Cory's exxpedition South Pacific

I’m Cory, a wife and mother of 3 amazing little ones that truly rule my world as well as a lifestyle + family photographer living in beautiful Charleston SC 

I was recently chosen as one of 10 women from around the world to take part in a sailing voyage in the South Pacific to study micro plastics and their effects on our ocean, environment and our health. 
I feel so honored and lucky to be one of the newest members of eXXpedition Round the World and join the ranks of these amazing women. 

The  two year long voyage is a pioneering sailing expedition to circumnavigate the globe with the aim of raising awareness of, and explore solutions to, the devastating environmental and health impacts of single-use plastics and toxics in the world’s ocean. eXXpedition is comprised of an incredibly talented and diverse crew of all women – artists, scientists, filmmakers, sustainability professionals, businesswomen, sailors and so much more. Round the World will be completed over the next two years consisting of 30 voyages, 300 women, and over 3800 nautical miles. 

I am joining the crew on the 12th leg, starting in Fiji on May 24, 2020 and sailing to Vanuatu. Fiji, a nation of over 300 main islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited. Steeped in rich island culture, rainforests, beautiful beaches, lagoons and palm-lined shores Fiji will be a picturesque start to this leg.
We will collaborate with local organisations to investigate the plastic pollution on the island. It is reported that Fiji uses an alarming number of plastic bags, between 50 and 60 million per year and therefore it will be an important role for us to step ashore and share our story to raise the awareness and stimulate action. This will provide an insight into the issues it faces in terms of the environmental impact and waste management. 
Whilst at sea we will be carrying out our scientific research program and engaging in discussion and workshops around solutions. Our onboard expert will facilitate scientific data collection and discussion around this environmental issue allowing all on board to have a deeper insight into the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans, and on us. After 5 days offshore we will arrive at a group of 82, relatively small islands called Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a nation of over 80 islands which are volcanic in origin and feature long narrow coastal plains. This provides a strong connection between the islanders and the sea, so it will be a valuable experience to step ashore to raise awareness by sharing our findings.

 As part of the crew I will participate in the research projects aboard, trolling for plastics as well as managing the galley day and night. Along the way I will be documenting this voyage through photography and video to help raise awareness and I can’t wait to bring back what I  have learned to help implement some solutions here at home in my own coastal community.


I feel led
to participate in this research and awareness trip for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, my children. I  am just a regular mom, trying to raise environmental advocates. Every thing I do is for my children. Since entering into motherhood I have never felt more compelled to lead by example and pass along to my children the importance of mindfulness. I  strive to teach them that every choice we make, no matter how small can have a great impact on our world- either for good or bad. 
My young children have spoken at town meetings and advocated for plastic bans and we successfully petitioned  our local school district, the second to largest school district in SC, to remove all styrofoam trays from their meal service, which you can read more about here 

I’m planting the seeds of hope for my children and our future generations and just doing what I can to make the best choices for my children and their future earth... one plastic swap out at a time. 

The eXXpedition women are on a journey of discovery. We hope to inspire and empower not only young women but ocean enthusiasts everywhere. I need your help to change lives, shift career paths, alter behavior, and spark a movement!

I am excited to share this experience with everyone who supports me financially, emotionally and physically (thanks for taking care of the littles!) during this creation of eXXpedition’s inspiring narrative of female leadership, personal and environmental exploration, and cultural conversation space aboard Discovery , a 70 foot scientific exploration vessel.

When I return home I will we sharing my experience through organized talks/presentations, photo and video. 

Check my instagram , blog  (in progress) and GoFundMe page for updates! I’ll be posting about eXXpedition, and what I am doing to prepare for the upcoming voyage.


Learn more here about exxpedition 

Please see films of previous voyages here
Make the unseen seen 


Unfortunately, mounting a sailing expedition is expensive. And, each volunteer participant is paying her own way. The funds will be used for the sailing cost, travel, and equipment.

I’m hoping that this #GoFundMe campaign will help me raise the funds to participate in the expedition, with a deadline of February 1st.

Your gift, no matter how small, will help lead the way in marine plastics education and inspire curiosity and action for all who watch, listen to, or experience the eXXpedition Round the World.

You can also donate via PayPal to avoid fees (message me for details).



There is a lack of diversity in gender and race role models in both STEM professions and in exploration / sports events. We would like to assemble a crew of inspiring female role models and help address the balance.

While there is no scientific consensus, there is an evidence base building that environmental exposure from chemicals is impacting women’s health. We would like to better understand the links between health of the environment and of our bodies.

Cleaning up the plastic is one approach, but what’s needed is multidisciplinary action. We aim to encourage tackling the ocean plastic from every angle, particularly stemming the flow of plastic at the source, before it reaches the sea, in new and innovative ways.


eXXpedition, is the Community Interest Company behind Round the World 2019-2021, specialists in all-women sailing trips with a focus on highlighting the devastating impact single-use plastic and toxics from land-based activities are having on our planet’s oceans, ecosystems and on human health.

Previous research carried out by eXXpedition has highlighted the endemic nature of micro plastics within our ocean environments globally and the increasing potential impact they have on human health.

eXXpedition was founded in 2014 by ocean advocate Emily Penn and Dr Lucy Gilliam to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas. eXXpedition became a Community Interest Company in 2017.

You can read more information about our team here:


● To collect scientific samples to feed into large-scale studies

● To explore the scale of plastic pollution and the available solutions

● To facilitate collaboration opportunities between the diverse crew of women – artists, scientists, filmmakers, sustainability professionals, businesswomen, sailors and so much more

● To empower the all-female crew to become more effective ocean ambassadors

● To carry out outreach events, where possible, to engage local communities and generate press coverage


● Support solutions-based science by contributing to world class scientific studies that are urgently needed to inform up-stream solutions and close the loop on plastic waste on land

● Challenge perceptions by using our platform to inform and educate so that people can better understand the real problem of micro-plastics and use that to shape actions and solutions

● Create a community of change-makers and inspiring global ambassadors to tackle plastic pollution back on dry land. During their ocean experience participants discover the power of their individual roles in addressing the issues. Empowered by their first hand experience at sea

we provide the tools, confidence and support they need to become effective leaders that can influence meaningful impact through their personal and professional communities.


For our Round the World voyages, eXXpedition will work in partnership with internationally-recognised ocean plastic experts to carry out plastics-related citizen science, both at sea and on shore. Professor Richard Thompson and his team of scientists at the University of Plymouth will be taking the lead on our sea-based science programme, while the collaboration with Dr Jenna Jambeck and the University of Georgia will be focused on land impacts. The impacts on local communities will be measured using a Circularity Assessment Protocol, developed at the University of Georgia, which looks at everything from waste washed up on coastlines to plastics in community shops.


● 8 million tonnes of plastic waste find their way into the ocean each year (Jenna Jambeck)

● Only 9% of recyclable plastic is recycled globally (more info:

● We use over one million plastic bags every minute worldwide (see a live count of the plastic bags used worldwide here:

● By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (source:

● There are five subtropical gyres, where plastic is collecting in the ocean (more info:

● Most plastics, even when certified as biodegradable, do not breakdown in water (source:

● Toxic chemicals in the ocean, such as pesticides, flame retardants and industrial waste, lead to bioaccumulation of toxics in the food chain

● Many chemicals found in plastic have been linked to disease, and are found to be contaminating our bodies through food and other plastic consumer products

● Plastic debris also threatens marine and terrestrial wildlife through entanglement or by clogging their digestive tracts.

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Cory Chewning 
Charleston, SC
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