eXXpedition: Flying fish, manta trawls, and gender balance
Overnight, a new passenger joined us on board. One of the Atlantic’s liminal flying fish, existing magically in the borders between air and sea, fetched up on deck – to the great delight of our master dissector, Diana. A late night analysis of the creature’s stomach contents showed an all-natural last meal. There was no plastic visible under the microscope. The fish had fed on small shrimp and fish larvae, such as we had seen in our first manta trawl. It seems that this was a healthy fish, just a little too curious about life on board Sea Dragon.
Our day then proceeded to continue smoothly. The sun was shining and Sea Dragon was sailing wing-on-wing. This diamond sail combination makes a beautiful sight against the cool blue sky. At 1pm sharp, it was time for our second manta trawl, which we accomplished smoothly in 1 hour 20 mins. Shanley assures us that this is a great time for our second attempt, and we are all pretty excited at the prospect of breaking some kind of record. We’re hoping to be down to 1 hour by the time we reach Martinique – let’s see if we’re up for the challenge!
What was even better than our time was the result of the sample. It brought up 3 fragments of plastic. Although it still feels wrong to find any plastic this far from civilisation, we all felt a bit lighter when the sieves came up almost empty. But stay tuned, and we’ll let you know the count for tomorrow…
Another beautiful sunset cast the backdrop for our evening’s presentation. This time we heard from our second mate, Anne Baker. Anne’s varied background in engineering and psychology, combined with years of sailing, have given her a rich and diverse store of life experiences. She took us through her change making ventures, working for important companies in a range of industries – automotive, airline, food, sports, housing – and her long-term volunteering with the Sea Rangers in the UK. We all listened carefully as she distilled the lessons learned when trying to bring about change through these different environments and challenges.
Intrigued by Anne’s knowledge of human resources, Lucy posed the question of gender balance in high-level positions. For Anne, it seems only slight changes have occurred, as in her experience boards of directors have continued to be mainly male-dominated. This sparked several discussions, but we agreed in the end that the core is to find inclusive solutions where men are partners in improving access to women to decision-making. Also in educating our children about the issue of gender inequality and why it matters. This is not just an equality issue, but rather an investment in a balanced and resilient society, fit for dealing with increasing change and complexity.
Although the conversation was captivating, we had to break it to enter the first night shift in our new time zone. We have been in GMT-1 for three days now, but we decided to wait until today to make our first cross Atlantic time adjustment. We wanted to wait, as we were reluctant to make a change that would ensure we were eating dinner in the dark. Being the masters of our own time, of our own distinct time zone, is just one of the many forms of magic that is occurring on board Sea Dragon.
– eXXpedition crew, November 23rd to November 24th, 2014