RON RITTER – FOUNDER AND COMPANY DIRECTOR
Ron has spent 25+ years engaged in exploration, research, and environmental work. He earned his BS in Biology from the University of Miami, and Ph.D. in Zoology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, UK. Field research includes mid-water and deep ocean benthic sampling, reef ecology; cave exploration and applied terrestrial ecology. He was crew on multiple marine research cruises in the Caribbean, Grand Banks of Canada, and served as a Fisheries Observer with the National Marine Fisheries Service in the Bering Sea.
Ron designed and led a 3-½ year wildlife research project in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert in support of the Government. This was followed by several extended discovery and survey expeditions to caves in the western part of Botswana. Prior to this, he was a team member on an extended expedition across the Trans-Amazon Highway and up the Xingu River. He has over 20,000 nm of ocean sailing experience on Sea Dragon. He holds a Marine Radio Operator Permit, US Sailing Cruising certification, Wilderness Medicine First Aid certification, PADI Divemaster, TDI Deco/Advanced Nitrox and NSS-CDS/TDI Cave Diver. He is also a General Class HAM.
Balancing out his outdoor work, Ron has spent the last 15 years working in global business and government focused on strategy and operations performance.
In 2008 he was awarded the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service.
In addition to core work in business, he has helped to develop a national strategy for the Audubon Society and a local Land Conservancy. Ron has over 15 publications related to his exploration work and is a National Fellow of The Explorers Club.
My passion for the ocean started very early… when I was a kid I spent all summers in the water! My activities were from fishing to swimming, from snorkeling to the first freediving, from kayaking to simply playing with the waves. My confidence with the water and my sensitivity towards the ocean and all kinds of creatures in and outside the water started growing during these early years and is what has drove me to my working choices and lifestyle.
I start sailing late, when I was 18yo and I have immediately felt in love with it. At 20yo, together with a friend, I owned a 7m boat which we totally rebuild inside. After some time working at a sail loft specializing in canvas work, I started doing charters and deliveries in the Med as a deckhand, cook, and mate while during the winter I continued working full time as swimming instructor, specializing in working with people affected by disabilities (physical and mental). After several years of doing this and working on custom composites with Carboway I decided something was missing in my life.
So, when my second and last dog had died for old age I have decided to leave for an Atlantic crossing in 2016. Even though I had a ticket back to Europe, I never used it and I kept on sailing until I arrived in the Pacific, where I worked freelance on superyachts and doing deliveries.
I really enjoy long passages and being in remote places, I feel 100% part of the nature around me. And when I am not on a boat I love going up the mountains hiking or climbing, otherwise freediving. I am excited to be working on board Sea Dragon because I enjoy heaps teaching how to swim and be in the water to people, transmitting my passion, I would like to give back to the ocean, which is in need, using Sea Dragon as a way for teaching people how to be respectful and minimize their impact on nature around them.
Alessandra holds her Yachtmaster Ocean with Commercial Endorsement, a CMAS Advanced Diver, an AIDA Advanced Freediver, and holds her STCW endorsed Proficiency in Medical Care at Sea.
From a young age I’ve surfed along the south coast of England, always wanting more from being on the water. After graduating University in Leeds from a graphics degree I began to want something more.
I began teaching watersports all over Europe, visiting places I fell in love with and meeting people that became good friends and also gaining a partner in life. We both caught the windsurfing bug and are still hooked on the sport today. In the winters we would go to France and run Chalets with me as the Chef of which I have a passion and several years experience under my belt and Harriet as the manager/ host.
Harriet and I returned to the south coast of England to train for our yacht master on the Isle of Wight getting very familiar with the Solent waters. Not long after we found ourselves wanting to maximise our experience and this took us to different corners of the world, Harriet in the Bay of Biscay and myself on a delivery on route to Singapore across the Atlantic and the Pacific which as been my biggest achievement in the sailing world so far. Completing the “Coconut Milk Run” going west got me hooked on ocean sailing and of course wanting to explore more of the Pacific.
Amongst other sports, free diving has become a passion of mine. Exploring what lies beneath in such a natural way is something I want to pursue through my voyages especially in the Pacific.
We both returned to Europe to work as a team through a season as Flotilla skippers in Croatia and doing private skippering in Greece but always wanted to head back to bigger waters. Deepening our need to explore more of the waters around the world we will be on the move for the next few years exploring as much as we can. We have a lot to see and are very happy to be on Sea Dragon to experience a section of the Pacific with a company with great values.
