Excitement is building for eXXpedition Round Britain and, in the run up to the sail, we will be sharing posts from our crew members, partners, sponsors and volunteers to give you a taste of what eXXpedition is all about and what you can expect from Round Britain on Sea Dragon. We want you to be with us on this journey, too…
Round Britain Leg 1 Crew member Gail Tudor is kicking us off with her experience of our first team meet and greet at the end of March…
The first meeting with other members of the eXXpedition Round Britain has been and gone in a flurry of excited activity and anticipation. It was with some trepidation I approached the Hermitage Moorings on a sunny Saturday morning, not quite knowing what I’d let myself in for when I’d signed up for the adventure. But the organisers were friendly, the other crew members all seemed very keen and knowledgeable in their own fields, and it soon seemed like we’d all known each other forever.
The Hermitage Moorings where Sea Dragon will be berthed while in London, during the third leg of the voyage at the end of August, is a wonderful place for a meeting. The meeting room floats on a pontoon near Tower Bridge with over 40 lived-in vessels moored around it. It has a glorious and ever-changing view, including the massive daily rubbish barges being towed down the Thames for the waste to be burned further down river. We learned from another crew member that the ashes are returned to Tilbury to be used in road making. The size of the barges containing rubbish from just one area of London, brought home to us the importance of the expedition we are embarking on this summer.
It was great to meet the Meek family there. Teenagers Amy and Ella set up their own organisation, ‘Kids Against Plastic’, to motivate other kids to stop using single-use plastics and the family will be following the voyage on land. They plan to meet up with Sea Dragon in as many ports as possible – thanks to their parents’ new camper van – and will be working with Sea Dragon crew on workshops for kids.
Although not all the participants were able to attend, we had Skype chats with both Diana the eXXpedition science advisor and other overseas members of the crew, as well as with a Sky journalist who will be on board for two of the legs.
In groups, we discussed everything, from activities at each port, reaching out to the public through the media and website, raising money and acquiring sponsorship to enable us to hand out useful ocean-friendly items at hosted workshops and displays.
We were all very excited to be participating in what will be the first all female crew to undertake such an exciting and important research expedition round the entire coast of Britain in a sailing yacht! We all took home with us a determination, not only to make this a highly successful voyage in terms of publicising the problem of plastics and toxics in the oceans via our research and sampling, but also to look at our own plastic use and strive to be part of the solution and not part of the problem in the future. Already I have stopped buying bottled water and will be taking my own coffee cup to the coffee shop from now on!