Lucy and the New Dawn Traders

Fare Traded by Sail

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eXXpedition – All women voyage to make the unseen seen!

One of my awesome projects for 2014 is an all women’s voyage to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas!

On the 14th of November 2014 a crew of 14 women will set sail across the Atlantic in search of answers relating the health of our environment to the health of our bodies. I am collaborating with ocean advocate Emily Penn and we are looking for a powerful mix of skilled women to join this team – please click this link to apply.

Our aim is to assemble an all female crew on a scientific research mission across the Atlantic creating an inspiring narrative of female leadership, personal and environmental exploration, and cultural conversation space aboard Sea Dragon, a scientific exploration vessel.

Along the eXXpedition voyage we will sample the Atlantic oceans for plastic and pollutants, feeding in these samples to wider studies investigating the impacts of toxics and plastics pollutants linking this sampling to narratives of ecosystem health, personal health and the products we consume.

Our mission is also to explore the issue of chemicals, endocrine disrupters and carcinogens in our personal and global environment that can cause disease, in particular raising awareness of those linked to the rise in breast cancer rates. We are collaborating with UK cancer charity Coppafeel!

Our aim is to engage young women (ages 13-30), in particular, in scientific narratives relating to the consumer choices they make, and their long term health impacts on themselves and our environment.

As a crew of 14 women we hope to participate in biomonitoring to assess our personal exposure to known toxic substances. Through our personal exploration of our internal environment we hope to better understand the levels of toxic exposure in women. Through a shared mission to understand this invisible pollution we hope to create a conversation which sheds light on the science of ecotoxicology and inspires positive actions to tackle the root causes.

Why this? Why now?

Unseen disease – Breast cancer rates in young women are on the rise. Women’s specific disease research has a low public profile in the media and there is an imbalance in research funding directed towards gender specific diseases.

Unseen pollution – 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 creatively explore this issue and take young women on this journey with us, to better understand the links between health of the environment and of our bodies.

Unseen women – There is also a lack of diversity in gender and 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.

- create positive role models for young women

- create awareness for positive health monitoring – Coppafeel actions, biomonitoring (chemicals in the blood, genetic tests like 23andme).

- create narratives of awareness around toxics in environment and chemicals related to human disease, particularly those related to Breast cancer

- inspire the precautionary principle in consumer choice and highlight earth friendly / body friendly products

plastic-ocean-trash

Get over to www.eXXpedition.com to find out more!

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The rigging and lines. Now to remember them all…. This is my challenge for the next week…

Baptism of Ice

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Den Helder to Stavanger. The first leg of our voyage to Brazil.

Our ‘Shakedown’ dreamteam Crew: Captain Arjen, 1st mate Ruurd, 2nd mate Steven, Bosun Cole, Chef Lucy, Sail trainees Erik, Amorie, Alexandra, Adrian, Alistair, Francois, Biz, Mijke, Tabea, Josepha, Rob, Vincent, Chimra, Amors, Christof

The tug arrived 10am prompt on Friday morning ready to manoeuvre the ship of the harbourside and out through the lock to the open sea. After 5 weeks on the queueside she was ready to sail complete with new sails, spars, ropes and a brand new ‘shakedown’ crew. The departure had been delayed a few days due to bad weather so the crew were eager to get sailing.

Once out of the lock the orders were given to unfurl the sails. Quickly harnesses were donned and the rigging scaled ready to start setting the sails. The was a good breeze and once the sails were set we were making 9 knots in a northerly direction. Leaving the most northerly tip of Holland to starboard.

The watch system was instigated after lunch. The system onboard is the Swedish system of in the day 6 hours on, 6 hours off, with 3 times 4 hour watches in the night. The trainee crew were split into port and starboard watch with Ruurd and Steven as the watch leaders. As the chef aboard I’m not in the watch system. My day runs from 6.30am till after serving supper around 8.30pm. By mid afternoon the swell and the motion began to get the better of some of the crew and a wave of seasickness set in that has taken a full 3 days to shake off for some.

A hearty meal of pasta with vegetables and béchamel sauce was provided for the crew with strong stomachs. The sky was filled with rippled clouds and a bright full moon, which resembled a giant glowing snowflake as the bright rays of the moon filter through the matrix of cloud. The waters are busy in this area of the North Sea and a look out was stationed to check for ships, fishing boats and fishing line buoys.

The following morning I was gently stirred from my sleep by Steven, the 2nd mate. Orders from the top are to wake people gently! Makes for a happier ship. A vat of porridge was prepared to warm tummies of the night watch and fuel the arriving watch. There is a strong wind and lines have been threaded along the decks to clip harnesses along. Everyone on deck is now wearing a harness.

After lunch and much discussion over the weather forecasts, the Captain Arjen made the decision to slow down the ship and stay in the area of sea below the storm.

