Montreal to Toronto

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JUL 13-20, 2013

Depart: Montreal, Quebec
Arrive: Toronto, Ontario
Length: 7 Days
Focus: Sailing, fresh water science


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Montreal, Quebec to Toronto, Ontario

July 13-20, 2013

Undergraduate Freshwater Reserach and Scientific Communications Course

In collaboration with Dr. Sherri Mason of SUNY Fredonia, Pangaea Explorations is pleased to present a 7 day Environmental Research and Communications Course, held aboard our 72′ foot sailing vessel, Sea Dragon.  This non-credit adventure course will take place between Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Sea Dragon will voyage down the legendary St. Lawrence Seaway, through the 1000 Islands chain, and across beautiful Lake Ontario. The course will examine critical freshwater ecosystem issues, while collecting plastic for future studies.  Participants will get the opportunity to take part in data collection, sampling and research reporting, while also learning sailing skills and techniques.

This 7 day course will also focus on way to present current environmental issues to the  world through social media, activism and community participation. Our aim is to inspire young scientists and communicators to tell the Stories of the Great Lakes, and be a part of our outreach campaign, known as the One Water Story.

Breaking News: New Addition to the Curriculum!



We are pleased to announce that the hosts of the  Canadian television program “The Water Brothers” will be joining the expedition!  Alex and Tyler Mifflin will be joining the crew of Sea Dragon to conduct a trawl  and film near Toronto’s inner harbor,and will incorporate the footage into an upcoming episode of their show. Students are invited to contribute their own footage of the expedition to be included in the episode. Students will have an opportunity to meet the Water Brothers, and gain advice on how to translate and communicate freshwater science to the viewing public.

For more information on Alex and Tyler, check out their website at:

The One Water Festival-Toronto
On July 19, Pangaea will be hosting a “One Water Festival” outreach event that students will be invited to participate in. The Sea Dragon will be opened to the public for viewing, and students will have an opportunity to talk about their learning experiences on board with members of the public. We are excited to have our students participate in this Great Event on their last day of programming!

Stay tuned for more information about the One Water Festival!



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This program is designed to provide  students with freshwater research experience, guided by professionals in the field. The course will provide students with the opportunity to:

  • Learn and use freshwater research techniques, and help gather valuable research information
  • Learn to Sail on a 72′ sailing vessel under the instruction of a highly experienced crew
  • Improve their scientific communication skills and develop a professional online following
  • Have a unique summer experience on a research vessel
  • Meet other students from throughout North America
  • Be apart of a unique outreach initiative, and help create a part of the One Water Story 
The course is not currently run through a post secondary institution, and therefore no course credit can be offered. Students will be provided at the end of the course with a certificate of completion, which will describe the sail and research education provided, and certify their deckhand hours. Referrals will be offered from the crew and staff for future career developments.
Students will receive lectures on the history, ecology and policies of the Great Lakes. The extent and topics covered as part of the course will depend upon weather and sailing conditions but are expected to include: plastic pollution, eutrophication, invasive species,  pharmaceuticals and personal care products. 
The course is open to American and Canadian students in College or University level undergraduate programs. Students may be from any faculty, as long as they have an interest in freshwater issues and research.
Course Contribution: $800.00
The cost of the course includes:
  • the educational program
  • 7 nights accommodation aboard Sea Dragon
  • passage between Montreal and Toronto
  • all food and beverages on board the boat
  • crew uniform


Flights to Montreal and from Toronto are not included in the course price. Students should come prepared with personal spending money for the time they are in Montreal and Toronto.

Students will be expected to take part in the educational, research and sailing aspects of the expedition. They will be taught how to manage the sails and the navigational systems of the boat, and will be asked to take part in regular daily watches while at sail, including night watches. All scheduled educational activities will take place when all students may participate. At these times, Pangaea crew will be responsible for the running of the ship.
While on board, everyone will participate in the maintenance of the ship, including preparing communal meals, keeping the ship and equipment tidy, and logging the day’s events. A positive, team oriented attitude is necessary for participants to enjoy this sailing experience.
Participants should be aware that the program will be run on a research vessel, and therefore everyone on board will be working and living in close quarters. Each student will be provided with a private berth, and a cubby space to store their clothing and equipment, but space is limited. Please pack and prepare accordingly.
The Sea Dragon is a large, ocean going vessel, and is built to withstand adverse weather. However, on occasion, weather conditions can become unpleasant. This can sometimes trigger seasickness in guests on board. If you are prone to sea sickness, please prepare yourself by bringing along the appropriate medication.
Students will need to supply:
  • All clothing needed for a 7 day journey (space is limited so each student is asked to only bring one mid sized soft sided duffel bag suitcase)
  • Toiletries, medications (including sea sickness tablets, allergy medications, inhalers, etc.)
  • Educational supplies: notebooks, laptops, etc.
  • Spending money for time in port
  • Passport and governmental ID
  • Snorkel or swimming gear
  • Camera/media equipment (not mandatory)
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Sail Itinerary

