Coast Guard.

In 2013, Jessica completed her Masters in Marine Management, where she focused on fisheries management and sustainable coastal communities. In early 2014, Jessica co-founded a non-profit society committed to engaging youth with innovative oceans education programs and oceans-related career resources.

Jessica is slightly sad to say that she now works full-time in an office 1500 km away from the ocean, but she is grateful that she at least gets to continue pursuing her passion for oceans by contributing to Canadian marine conservation policy.











































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