To (not so) absent friends…
The Traditional Toast:
The last year has been pretty full-on for us! Since September 2017, Sea Dragon has sailed over 19,000 nautical miles, leaving England’s grey shores and crossing the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Pacific (twice!).
We’ve had some amazing voyages and highlights in the last 12 months: yoga and mindfulness amongst the islands of the Grenadines with Dee & Jen on Leisure with Purpose, rescuing a plastic entangled turtle and swimming with dolphins off the coast of Mexico, conducting coral research with a very talented group of scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute amongst the atolls of Kiribati, and revisiting our original focus, plastic pollution, with the women of eXXpedition in the North Pacific. It’s been an action packed season across two different oceans.
Right now Sea Dragon is getting some much needed rest in sunny Chula Vista, expertly tended by Shanley’s brother, Tanner. While Sea Dragon is slumbering, we’ve returned to where last years voyage started – Plymouth, England. We left our boat and home Fleur Australe here when we boarded Sea Dragon to span the world’s oceans. After more than a year away, we’ve been busy cleaning, upgrading, and getting ready to sail. We’ve also been able to meet up with some of our past crew and catch up with their lives!
To Absent Friends…
We had a great meal of Thai food with past skippers Imogen & Harry. Imogen first took Sea Dragon across the South Atlantic to Brazil and up the Essequibo river in Guyana. Harry then joined her the next year in Bermuda for a trip in the Caribbean. Just this past summer Imo crossed the Pacific with eXXpedition from Hawaii to Vancouver and Seattle! Harry & Imo were running a woodworking shop building eco-friendly surfboards, SUPs, and other more secret projects, and Imo is also crew on the RNLI lifeboat sailing out of Salcombe.
Deckhand Iona sailed with us from Grenada on a rip-roaring passage to Panama and then on for a very windless but no less fun trip up the coast of Central America to Cabo San Lucas. She invited us to her home across the river Tamar in Cornwall. After feeding us a proper Cornish cream tea (scones from scratch!) she took us on a ramble through the fields near her house, protecting us from hurtling lorries and menacing cows alike. We also got a chance to meet Iona’s partner, Gary, who we’d heard so much about at sea.
Tom (Knot Tom), who has sailed with us from Maine to St. Thomas and Madeira to Trinidad, came down for a weekend. A few hours later Charlie climbed off the train. He replaced Iona aboard Sea Dragon in Cabo before crossing to Hawaii and then sailing on an epic voyage to Kiritimati and the Phoenix Islands. Tom has just finished up a season as a sailing instructor and skipper in Croatia, whose waters he now knows like the back of his hand. We were lucky enough to catch Charlie en route from Scotland to the Falklands. He spent last summer working as first mate for the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust, and will be working aboard the little Pelagic in the sub-antarctic this winter.
Just missing their visit was Shango Mango, who first sailed the coast of South America from Brazil to Guyana with Imo. Not sick of us yet, she joined us for an autumn crossing of the Bay of Biscay from Plymouth to the Canaries last year. This spring she joined us in Hawaii as deckhand for our research project with WHOI in the Phoenix Islands. Shango has since settled down to a “real” job helping audit global supply chains, but is still sailing. This summer she went on a voyage to East Greenland where she got engaged to her now fiancee, Bobby!
Finally, we braved the British trains and weather to go to Southampton to see our good friend Holly. Holly first sailed with us as a deckhand off West Africa and across the Atlantic to South America. She’s been gaining experience and tickets to go with her skill, and worked as first mate aboard Sea Dragon on our circumnavigation of the UK with eXXpedition. Holly has spent the last year as first mate & occasional skipper (congratulations!) aboard Prolific, a 32m ketch operated by Ocean Youth Trust South. She gave us a night-time tour in a pouring gale. We were impressed – Prolific is a big, cool, boat that does a lot of great work with youth sail training.
And Ships at Sea
We’ve been hard at work on a new schedule for 2019, which is now live! Next year we have decided to focus on adventure sailing to some pretty cool destinations. Prices right now are as low as they are going to go. Take a look at the itinerary and sign up now to make sure you have a berth. We’re excited to be re-visiting some familiar places (Kiritimati, Vancouver) and adding a few places to our register as well – Tabuaeran, Victoria, Ensenada. We look forward to hearing from you throughout the winter and to sailing with you next year!