Round Britain 2017

Leg 1

The eXXpedition team sailed around the whole of the British Isles, sampling the waters for plastics and toxics, according to the protocols developed by the 5 Gyres Institute. Starting from Plymouth on 8th August, we sailed into the heart of all four of Britain’s capital cities, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and London, as well as to the Isle of Arran in the Clyde.

We embark from Plymouth, with the support of Richard Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University and specialist in International Marine Litter research, to undertake the first continuous sampling, in one month, of all the waters around Britain, from polluted city waterways to the relatively pristine waters of the Minch and the Western Isles.

Sailing clockwise from Plymouth, we will round Lands End and make first landfall in Cardiff, home of the Welsh Assembly. Here we begin our shore side work with local people, holiday makers, media and politicians, conducting science workshops, beach cleans, media and creative events, according to the skills and interests of crew members.

From Cardiff we head north through the Irish Sea and over to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Our shore work will continue here in collaboration with local organisations, leaving after 2 days for the short hop to the Firth of Clyde, whose waters pour out of the heavy industrial city of Glasgow. We anchor off the Isle of Arran where local organisation COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust) will be welcoming hosts, enabling awareness-raising and scientific demonstrations to continue. Arran is also the end of the first leg/beginning of the second leg of the voyage.

Meet the Team

Mission Leader

Sue Weaver

Sue Weaver

United Kingdom

Sailor, activist, ecotherapist, gardener, grandmother! Without doubt Sue’s therapy skills, cooking skills and long held perspective on environmental and community experience will enrich our mission.

Sue is a coastal skipper, used to sailing offshore in scottish waters but never yet beyond St Kilda. This voyage brings together much that she holds dear – women, the ocean, health and the need for deep change and she still feels amazed to have the privilege of taking part. Sue recently left her therapy practice and moved to beautiful scottish Isle of Arran to walk and sail, plant trees, pick up plastic off the beaches and get involved in community activity, particularly around zero waste and local marine environment. After a half a lifetime working as psychotherapist in universities and the NHS, she is ready to refocus and concentrate on the needs of the wider earth and sea community. Ecopsychology supports awareness of the ways in which we relate to the non-human world around us and of the deep physical, emotional, spiritual connections between all beings.

Sue believes passionately in the need to make the connections between the ways we live, environmental pollution and levels of sickness, and values highly the chance to contribute to scientific research in this field. As an ex Greenham woman, Sue trusts the power of women working together creatively to change deeply entrenched systems. Raising awareness and tackling the issues of the huge volumes of plastic waste in our oceans is a great undertaking – immensely important for the deep ocean and its creatures, as well as for humanity.

Sue was Mission Leader for eXXpedition Round Britain Leg 1.

Guest Crew

Gail Tudor

Gail Tudor

United Kingdom

Filmmaker and Activist

Filmmaker and founder of Plastic Free Aberporth. Owner of single use plastic-free holiday cottage in Wales.

GAIL runs her own wedding videography business which includes marketing, filming and editing but also has a background in marine science, with a degree in Chemistry with Oceanography from the University of Southampton. Gail has an ongoing interest in the marine environment and volunteers at the Teifi Marsh Welsh Wildlife Centre in Cardigan, Wales and has also provided support to vessel-based surveys of resident dolphin populations in Cardigan Bay where she lives. The marine wildlife of Cardigan Bay is under threat from pollution and disturbance in the conservation area and she is looking to understand more about could and should be done to protect our shores.

Gail has experience in racing dinghies in Indonesia and catamarans in UK inshore waters. Gail is now looking forward to expanding into yacht sailing and gaining some new experience. For Gail, eXXpedition provides an exciting opportunity to combine her passions for the outdoors and sailing while contributing to marine and environmental conservation. Gail is interested in helping people to help themselves improve their health and environment. She hopes to use her skills in filming, editing and in communications and outreach to spread the message about the importance of the marine environment and continue this outreach upon her return.

Deborah Maw

Deborah Maw

United Kingdom

EcoSciArtist

Deborah is an activist, adventurer, artist, dancer, designer, environmentalist, explorer, vegan wild-camping walker who loves to play.

She worked as a Biochemist in UK for a number of years before taking time out to travel the world. When she returned to the UK, Deborah moved to a small community in North Wales where she raised her children. Following this, Deborah went back to college where she studied for a Foundation Degree in Art and Design, specialising in sculpture and mixed media using waste plastic, particularly marine plastic debris. She has used this to teach environmental awareness through art, particularly in youth settings.

