FLEET CALL UP: SAILORS, ROWERS, PADDLE BOARDERS, KAYAKERS, DIVERS, FISHERMAN, SWIMMERS – WATER SPORTS PEOPLE OF ALL FLAVOURS!
Anyone spending time on the water can make a huge difference to the data we can collect as a fleet! – It's always been the plan to reach out to all those that spend time on the water. Even people walking their dogs on a beach will be able to use the App to record what they see!
So if you enjoy water sports of any kind or just a brisk walk on your local beach! then you can still join the fleet – we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch!
The BBC coverage is making laps of the planet! The articles are being copied/syndicated worldwide and the net effect is more and more long term live aboard sailing boats are getting in touch wanting to join the fleet and help science!
From families wanting to make their circumnavigation more meaningful (and to help with home educating their children), to retired scientists eager to keep doing worthwhile science, to couples hungry for adventure but wanting to their trip to be more than just a lap around the planet (like us!) to those crews that just want to help because the ocean is their home! - Thanks so much to all of you for getting in touch!!
It’s been a bonkers couple of weeks and we will be getting back to you very shortly to capture specific data about you, your vessel and your intended cruising plans. The plan is to provide a basic set of observational science we would like you to collect while the science team led by Dr Steve develop more formal data sets which will include basic equipment!
To those who have been in touch - Welcome to the Fleet!
It’s one of the joys of being in a remote anchorage to be able to chat with and trade with sustainable fishing families. It may be for some fishing hooks, fuel, a T shirt, cans of food, sugar or sometimes simply a bit of cash. The key here is these families are fishing locally and what’s in their catch tells a vital story about fish stock in that local area. Asking them what they catch now compared to what their fathers/mothers/grandfathers/grandmothers used to catch provides vital information about the migration of marine life and the changing of ocean conditions.
As we build up a tool kit of equipment and the app to automate the collection of data and make it as easy as possible for the fleet to collect unique and valuable data sets – we still want them to start thinking about interesting things they can record.
One off ocean events and long term sailors: Those who make the oceans their home are many times more likely to see “one off ocean events” than a marine ecologist – who may wait a lifetime to see just one!
These could be mass spawning events, mass migrations or even floating Whale Poo 💩 (yes really, this rich mix of nutrients in the poop is the start of a complex cascade effect that sustains the oceans!) –collecting some of this Poo will be one of our ultimate data sets.
These one off ocean events, basically something that has you saying “Blimey I’ve never seen that before” should be quickly followed by grabbing your camera to take a picture, some video and to make a note of the time, date and GPS. These one off ocean events are super rare and they tell a story about the health of our oceans that are a key part of the ecology puzzle.
Sadly these may also be coming across a mass of manmade material, such as plastic – again getting close enough to get a good picture to ground truth that man made material with the date time and GPS will fuel the development of the next generation of orbital satellite devices that will be able to help us track and measure the man made material on our oceans. Remember we will eventually need a way to find it so we can clear it up!
To have the opportunity to talk about the project on a BBC breakfast prime time slot was hugely valuable and given that these issues are going to take us generations to fix also having time on BBC Newsround and BBC Newsround Digital to reach out to children was simply fantastic! The education and outreach elements of the project are fundamental to what we are trying to achieve! So being able to reach out to the next generation who will ultimately inherit these problems and be the one to fix them - that was a really powerful opportunity and one we grabbed at wholeheartedly!
I give away my age by saying I remember a time before the interwebs where John Craven on BBC Newsround updated the younger generation on what was happening in the world and it was a great way as a child to get a feel for global issues – Followed by the team on BBC Blue Peter and I still miss tomorrows world !
** BBC Newsround's Ricky interviewing Dr Steve on our RED paddle boards **
Thanks again to BBC Newsround's Ricky Boleto, Laura the BBC Producer and the film crew for listening to our story and being such a great crew on Given Time for the day! You are welcome back any time! Caribbean next time yes?
L-R: Dr Steve Simpson (Exeter Uni), Richard Knight (Mettle PR), Jon Amos (BBC News)
We were lucky enough to have Jon Amos – BBC Science correspondent on board for a day to talk with ourselves and Dr Steve about the state of our oceans, our project and the huge challenge we as a team have taken on.
It was great to have him on board for the day and you can see the fantastic article he wrote here on BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44661953
Jon was able to see first-hand how we are uniquely placed to help the science community – A sailing yachts ability to run silent provides unique opportunities for collecting truly valuable sound data and the fact that long term sailors go to places research boats will just never reach!
It’s a true pleasure to talk with someone so knowledgeable about science and the issues that face humanity and we look forward to updating Jon with progress in the coming months!
It’s fair to say that the BBC is totally the notice board for the world when it comes to interesting news! So to have our story told, with links and details of what we are doing as a team, as a project and have that shared on the BBC here right at the start was simply fantastic! To get the amazing response that we did just validates all our efforts to date and makes us all the more driven to make a real difference with this project and the Fleet Science Mission.
The net effect has been to get the project off to a truly great start with some simply game changing coverage on BBC Breakfast News, BBC Newsround and BBC News online. Our BBC News online story was retweeted by BBC News twitter accounts to 9.4 Million followers, the effect of which we are still seeing every day.
We have been blown away by the amazing response we have had from cruisers spread all over the world and we will soon be getting them to start collecting basic data as part of a beta programme to aid the development of the App, portal and database.
Dr Steve and the team at Exeter have already started looking in more detail at what could be easily provided to each vessel to supercharge the kinds of data collected and allow truly unique and valuable data sets to start to be produced on a global scale!
The steps to get the App operational and the supporting online portal and database will take us a little longer! The sheer size of the database and the cost to get the app, online portal and database completed has to be met – So we are talking to potential partners that can help us get the app to a Beta state and have the infrastructure to store what is likely to be a huge amount of sound and video files – making everything accessible to the public especially school children and the science community in a way that makes it valuable for all - this is not a small task! So watch this space for updates!
BBC News Online Article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44661953
BBC Newsround: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/44668624
As with any project getting the foundations right is fundamental to making it a success and we are very lucky to have had some great help to get a strong foundation in place for the Given Time expedition and Fleet Science outreach project!
Chief amongst that help has been true stars like; Richard Knight (Mettle PR), Simon and Jo Holland, Skip Margets (Farm Film), Dr Tom Appleby (UWE), Dr Dan Buzzo (UWE & Uni of Amsterdam), Prof Geoff Scamans (Brunel University), the team from University of Amsterdam and most recently our lead Science Advisor Dr Steve Simpson (Associate Prof. University of Exeter and BBC Blue Planet II) who is a true inspiration - Plus all of our amazing sponsor companies without whom this expedition and science mission just wouldn’t be happening!