Through a shared passion for all things related to the ocean, we’ve partnered with the ocean conservancy and marine research crew at Pangaea Exploration to explore the sea in search of ways that we can preserve and protect our beautiful blue waves. To kick off the partnership, we’ve invited five adventurers from around the globe to embark on the trip of a lifetime to explore and research the stunning waters of Antigua.
Pangaea Exploration’s mission is to actively strengthen the health of marine life through adventure and education. Or, put more simply — much like us here at Sperry — their goal is to connect people with the ocean.
To shed some light on what Pangaea Exploration is all about, we reached out to skipper, ocean advocate, and Pangaea co-founder Emily Penn to tell us about how she became involved with Pangaea.
Emily Penn is an oceans advocate, skipper and artist; a graduate of Cambridge University with a degree in Architecture, and the Founder of Pangaea Exploration. Emily is the youngest and only female recipient of Yachtmaster of the Year award. Emily currently splits her time between completing independent research-based expeditions around the globe while also managing group trips with Pangaea Explorations. (@missemilypenn)
Tell us about how you got involved with Pangaea. Was this a lifelong dream, or something serendipitous you discovered along the way?
I’ve always been passionate about the ocean and our natural world, but it wasn’t until I was 21 and got on the record-breaking bio-fuelled powerboat Earthrace for a journey around the world that I started to understand the impact us humans are having on our planet. That moment – in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, when I was awoken by a thud on the hull of our boat and came up to the deck to find we were surrounded by plastic in the water – changed everything for me. Setting up Pangaea was the response to these new insights, with a mission to develop our understanding of these critical ocean changes, and get more eyes on the issues.
How has the program and the curriculum changed since you first got stated?
We began with a big focus on scientific research – to gather data, write papers, and effect change through policy and education. Along the way, we realized the shear power of taking people to sea – that feeling when you lose sight of land, days on end in pure wilderness, the complete remoteness from society as we know it, dolphins at the bow, endless sunsets and, most of all, life-changing conversations. Crossing an ocean is a transformative experience and an adventure that Pangaea intends to continue to facilitate for individuals for years to come.
What types of people are typically drawn to Pangaea’s expeditions?
There is no ‘typical’ crew member on a Pangaea voyage – the beauty is in the diversity! We host scientists, filmmakers, educators, artists, policy makers, product designers and everyday individuals. If I were to pick something that ties them all together, I would say a strong sense of adventure and a passion to create change.
What’s the most rewarding trip you’ve led to date, and what about it made it stand out?
Our first all girls voyage, eXXpedition Atlantic, in 2014 will always be memorable for me. We left the Canaries head on into a big sea and high winds. We clung on and fought our way up-wind for five days, to get to our sampling location. The determination and high spirits of the crew was incredible and kept us going until we got out on the other side of the storm. Once there, we had the most rewarding two-week sail downwind, collecting our data, and venturing into the Caribbean.
Which expedition are you most excited about in 2017?
I’m really excited to see the Whale expedition in Ireland go ahead! It’s something quite different to what we have done before, and I know from firsthand experience that seeing your first whale breach or dolphin at the bow is one you will never forget!
Follow @sperry on Instagram during the week of 1/16/2017 to experience this Odyssey firsthand through our posts and Instagram stories, or follow the participants of this trip to experience the trip firsthand through their eyes.
Sam Potter is a Hawaii-born photographer/videographer, surfer, adventurer, and outdoor enthusiast. Sam’s interests lie in outdoor exploration and sea-based adventure primarily, but his heart is truly set on “do-good” projects like his Philippines Project and his work with a learn-to-surf charity that he and his father created. (@captain_potter)
Amanda Goad is the founder of the Wild Women’s Project – a dynamic leadership hut trip for today’s outdoorswomen that centers on driving Community, Creativity and Conservation. The Colorado-based adventurer seeks to empower women through exploration and open conversation about the role of women in the outdoor industry. (@amanda_goad + @boldbrewteam + @wildwomensproject)
Nash Finley is a creative, who was born in Arizona. After getting a Product Design degree in San Francisco, he gave up the sedentary life to pursue one of a nomad. Hopping from country to country along with his wife, has broadened his perspective and opened his mind to what else exists beyond the confines of conformity. To sustain themselves while traveling, he has started freelancing as a designer as he feels that travel and design compliment each other perfectly. (@thenomadicpeople)
Kim Finley is a strong-willed and passionate German girl. Flitting about at an early age gave her a taste of the gypsy life and lead her to become an Au Pair in San Francisco. Though the world called her name she settled in Austria for a bit to get her Bachelor of Arts in Business. But even her school couldn’t tie her down for long. She took an internship in Japan, studied in Thailand, and most recently became a Travel Contributor for The Perfect Hideaway. (@thenomadicpeople)
Megan Collante is a photographer, Videographer, and Model from Florida who enjoys the outdoors. Megan focuses her work on adventure lifestyle and spends most of her time hiking and exploring new places. (@newtogger)