When I finally got word that I had been selected to be one of 300 women to participate in eXXpedition, I got a chance to meet the rest of the crewmates via a skype type call a few months before departure. I learned that I was only one of the 3 U.S. residents of the 10 guest crew: the others were mostly from Great Britain, Malta, Austria, Denmark and Latvia.

I thought about the five women who did not have English at their primary language – they not only needed to learn new sailing and science terms but they also needed to work a bit harder to be able to express themselves and understand what we were talking about – and also it can be very exhausting to speak another language all the time. I was one of the lucky ones, whose native language is American.

But surprisingly the language barrier between Europeans, Brits and Americans was challenging.

Natascha made a ”porridge” that was a fan favourite. It turns out it is oatmeal with spices with nuts and dried fruits with warm water. Our skipper asked for some “white tea”, so I looked through the galley with no luck – turns out – it is black tea with milk. Yanika likes her biscuits – these are also known as cookies in my world. If something goes wrong for Emily Butler she has the cleverish “Shite!” as in where I am from we lose the “e“. Furthermore, if you need a device to illuminate things on a boat in the middle of an Atlantic Ocean night when there is nothing but sky and sea, you need to ask for a “headtorch” and not a “flash light” – despite the fact that a “torch” would burn your hair off.

After two weeks we are getting to know each other’s little differences in these barriers and are able to bridge the gap through our love of sailing and science.


Navarino technology keeps eXXpedition online wherever we go.