As we sail around Antigua we are awed by its beauty. Its blue waters, clear skies and pristine sandy beaches.

While driving from the airport to Falmouth Harbour we shared with our taxi driver, Bobby, the purpose of our visit. We were two of ten women on Leg 3 of eXXpedition ‘Round the World’. A two-year circumnavigation split into 30 legs and giving 300 women the opportunity to study the impact of plastics on our oceans and human health. Proudly and quickly Bobby responded that his government too thinks about these things and banned plastic bags, plastic straws, and styrofoam in 2016.

Of course, we had at least one follow up question…why?

Why did your government ban plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam?

“Because we care about our island, there’s no place to put this pollution and it flew into the trees, travelled into the ocean and onto our beaches. We have many tourists every year and they don’t want to sit on dirty beaches nor swim with plastic bags. They want to see our underwater wildlife and enjoy the Antiguan hospitality.”

Based on Bobby, our expectations were hopeful for what we would NOT find during our research and beach clean-up.

Photo credits: eXXpedition & Jeanine Behr

Yesterday, we as we carried out our survey, we were surprised by how much marine debris we picked up (6 large bags full to the brim) but NOT surprised by the absence of plastic bags, straws and food Styrofoam packaging.

So why do we share these details?

As we reflect on our eXXpedition mission, our various disciplines and views we bring to our science voyage we are always thinking about solutions.

My taxi mate/Leg 3 crew member works for Travel Edge. We contemplated what vacationers are searching for. What is ecotourism? Does it exist? How can we all travel and make less impact and preserve the beauty we are all seeking?

eXXpedition Leg 3Photo credit: eXXpedition

So, we thought of 5 actions for “LITE’’ Low Impact Travel on the Environment.

  • Call ahead to your hotel to ask for chemical free cleaners used in your room, a plastic free room (no plastic bottles, tea bags, coffee pods, stirrers, toiletries…)
  • Find local eco certified tours and tour guides – connect with your local natural surroundings
  • Choose local restaurants that source local seasonal foods – enjoy the deep dive into your visit
  • Pack your own small LITE KIT – reusable cutlery, reusable bottle, reusable bag and a reusable straw…if you even need a straw!
  • Lastly BYOT, bring your own reef safe toiletries (and oxybenzone free sun block). Less toxic for our bodies and better for the reefs we are choosing to visit and look forward to visiting in the future.

Protect what you love, love where you are and leave it better than when you found it.

With ocean love,

L & J

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