For the past 12 years, Deborah has been walking and camping the British coastal trails solo and photographing art from marine plastics. Deborah’s ambition is to travel around the whole British Isles, and eXXpedition will allow her to do this from the seas. Deborah hopes to learn more about the effects of marine pollution on human health, using surveys, assessing results and their implications, to incorporate into her work as a health therapist and incorporate marine pollution research into her work as an environmental artist and teacher. Deborah is passionate about learning to sail and will kick-start her education with a RYA Competent Crew sailing course in May to prepare for the exciting task of all three Round Britain 2017 legs!

Vanessa Stephenson

Vanessa Stephenson

United Kingdom

Ex Fish and Seafood Retail Buyer

VANESSA is the a former fish and seafood buyer at British retailer Waitrose and has a strong commercial background in retail, having been in the industry for 30 years. Vanessa lives in Berkshire and is the mother of two sons, the eldest of which graduated in 2016 with a degree in Conservation Biology and Ecology from Exeter University, and the youngest currently studying for a degree in Politics and International Relations at Birmingham University.

Vanessa is looking forward to reaching out of her own comfort zone and challenge herself physically and mentally and working with a diverse group of like-minded women. Her job is highly sustainability focussed and she hopes that she can raise awareness of the damage we are doing to our oceans and wildlife and encourage more people to take action to influence change. Vanessa has some sailing experience, having been a member of sailing club for a short time, and is excited to expand on this during her time on board.

Tanya Ferry

Tanya Ferry

United Kingdom

Storyteller

Tanya is an aquatic scientist, turned story teller, championing the estuaries which have been lost to policy, regulation and peoples hearts and minds.

She has worked in estuaries and around the coast for 10 years. In addition to working on the coast, Tanya also lives on the coast and her main hobbies, diving, surfing and sailing, are based on water. Tanya spends a large proportion of her time on boats and is a powerboat and rib skipper and also volunteers for her local RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Tanya has become increasingly concerned about the amount of terrestrial litter that ends up in the marine environment. She does whatever she can to influence and improve people’s understanding of the impact pollution can have in the local area but she is now interested in looker at the wider context and issues and studying the interaction between marine litter and marine life.  Tanya is confident that her time on board will be an invaluable experience that, in collecting information during the trip, could help shape the way we lead the way in the UK.  In particular Tanya is keen to understand the UK context that the Thames sits within, working for the Port of London Authority and running the Cleaner Thames Campaign with partner organisation, this expedition will provide valuable insight into the challenges the Estuary faces and how the conversation to bring solutions can be formed.

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Megan Ross

Megan Ross

United Kingdom

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Scientist

MEGAN is currently studying for a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Plymouth, which is one of eXXpedition Round Britain’s partners. Her main interests lie in algae and conservation, including investigating the effects of microplastics on the marine environment. Megan has previously worked as a beach ranger for the Polzeath Marine Conservation Group in Cornwall, where she gained experience in educating the public on local marine conservation issues and also in leading beach cleans, rock pooling and boat surveys, among other activities. It was during her time as a beach ranger where she first heard of eXXpedition and she could not wait to get involved!

Megan is looking forward to using this opportunity to provide the wider public with an understanding of microplastics and the way that they are affecting the marine environment. Megan is also hoping to collect a data to investigate the relationship between microplastics and potential effects on plankton communities around the UK.

Mani White

Mani White

United States of America

MANI has been fascinated by the oceans since she was a child and used her first allowance to buy an encyclopedia of fish. Following university, Mani took a break from work and sailed around the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic to earn the hours and experience needed to achieve her Yacht Master and boost her scuba diving skills. For her employed life, Mani has been based in the San Francisco Bay Area, working for a number of major tech companies – first building websites, and then moving into project/program management for both websites and software.

After volunteering aboard Sea Dragon for the Ocean Cleanup in 2013 , Mani has been keen to join an expedition. Mani is excited to meet the rest of the incredible women who will be on this journey with her as well as the ideas they will share and the possibility of brilliant new solutions that can hatch in an environment of diverse expertise. Mani hopes to contribute in any way she can to a safe, rewarding and enlightening journey on board, and in possible post-expedition collaborations onshore.

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Sarah Tanburn

Sarah Tanburn

United Kingdom

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Writer and Sailor

SARAH started sailing as a child in dinghies and got into bigger boats in her 30’s.  She has owned two yachts, living aboard and skippering her 12-metre ketch Roaring Girl for nearly 10 years.  Sarah sailed her from eastern England to the Mediterranean and through Morocco, Spain and Italy to Malta and back.  In 2016 she sailed on Bark Europa for two months from Punta Arenas to Cape Town via Antarctica and is experienced in sail handling, watch keeping, navigation and weather.

