The Hope Expedition. Navigation the ocean within

by Belén García Ovide
June 30, 2023

23rd – 29th of June 2023

Hope is a word connected to “change”. 

A link between present and future, that leads us to a path of transformation.

When we have hope: we see the possibility of change.  

When we have hope: we act towards the change. 

In early June, Shannon Rake and Sylvia Earle from Mission Blue, together with the The Explorer´s Club team, invited us (Charla Basran and myself) to the “World’s Oceans Week” event that took place in New York city. There, we had the chance to present officially the declaration of the First Hope Spot in Iceland and to be present in the United Nations World Oceans Day event. Coming from a remote area at the end of the world all the way to this big event to deliver such an important message, we felt no more than humbleness and proudness to be there standing for the rights of our precious Icelandic rich waters and its biodiversity. After a week, we came home full of inspiration and eagerness to keep surfing the wave of Hope.

Once in Iceland the best was about to come! We have been preparing this for a year now and finally the time has arrived. We would be celebrating the declaration of the Northeast Icelandic Hope Spot by embarking on our first and unique Ocean Missions Hope Expedition.

During this inspiring journeym we aim to change the way we relate not only to our oceans, but also to our own selves and others. That’s why this year, in collaboration with Raisa from Piratas do Amor, we worked not only on our common  mission for protecting the oceans, but also on diving deeper on our individual journeys as humans. Because only becoming the best versions of ourselves, we would become the Ocean Ambassadors we need to change the world. 

Raíssa was born in São Paulo, Brazil, but chose the ocean as her home. As a facilitator and pirate therapist for more than 10 years, she has guided hundreds of people on journeys of self-creation, love and reconnection to nature. 

“Afterall, in order to be the change we want to see in the world, we need to reconnect to our human nature, learning to navigate with mastery into our inner ocean and taking back the helm of our lives.” Raíssa Teles, Pirata do Amor 

During this special journey we sailed for 4 days within the Hope Spot waters and spent 3 days on land living aboard but exploring from land with a special program full of exciting activities, including hikes, beach clean ups, scientific talks, workshops etc. Besides monitoring the Hope Spot biodiversity, (specially whales and seabirds) and the status of microplastic pollution in these fragile waters, we also had the opportunity to learn with the ocean about our own selves.  A journey to embrace our full authenticity, perfectly composed of shadows and lights, in order to become better creators of our realities and shape the world we want to live in. 

We all know that it is more than time to set sails towards new horizons of life on Earth. This is an invitation to align our courses with the compass of our hearts, sailing with purpose while spreading hope through the seven seas and beyond. 

Having Raíssa and her spirit on board gave the entire experience a 180-degree turn. Embarking on an adventure such as an expedition in the arctic and sub-arctic waters is already, by itself, a form of challenging yourself that very few face in their lives. If you add to this an emotional and introspective journey of reconnection and communication, with yourself and with others, what you get is a life-changing experience.

Ópal has been the perfect setting for this experience, giving us the warmth of a home and the security of an empire, leading us to realize everything that makes these waters a crucial place for the survival and health of our oceans – and, therefore, of our planet and ourselves.

During the Hope Expedition we encounter more whales than ever before, including majestic encounters with blue whales, the biggest animal on Earth, we sang and dance on eternal sunsets surrounded by humpback whales. We shared our knowledge about the local biodiversity, about whales and their mysterious customs, about the loyalty of birds and their brave migrations, about the crucial importance of the Arctic ecosystem, which rests on the tiny shoulders of the phytoplankton that inhabits it. The participants learned about currents and winds, about how to navigate a schooner that was created for war but now fervently serves peace. We all have learned to empower ourselves, to be confident in our mission, to raise our voices towards the sun and demand to be heard, with a “My name is… and I say HI!”. In short, we have learned to admire and respect what surrounds us by learning about it and loving ourselves more.

We have cried, we have laughed, we have shared dreams, hopes, fears and sorrows, and together we have created a refuge on the waters of our beloved Hope Spot.

And everything, with an eye on the horizon: A future where the ocean and humans finally live in harmony.

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