Arctic research and plastic clean up expedition

Ocean plastics research trip on Yacht Narwhal - your opportunity to join us

Ocean plastics research trip on Yacht Narwhal - your opportunity to join us

I am excited to announce the launch of an awesome new expedition for Narwhal in August. We asked you guys what your dream arctic adventure on a sailing yacht would be, thanks so much to all of you who took the time to give us your feedback. When we totted up the results they showed just how keen and motivated you all are to address the issue of marine plastic pollution. Eric and I are really passionate about this too, so we have risen to the challenge and I am pleased to say that Narwhal will be undertaking an expedition to do something about it! Even better you can onboard and get involved! Here are the details:

Location: Lofoten Islands and Vestfjord in northern Norway, sailing from and returning to Bodo, Norway.

Dates: 15th - 26th July 


Marine Research Objectives: 

  • Monitoring marine pollution with the University of Georgia Marine Debris Tracker project
  • Beach litter survey in a number of Lofoten's locations
  • Monitor and record wildlife interactions with marine plastics
  • Lofoten Islands beach clean - doing our bit to clean up the Arctic!
  • Record plankton levels with the University of Plymouth's Secci disk project
  • Undertake marine mammal surveys and contribute sightings to WhaleMapp
  • Take pictures for photo-identification for the Cascadia Research Collective's Happy Whale project


Marine research projects

We have chosen these marine research projects to work with on our expedition for the following reasons. 1) Due the unique way that a sailing yacht travels we will be able to collect data from areas that are not commonly sampled, providing a really valuable contribution to our project partner's databases. 2) The projects are internationally recognised, run by respected institutes and are in a position to use our data, in combination with that of many others, to influence policy makers and provoke real world changes to protect our environment and wildlife. The following are some of the projects that we will be working on:


Happy Whale uses photo ID to monitor the movements of whale populations


The University of Georgia is using Marine Debris Tracker to build up a global picture of the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans


The Secchi Disk project monitors the abundance of phytoplankton, the key base of the food chain for all ocean life


WhaleMapp are monitoring populations and movements of whales around the world. They are working to feed sightings data to shipping and reduce injuries caused to animals by ship strikes.


How the ocean research trip will run

Whale surveying on board Narwhal

Whale surveying on board Narwhal

Everyone will join the boat in Bodo, where you will be welcomed on board, (this will quite likely involve tea). Once you have had a chance to settle in the skipper will brief you on the boat and safety equipment and show you how things work on board. We will also take you through how each of the projects work. Don't worry, you don't need to have any previous sailing or scientific experience, just a sense of adventure :) We will choose where we travel to each day and which surveys we undertake to make the most of the weather conditions. Expect that you will get a chance to watch for marine life, predominantly whales, and record your sightings as well as take part in photographing any animals that we encounter. While we are keeping our eyes peeled for those dorsal fins you can also record and incidences of litter found at sea. There will be a chance to 'learn the ropes' and get involved in sailing the boat. Weather permitting we will take the opportunity to go ashore in Narwhal's rib and conduct beach litter surveys and clean-ups. There may even be the opportunity for a kayak clean-up for those feeling extra adventurous. The Lofoten Islands are a stunning photographer's paradise of fjords and mountains rising directly from the sea, so we will have our pick of sheltered anchorages to spend the night in. Once we are snug in our anchorage we can put the kettle on, review the day's sightings and data, maybe work on editing pictures and video from the day and enjoy a well deserved dinner on board. 

It won't all be work, there will still be plenty of time to relax, enjoy the wonderful scenery, fill your camera's memory card with stunning images and your head with wonderful memories. 


How you can get on board

Kittiwake using marine plastic as a nest

Kittiwake using marine plastic as a nest

Now is your chance to make a difference on the issues of marine plastic pollution and marine wildlife conservation as well as take the trip of a lifetime in the stunning north. We would love you to join us on board Narwhal and help us to make a positive change. We have space for four keen ocean lovers on board. You don't need to have any sailing or scientific experience, just a sense of adventure and a love of our oceans. The cost of the trip is £1750pp for 11 nights which includes all your food for the duration and accommodation on board Narwhal, as well as the use of sailing and scientific equipment. Get in touch if you have any questions, want to find out more or would like to reserve a place.