This summer, I’ll be leaving our little Island in the middle of the Irish Sea, and travelling over 7000 miles to another tiny Island in the middle of the Pacific, Hawaii.
From there, I’ll board a 72ft sailing boat called the ‘Sea Dragon’ and will set sail with a crew of 14 woman, on a voyage across the Pacific Ocean to Vancouver.
We will be sailing through one of the most remote regions on earth, the North Pacific Gyre, otherwise known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
You might wonder how one of the most remote regions earnt such a nickname, but the way ocean currents work, debris tends to get pushed into the centre of these gyres.
For centuries, dumping waste into the deep was seen as just a ‘drop in the ocean’. We dumped all sorts, including raw sewage, munition, pharmaceutical and radioactive waste. While intentional dumping of hazardous waste has now largely been banned, millions of tonnes of litter still enters our oceans each year. It is estimated that more than 150,000 tonnes of plastic floats at the surface of our oceans, which is insane when you realise 96% of marine plastic lies on the seafloor.
During the month-long voyage, the crew will make daily trawls for plastics and pollutants, and collect data for a variety of global data-sets and scientific research studies. Plastics are often manufactured with hazardous chemicals, and can absorb more toxic chemicals once in the marine environment. We now know that these chemicals are having devastating impact on the health of our oceans, its creatures and even us!
This is an all-female expedition because generally women are still massively underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors, only making up 13% of the STEM workforce.
The crew will be made up of woman from all walks of life; scientists, students, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, actors and ocean activists. The aim of our trip is to raise awareness of plastic pollution and contribute innovative scientific research to help solve the problem, whilst celebrating woman in science, leadership and adventure!
If you would like to hear more about the expedition or would like to support the cause, come down to one of the fundraisers I’ve organised with the Foraging Vintners and Noa Bakehouse.
The first is before the expedition on Friday 11th May, down at Foraging Vintners in Port Erin. It’s Hawaiian themed, I’ll be talking a bit more about the expedition, Allan Vannin will be DJ’ing and we have some other crazy (secret!) ideas for it!
The second will be after the expedition at Noa Bakehouse, and this time it will be Canadian themed! I’ll talk about the trip and hopefully we will get some live music and have a bit of a celebration, it’s all gonna be a lot of fun! I hope to see you all there!
Good luck on your adventure Rowan! Gef can’t wait to follow your trip, and catch up with you once you’re home.
If you would like any more details about the exxpedition, visit here. To follow Rowan on her incredible adventure you can find her on Instagram @ocean_roro and if you have been super inspired by this, and would like to support the expedition see you can donate to this amazing cause here.