The warmest place on the ship is galley. This means there is an almost constant stream of sailors coming in to sit down, have a cup of tea and chat. Anything and everything is talked about. We have several young professional tall ship sailors aboard who come with funny tales and lewd jokes from previous escapades. The fact that the galley is in a deck cabin is one of the nicest aspects of the ship and makes for a real community. Saturday night we had a big pot of steaming lentil stew with cous cous, sauerkraut and roasted pumpkin. This made Steven very happy as his favourite thing in the world seems to be sauerkraut AKA powerkraut. I personally absolutely adore it to and it makes for perfect sea going fare as full of Vitamin C and last well in the stores. All meals are washed down with buckets of green tea on this ship. A drizzly wet night ensued. This is the North Sea after all. We could hardly expect sunshine and hot weather in October!

An abundance of bread meant a breakfast of ‘wentelteefje’, which literally translates as ‘turning bitches’ AKA ‘french toast’. The language of the ship is a mix of Dutch and English. We have 11 nationalities on board; Dutch, British, South African, Israel, Italian, German, French, Belgian, Canadian, Welsh and of course Friesland!

A morning of food prep passed lazily in the sunshine. Peeling potatoes, scrubbing carrots and chopping onions. One of the trainees requested plain rice to eat so a big pot was made to settle stomachs and get them back on their feet. Lunch was a pot of soup with croutons and handfuls of cheese sourced locally in Friesland from the lighthouse keeper who is also a cheese maker! Francois caught the first mackerel today. In total we caught 4, which will be making their way straight into the frying pan to complement tonight’s supper of roasted potatoes, green beans and cauliflower. Already the ship feels like a family. This is accelerated by the fact that many of the crew aboard have been working on the refit over the last 5 weeks so know each other well.

After lunch our trainee and onboard weather expert Alistair gave a lesson in weather systems, how to read high and low weather systems and plot your course through the wind changes drawing out his illustrations with a giant piece of chalk on the roof of the navigation house.

In the afternoon (sunday) we sailed through thunder and lightening. As a precaution all the electrics on board were turned off to prevent a direct strike. Whilst lightening struck around the ship, apple pudding and whipped cream was served steaming in the galley.

We thought the storm would pass by that evening and that we would be able to make our course in good conditions. However despite valiant efforts not to, we ended up sailing into the storm. By midday Monday conditions were harsh. The ship was heeling at least 20 degrees and rain was lashing down. A request was made for plain rice for lunch. One by one, wet soggy seamen swept through the galley taking brief respite from the conditions with a mug of tea, biscuits and warm food before heading back out to battle the sails and waves.

The very worst hit in the middle of the night. All hands were called on deck as the ship. A restless night before first land was spotted around 4am on Tuesday. The coastline of Norway was rocky and dotted with pointed houses. We set our bearing for the lighthouse and tacked into the fjord heading up wind to safe harbour where a bright red picture book tug named ‘Buddy’ met us and tugged us into the old harbour. The overarching feeling of this first leg has been how spectacularly comical it has been. As if lifted straight from the pages of adventure story book complete with primary coloured illustrations and animated boats… The level of good spirit on board, which remained until the bitter end, was magical.

Talking of good spirit… as always when safely snug in harbour, the sails were stowed and a bottle of celebratory tres hombres rum cracked open!

An epic start to our trans Atlantic escapades.

A little dose of Inspiration

“Now here is what I believe
real adventure is not polished
it is not the result of some marketing budget
there is no hashtag for it
It burns brightest on the map edges
but it exists in all of us
it exists in the intersection of imagination and the ridiculous 
You have to have faith
It will find you there
and when it does
remember 
there is just one question in this life
when the road comes to an end
will you keep pedelling SAILING?”

I discovered this perusing the interweb while waiting for fellow shipmate Biz to source a waterproof sleeping bag… Thought I’d share…

Last sleep till Den Helder

Last sleep until departure!!!! Tomorrow I leave for Holland to join Alex aboard the Tres Hombres Sail Cargo Ship. I’m so nervous / excited / anxious / excited. I can’t sleep. This time round I have a pretty good idea what we / I / us are in for. Freezing cold sailing conditions. Long hours on the helm. Terrifying heights to set the sails and a hefty dose of the galley.

Tres hombres is admirably simple and resource efficient. She has no engine and the operations aboard are all renewable powered. What this means practically is no fridge or freezer. Manual hand pumps for water. With no fancy electrics and generator guzzling appliances aboard there is a lot less to go wrong. And there is a great deal more creativity and daily brawn required.

I wonder how many of my friends and family live without a fridge or freezer? How many can plan meal plans 3 weeks in advance? How many have ideas around keeping food fresh for longer?

Often the excuse is we don’t have time… I think the aspect of the voyage I’m looking forward to most is this stretching of time which occurs when you are at sea. The fresh perspective. The ‘does it really matter’ cull. The ‘I’m so utterly blown away moments’ that time can sometimes stand still.

I haven’t experienced anything quite like being out at sea in the open ocean. The stars, the phosphorescence, the sealife… The vulnerability of bobbing through the mid Atlantic with the calm assurance of the stars and the knowledge that we are stardust.

There will be 15 of us on the ship which is a sizeable community to navigate in the confines of a 32m by 8m space. The bunks are tight and space is limited.

But, I think, we are all united in the vision of good clean fair trading. Ha not long till I find out for sure. I’m looking forward to the conversations especially at 5am on the helm watching the sun rise.

Anyway. Time for sleeps. Regular updates to follow.

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