eXXpedition: Exploration, Inspiration, Serendipity
As the sun rises on our tenth day at sea, we watch shearwater seabirds glide over the waves, sitting on deck (a.k.a. Elaine’s Café), sharing stories over the steaming coffee, complete with cinnamon, brewed by our resident coffee aficionado, Elaine.
Life aboard Sea Dragon has achieved some semblance of order, and we finally feel like we are finding our groove. Following lunch, we announce “It’s time to Science!” and all hands appear on deck to rig up and throw the Manta Trawl to the waves, watching with anticipation to see what today’s finds will be.
As well as watching the trawl from above, our resident filmmaker, Jen, is as dedicated to our tagline as always – “making the unseen seen.” With the help of her trusty GoPro, two poles and a plethora of cable ties, she leans far overboard, feet hooked into the outer jack lines with her face inches from the waves dipping the camera under the water to film the Manta Trawl, gliding through the swell from below. Watching the footage back, the crew are mesmerised by the colour beneath the waves – a bright blue, a stark contrast to the ever-changing dark blues, greys, and molten silvers of the ocean’s surface.
But this isn’t the only attempt to utilise our cameras. Our microscope has also been experimented on – attempting to connect it to the TV, allowing the crew to see the infinite detail of our samples – some of which is relatively invisible to the naked eye.
As evening rolls round and we fill our bellies with another delicious meal, our on board talk series continues. This time starring our remarkable environmental policy specialist, Constanca, from the European Environment Agency – one of a small number dedicated to safeguarding our waters. With an overwhelming sense of optimism, she talked us through the complex workings of policy development in the EU, formed on the backbone of scientific knowledge. She emphasized our need to utilise all of our resources in the fight to save our oceans, including the political sphere, suspending our cynical attitudes towards its potential to create real change.
We all found heart in how positive she was for the future and that now is the time for transformation. Each crew member sat listening to her metaphor for life as a river, finding it as applicable for their own story as it is for her. We have all been winding through diverse and varied landscapes – physical, social, psychological – yet have converged in this one space aboard Sea Dragon, where our similarities and differences are highlighted in sharp relief. All of our purposes and journeys different, yet the same. Serendipity becomes a common theme.
As the moon rises and we settle in to our night watches, we stare up at the sky and around at the horizon. Bobbing along in a planet size snowglobe (or “Sea Globe” as we like to call it), sharing laughs and stories under a dome of stars, we get ready for a new day of exploration and inspiration.
– eXXpedition crew, November 24th, 2014