Luke holds his Yachtmaster Offshore with Commercial Endorsement, is an SSI Open Water Diver, and is a windsurfing, dinghy, and powerboat instructor.
Harriet is from Kent in the South East of England and grew up doing a variety of sports and spent a lot of time in the water competing as a club swimmer. She took part in the Tall Ships Race on board a 73ft sail training vessel in the Baltic at the age of 16 and absolutely fell in love with being at sea. After finishing school she went on to train to become a water sports instructor and spend 3 summers in the Mediterranean. She taught windsurfing, dinghy sailing and powerboating as well as progressing to teach Wind foiling and did her open water scuba diving course. During the winters she ran ski chalets in the French Alps alongside her partner Luke. Harriet completed her Yachtmaster Offshore in the Solent in 2020 and went on to volunteer for non-profit marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd. She took part in their dolphin bycatch campaign in the Bay of Biscay working as a deckhand and rib driver. She then returned to the Med in summer 2021 to run flotilla holidays in Croatia. She has also recently been awarded Yachmaster of the Year for her performance in her Yachtmaster exam. Harriet is really excited to explore the pacific and experience the freedom of ocean sailing.
Harriet holds her Yachtmaster Offshore with a commercial endorsement, is a PADI Open Water Diver, and is a Windsurfing, Dinghy, and Powerboat Instructor.
ERIC LOSS AND SHANLEY MCENTEE – Shore Side Operations
Eric Loss and Shanley McEntee have been with Pangaea Exploration since 2012. They have extensive experience working with scientific and non-profit research groups and enjoy running educational adventures for school groups. Eric and Shanley have taken Sea Dragon through the Panama Canal, up the St. Lawrence Seaway to Chicago, and to the Baltic, the Caribbean, West Africa, Central America, and the Central Pacific.
Shanley, born in 1987, grew up surfing and swimming in the Pacific in Del Mar, California. Throughout her youth, she worked with the Surfrider Foundation to protect California’s coastlines. She has a BA in Environmental Policy and Marine Science from Western Washington University. Her love and curiosity for the sea also extends underwater, where she is a PADI Rescue Diver.
After college she learned to sail, combining her passion for science, the environment, and the sea by spending several months aboard Sea|Mester’s schooners Ocean Star and Argo. Soon after she earned her Ocean Yachtmaster license. Shanley is the medical officer onboard Sea Dragon while on expedition and, alongside Eric, runs and maintains her both on and off program.
Eric, born in 1985, grew up in Laguna Beach, California. During his youth, he sailed dinghies, raced CFJ’s, Larks, and C420’s, and taught sailing to children in Dana Point, California. As a member of the Sea Scouts, Eric gained experience sailing and repairing cruising sailboats, 80’ to 130’ schooners, ketches, and brigs, locally and on several ocean crossings. He also earned the Sea Scout Quartermaster Award.
After graduating from Bowdoin College, Eric became a PADI Divemaster while working for ActionQuest and Sea|Mester, developing his teaching skills as he progressed from running summer programs on 50’ yachts to skippering 88’ and 113’ schooners throughout the Eastern Caribbean and across the Atlantic. In 2011, Eric took a break from professional sailing to buy and refit Odyssey, an Islander 36, to attempt a non-stop solo circumnavigation. Eight months later, he returned to Los Angeles, having sailed past the Great Capes of the Southern Oceans and back up the Pacific to his home port.
When not aboard Sea Dragon, Eric and Shanley have sailed throughout the Caribbean, across the Atlantic, and to the Arctic Circle aboard their own Pouvreau 42 Cutter, Fleur Australe.
Eric is an Ocean Yachtmaster with commercial endorsement, USCG 100 ton master, PADI Divemaster, and holds his MCA Proficiency in Medical Care at Sea. He has sailed over 100,000nm worldwide.
Shanley is an Ocean Yachtmaster with commercial endorsement, PADI Rescue Diver, and holds her MCA Proficiency in Medical Care at Sea. She has sailed over 75,000nm worldwide.