Sarah is a writer and sailor, and works in environmental and public services. She writes a lot, both policy and fiction, about climate, pollution and the ocean.  Sarah hopes to bring experience in presenting complex issues in ways that stimulate people’s passions and imagination and will create a blog telling the crew’s stories and a follow-on from the Europa story at www.sailingtoantarctica.com. Sarah is looking forward to visiting and revisiting the British coast, and meeting amazing women along the way – “I am delighted to have the opportunity to be part of a mission which both collects data and highlights some of the challenges to our oceans and shores”.  Sarah will be joining all three legs of our Round Britain voyage.

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Lynne Braham

Lynne Braham

United Kingdom

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LYNNE’S career so far has been in Higher Education administration, mostly in assuring academic quality and standards, and in her current role she works to develop academic partnerships. Lynne has expertise in writing formal documents, such as reports, regulations and codes of practice, and less formal communications such as newsletters, guidance and training material. Lynne also has experience of delivering staff development to a range of audiences, including senior managers, staff, students and partners.

Lynne is joining Round Britain 2017 for the adventure! But she also wants it to be a meaningful adventure, not just a journey to the centre of herself. Lynne wants to provide something that connects various local initiatives, such as University research projects and activity at the Deep, telling a story that can be used to inform and inspire others to change their attitudes to the use of plastics.

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Kim Ferran Holt

Kim Ferran Holt

United States of America

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KIM has a background in Marine Biology and Coastal Zone Management with extensive graduate education and field experience in marine ecology and environmental education. She has taught marine biology and ecology to high school and university students for many years. Kim is currently working for the Thames Estuary Partnership (TEP) as their Marine Litter Coordinator.  TEP is part of the Coastal Partnerships Network (CPN) and the Marine CoLABoration working to help people reconnect to and value the ocean. Kim’s role involves liaising with a wide range of academic, regulatory and charitable organisations in the monitoring of plastic litter in the Thames. One of her key priorities is delivery of TEP’s role in the Marine CoLABoration’s #OneLess campaign’ to stop the flow of plastics pollution to the ocean by making London less reliant on single-use plastic water bottles and spreading the refill revolution in London.

Kim is passionate about motivating the next generation of women to become scientists and in order to encourage this is coordinating an education and outreach project for her time on eXXpedition. This includes live streaming and video blogs so that student groups can experience a virtual scientific cruise. Student groups following the cruise online will also be able to join the ship in port to participate in beach cleans and experience science first hand in the field.

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Hannah Thomas-Peter

Hannah Thomas-Peter

United States of America

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Journalist

HANNAH is the New York Correspondent for Sky News and is an accomplished award-winning journalist and experienced visual story teller who loves the ocean. Hannah’s parents live on an island off Vancouver and so she has the use of a small dinghy when staying with them and has spent time sailing with friends on yachting holidays around Croatia and Greece.

Hannah spent the vast majority of the last year covering Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency, but as part of her work across America she has also focused on a series of big environmental stories, including the crisis at Standing Rock, the effect of rising sea levels on native Americans in bayous of Louisiana, the fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline, the impact of the Alberta oil sands, and the emergence of the fracking boom in North Dakota.

Hannah will be filming the Round Britain eXXpedition on Legs 1 and 3 in order to create a documentary that explores the UK’s glorious, fragile coastline and the threats to the seas that surround it. While she is on board filming the crew and focusing on the scientific mission being undertaken, her team will embark on a simultaneous land based journey around the British coastline, examining the broader issues that are threatening Britain’s seas and the communities that live near them, from plastic and sewage pollution to flooding and storms. The resulting documentary will form part of Sky Ocean Rescue, a major campaign to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean and raise awareness of the myriad threats to ocean health.

You can watch the first documentary in the campaign, A Plastic Tide here.

Partners & Sponsors

Thank you

Made possible with the support of our generous sponsors:

Snaps from Sea

Photos & Videos from Our Crew

Voyage Blogs

Science, art & fieldwork: eXXpedition ambassador on a communication mission

eXXpedition ambassador Deborah Maw shares how her experience at sea has influenced her artistic and scientific work: “I was part of eXXpedition Round Britain 2017, completing the entire circumnavigation. Originally I trained as a biochemist, researching the structure of vertebrate muscle fibers using electron microscopy. I then went on to train as a teacher before […]

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