About eXXpedition's Round the World Voyage 2019-2021
Hi everyone! My name is Paige and I have extremely excited to have been selected from over 10,000 applicants as one of 300 women to participate in eXXpedition's Round the World Voyage researching the impact of plastic pollution on the oceans. As I am sure you know, single-use plastics are having a devastating effect on our beloved big blue. However, learning about the impacts of microplastics as they make their way into the ecosystem is in need of much more research. I will be one of ten guest crew members on the 9th leg of this 30-leg journey. We will be sailing on 70-ft "S/V TravelEdge". Let the count down to April 2020 begin, when I will set sail from Tahiti to the Cook Islands and live out eXXpedition's mission to "make the unseen seen".
About my Leg: Tahiti - Raratonga, Cook Islands, April 2020
"Tahiti, in the Society Islands archipelago is the largest island in French Polynesia. Tahiti is formed of two extinct volcanoes and has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Before we set sail, we will collaborate with a local organisation to look at the plastic pollution issues the island faces in more depth, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the issue from the very start. We will spend just over a week on board, sailing 600 nautical miles to the main Cook Island, Raratonga. Skirting the edge of the South Pacific Gyre we will spend just under 5 days at sea where we will be able to carry out our scientific research, including our surface manta trawls and processing of ocean surface microplastic samples. We will step ashore to tell our tale and fulfill our mission of ‘making the unseen seen’. "
My Personal Experience with Plastics in Our Seas
My love for the ocean has drawn me to its shores every summer since I can remember. As soon as I could, I got jobs on the water. From stand-up paddle board instructor, to dock hand, to environmental science intern, and to now, where I am a Program Manager for Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation nonprofit based in Newport, RI that works on sustainability within the sailing community.
As a dock hand, I saw first hand the amount of trash, mostly plastic, that came floating by our marina. My coworkers and I worked hard to keep our marina clean, and on rainy days, would even watch ocean documentaries in the dock office. This job motivated me to work the next summer with a local environmental organization, Clean Ocean Access, as an environmental science intern to lead local beach clean-ups and monitor the incoming debris that trash skimmers collected in the harbor. My first experience searching for microplastics in organic debris was terrifying and eye-opening. I thought, "there's no way there are microplastics in here!". Alarmingly, there were hundreds of pieces of inorganic debris in the seaweed, hidden to the untrained eye.
I extended this internship experience into my master's research, where I looked at Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island as a case study for tackling plastic pollution in coastal communities. Through my background research on this issue, I learned that microplastics were negatively impacting many sea creatures' abilities to reproduce and that there was more research needed on how microplastics in our bodies will impact human health. This opportunity with eXXpedition allows me to do just that.
If you are interested in reading more about my findings, you can read my full report here: Coastal Plastics Abatement on Aquidneck Island
Why I Need Your Help!
Each guest crew member is responsible for making a contribution towards the costs of the vessel and the voyage. I need your help to reach my goal and raise $6,500 for this expedition. Here is the breakdown of where your donation will be going:
Crew contribution: $4,400
Lodging immediately before and after sailing: $100
I want to add a personal touch to thank those who donate:
Donation of $25: I have secured a sponsor, WaxHead, that makes sun protective shirts from recycled plastic bottles! This shirt will be custom screen printed with my donors' names on the back. A donation of $25 or more will get your name on the shirt and I will be reminded of your support every day while at sea!
Donation of $100: I will send you a personalized postcard and photo from my trip (in addition to adding your name to the shirt)!
Donation of $250: If eight generous people donate $250, that covers the entirety of my expected flight costs. These eight donors will receive a copy of one page of my journal I plan to keep for each day on the boat. Let me know your day preference when you donate! You will also have your name added to the shirt and receive a photo/postcard as well.
Day 1: Thanks Daddy-o!
Day 2: unclaimed
Day 3: unclaimed
Day 4: Thanks Auntie Cindy!
Day 5: Thanks Auntie Janny & Uncle Bob!
Day 6: Thanks Giddu!
Day 7: Thanks Aunt Elaine & Sir Don!
Day 8: Thanks Mom!