DR. SPIKE BRIGGS, BSc, BM, FRCA – CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR
Spike serves as principal medical advisor to Pangaea Exploration. With the full MSOS team, he provides direct at-sea medical support to the Sea Dragon crew. He is a Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anaesthesia in Poole, UK. He originally graduated with a degree in civil engineering and worked for ten years designing foundations for oil rigs, before returning to medical school. He has sailed all his life, including the Fastnet and racing around the world in 1996 as navigator. He is an instructor for advanced life support and advanced trauma life support courses, and he lectures at Southampton Medical School. He is an advisor, instructor, and examiner on medical aspects of yachting for the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Medical Support Offshore Limited (MSOS) was formed in 2006 by Dr. Spike Briggs, Dr Campbell Mackenzie, and Dr. Tommo Tomson. The aims of the company are to provide medical training, medical kits and telemedical support to the sailing community, which includes racing teams, adventure companies, and private individuals.
The directors have very strong sailing backgrounds, and all have dealt with medical emergencies at sea, from the Solent to the Southern Ocean. This gives them valuable experience and authority when teaching sailors how to deal with life-threatening medical emergencies, and when giving advice over the telephone to sailing boats, far from help on the ocean.
EMILY PENN – CO-FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL ORGANISATION. 2010 – 2016
Emily, as co-founded ran the global organisation of Panexplore from 2010 – 2016. Her duties included program and operations management, corporate management, sponsorship and mission leadership aboard Sea Dragon. As an ocean advocate, artist, skipper, and the youngest and only female recipient of the Yachtmaster of the Year award. Emily is as much at home on the water as she is on dry land, her mission is to connect people to the ocean while creating solutions for issues relating to our seas globally.
Now working full time as co-founder of eXXpedition, and as an experienced public speaker, Emily tours the worlds speaking conferences, universities and global companies, sharing both her adventures and an understanding of the issues relating to our oceans, human mindset and future society. You can find more information on Emily’s other projects at www.emilypenn.co.uk.
MARY HAYDEN LOONEY – RESEARCH EXPEDITION COORDINATOR
Although a Texas native, Mary grew up camping, fishing, hiking, running, and exploring Tennessee where she developed a passion for science, the environment and its conservation. She earned her B.S. in Biology at Middle Tennessee State University where she began researching environmental impacts of coal production in eastern Tennessee. In this research, Mary discovered her true interests of studying and understanding the relationship between humans and their environments and how human actions effect the environment.
Mary found herself in Texas studying environmental toxicology with regards to marine mammals and marine environments. Earning her Ph.D. involved developing methodologies and technologies to assess the toxic effects of common marine contaminants on marine mammal health. These methods employed non-lethal, minimally invasive sample collection from marine mammals and helped to paint a picture of marine mammal health in wild gray whale, beluga whale, and bottlenose dolphin populations. In her spare time, she spends as much time as possible outside and sharing her love for nature.
Mary joins Pangaea now to contribute her scientific background of environmental toxicology and marine health as well as to further explore her passion for understanding human impacts on the environment and how to develop scientifically-based conservation strategies.
ANITA WATSON – OPERATIONS & ADMINISTRATION | 2017-2018
Anita joined Pangaea, as shoreside support bringing her experience of administrative duties, project management, operations, logistics and customer service skills to help further the aims and goals of our organization. Anita redesigned and launched our updated website in 2017 and was instrumental in streamlining our backend administration.
Jennifer Pate – Mission Leader and Outreach Coordinator | 2017-2018
Jen Pate is a geographer and entrepreneur fascinated by human-environment interaction. She has been working with Pangaea Explorations for 4 years, sailing almost 10,000 nautical miles on Sea Dragon across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean and into the Pacific Ocean as Filmmaker, Mission Coordinator and Mission Leader on a series of different voyages raising awareness of plastic pollution and our connection with water (www.panexplore.com).
EMILY BELL – PROGRAM & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR | 2015-2017.
Emily joined Panexplore in 2015 – 2017 as Programs and Operations Director, to take over the role from Emily Penn
Emily was born in Chile during a curfew and an earthquake. From South America to Scotland, she spent her childhood building dens, rolling around in the mud and camping. Her life has always been centered around the outdoors.
In 2012, she supported Dave Cornthwaite by running operations while stand-up paddle boarding 1001 miles down the Lower Missouri – having never stand-up paddle boarded before. She spent 60 nights sleeping blissfully on the banks of the river.
In 2013, Emily kayaked the length of Britain as crew captain on Sean Conway’s big swim. She spent 4 1/2 months running operations as well as kayaking the coast from England and Wales across to Ireland and back to Scotland, through storms, darkness and bitter cold. Before stepping in her kayak at Lands End, she had never kayaked before, let alone in the ocean.
Emily has years of experience across operations, production, publishing and project management. She was managing editor at Pomp Magazine until 2013 and Avaunt up until recently.