July 13: Students arrive in Montreal, Quebec, and meet Sea Dragon at port. Students will be briefed, and given a tour of  Sea Dragon. Dr. Mason will provide a break down of the course, and answer any questions students have about the voyage.
July 14:  Sea Dragon will set sail out of Montreal at first light, and travel through the St. Lawrence Seaway locks on its way to Lake Ontario.
July 15:  Sea Dragon will complete its transit through the locks. Students will begin research trawls and start sampling. Sail training will be conducted with Captain Eric Loss.
July 16:  Sea Dragon will visit Cape Vincent, and travel through the 1000 islands chain. Asta Mail of Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science will discuss using social media in Scientific Communication. Sea Dragon may moor for a short visit and exploration of Sugar Island.
July 17: Sampling will be conducted in the South Eastern end of Lake Ontario, and the boat will sail North West towards Toronto.
July 18: Trawls and research will be conducted on the Western side of Lake Ontario, and transit will take the boat up towards Toronto. Sea Dragon will make its way to the Toronto Waterfront, and dock for the evening.
July 19: Students will conduct an early morning trawl with “The Water Brothers” hosts, Alex and Tyler Mifflin. Filming will be conducted in preparation for their upcoming episode on marine and freshwater debris. Students will have an opportunity to hear the Brothers talk about science communication, and ask them questions about their work. After lunch, students will take part in the One Water Festival outreach event. Sea Dragon will be open for viewing to the general public.
July 20: After a course wrap up, students will disembark at 8 am. Transportation may be arranged to the airport, or students may stay in Toronto to sight see or explore the city further. Students will not return to the Sea Dragon after disembarking.

Flights for the course should be booked at least one week in advance of the course start date. Students should be prepared to arrive in Montreal by 12:00 noon on  July 13, and depart Toronto no earlier than 2:00 pm on July 20th. Shuttles to and from the Airports will be arranged once travel details have been confirmed.

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Dr. Sherri Mason–  Professor, SUNY Fredonia


[clearboth]Dr. Sherri “Sam” Mason graduated cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin before completing her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Montana as a NASA Earth System Science scholar. She is currently an Associate Professor at SUNY Fredonia in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Her research interests are focused upon plastic pollution within freshwater ecosystems. In addition to her primary academic role she serves as the coordinator of the Environmental Sciences program and the Sustainability Coordinator for the SUNY FACE Center.



Eric Loss- Skipper

A native of California, Eric has been on the water since an early age. He has sailed more than 55,000 offshore miles, and has sailed everything from windsurfers to 115′ schooners, and recently he completed a single-handed circumnavigation by way of the great capes. He enjoys teaching all aspects of sailing, from boat handling and dinghy racing to navigation and seamanship.  He is always eager to share his knowledge of celestial navigation.  Eric has been involved in sail training for most of his life, and is an US Sailing instructor. He holds an IYT Master of Yachts Ocean with commercial endorsement and a USCG 100 ton master’s license.  Eric is also an experienced diver and PADI Divemaster.


Asta Mail-Coordinator and Social Media Educator

Asta is a Canadian marine scientist completing her Master’s of Professional Science Degree at the Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Miami, Florida. Her area of expertise is Scientific Communication and Outreach, and has background experience in coastal zone management work.

Asta is Pangaea’s first intern,  and will be responsible for organizing and planning the upcoming Great Lakes Expedition in the summer of 2013. She is a trained AAUS Scientific Diver and SSI Dive Control Specialist, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in citizen science and marine research.



Shanley McEntee- First Mate


Shanley was born and raised in San Diego, CA and graduated with a BA in Environmental Policy and a minor in Environmental Science from Western Washington University.  Having grown up by the sea, she holds a deep passion for Mother Ocean and our ever-growing need for protection and awareness of the problems our environment is facing.  She enjoys anything having to do with the sea, from surfing to scuba diving to sailing, and loves offshore passages. She is PADI Rescue Diver certified and holds an IYT Master of Yatchs Offshore with commercial endorsement.



The Water Brothers

The Water Brothers is an eco-adventure series exploring the most important water stories of our time, featuring Alex and Tyler Mifflin. They have recently graduated from University – Alex from environmental studies on the East Coast and Tyler from film school on the West Coast. And while they are miles apart on many things, they are united by one: the desire to explore the delicate state of our Blue Planet.


One of the unique aspects of this documentary series is that Alex and Tyler are effectively creating this series on their own. Alex is the lead researcher, co-writer and co-host, and Tyler is co-host, director and co-producer. They share a love of travel and adventure, a passion for the subject and a powerful desire to communicate their passion to audiences, especially their own generation.


In the first season, The Water Brothers will take you around the world from the mighty Mekong River in South East Asia, to the frozen Arctic Circle, the disappearing coral reefs of the Caribbean and the Carp infested waters of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Water is more valuable than oil or gold but it is rarely given its true value. Through the eyes of Alex and Tyler, we learn for ourselves what the problems are, what the local people and experts say about these problems and most importantly, what we can all do about them. Join them on their adventure!


Season 2 is now in production.

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