Wednesday August 1st 2018 we departed on our fourth By the Ocean we Unite Major sailing expedition. We have the honor to be joined by the fastest woman to ever solo row the Atlantic, Kiko Matthews. Not only is she a daring person wanting to good for the environment, she’s also one of these people that can make you smile all the time. Kiko came cycling from the UK to Rotterdam, is joining us till the north of Denmark, from where she’ll cycle down to meet us again in Kiel and sail back to Rotterdam.
Kiko is writing several blogs about our journey. Check out the first one!
Expedition Denmark 2018
Day 1, July 31st – one day prior to departure
”So perhaps that shower would have been sensible. Old sweaty body combined with a warm cabin means I spent most of the night sticking to my sheet. Nice! And somewhat regretted my lazy choice.
Fantastiko, a 74ft, double mast sailing yacht and sleeps 16. It was recently finished, in 2012, after 10years, by the Dutch government to take naughty kids and rehabilitate them through experience and skill development. It took 10 years to build but never got used before the recession hit. Huub, the best Dutch sailor and our captain, () bought it under the pretence and promise he would use it for good cause. Our trip is one of the early trips of its kind, aimed towards research and education of ocean plastic. She’s beautiful, has plenty of space which I’m sure will be somewhat luxury after being at sea in my little ocean rowing boat.
It’s midday and I need to wrap up my bike before putting her away on deck and setting sail down the Maas, out towards the North Sea. For the first few hours we are joined by some people in the industry, sponsors etc and 30mins before leaving the mouth we drop off the last few and we are down to just the 16 of us. It now becomes clear who i am onboard with for the next 5 days and it also becomes clear who are the ones I’ll probably spend more time with. I think it’s human nature to scout that out but surprisingly, despite everyone’s different personalities, I fell like they are all good, honest and grounded souls. Recently, I have become part of two teams, one called Team like a Girl, who have convinced me that running 150 miles through the desert is a good idea, and the second is this team onboard Fantastiko, with an environmental focus. I’ve also started to build the team for my next big challenge. It’s so nice to have the contradiction of a solo row. Don’t get me wrong, I love the solitude but it is tiring and a team brings so many other great aspects which I’m currently really enjoying.
By 5pm we’ve done our first trawl, dragging a piece of equipment called a manta (trawl) because of what it looks like (manta Ray, of course!). It lies in the water scooping up the water and everything in it’s path, jelly fish, crabs, plankton and all. ‘All’ being the micro plastics. The research team then analyse the data and use it to help us decipher what kind of pickle we have got ourselves into.
There’s general mooching, chatting, establishing who’s who and what’s what, afternoon sunny snoozes but no cider! Not until we get to Skagen on Saturday. Bedtime. Sun, sea air, learning and new people is tiring, evening even if I have had 40 winks (or two)! Night.”
Read all about Expedition Denmark 2018 here!