The transatlantic crossing experience onboard Twister!
During the last five weeks, Twister sailing training vessel sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean Islands for their HORIZON EXPEDITION. In this program the guests and the crew were involved in an exciting green program as an initiative from “Twister Sailing” in collaboration with “Ocean Missions”. The idea was to include the guests on some scientific surveys, bring awareness about our marine ecosystems and encouraging the people to be part of the change for a better future.
We have asked our marine biologist Belén Garcia Ovide who was leading the Green Mission:
On our start in the Canary Islands, enthusiastic scientists and whale guides came onboard to transmit their passion and knowledge about their islands. We learnt how valuable is this archipelago in terms of marine biodiversity and the challenges there are facing (e.g. pollution, pressure from boats on local resident species…) but more important, the solutions they achieved on sustainability (e.g reinforce some regulations for whale watching activities)! After some exciting days of preparation, we finally left anchor and sail South West, towards Cape Verde Islands.
We could investigate the big accumulation of micro plastics in certain beaches due to local currents, take samples and help with cleaning efforts. During our days we had very good trade winds almost the whole trip! On the open ocean we could register some amazing sightings of pilot whale’s pods as well as at least two different species of oceanic dolphins following the boat! The birdlife was majestic bringing us fantastic opportunities to make great shots, identify the species and learn from their wild behavior.
Interestingly, during this trip micro plastics in water maker filter were also preliminary examined under the microscope. This innovative idea aims to find ways to standardize a methodology for future research onboard similar boats!
In the Caribbean, we noticed a worrying general garbage management problem and the lack of facilities to recycle or get rid of their daily trash. Even in the Natural Park of Tobago Cays we collected 5 big bags of trash (mainly plastics) in less than one hour of beach clean-up. However, some other islands are becoming more sustainable and are very pro-active in the matter, adopting some inspiring solutions such as banning the single use plastic, providing bamboo straws or putting green signs in their bars and beaches. Clean beaches are important for the environment but also increase quality of tourism.
We learn a lot and teach each other during this experience. Having so much time to be just out there in the blue is extremely precious to look into the inner self and I realize that we need so little to be happy and still grow as human being…
After the trip we also realized that we could have improved some thigs to emphasize “the green responsibility” in this tour types, and therefore, out of excitement, enthusiasm and expertise, we are working on developing a “Sustainability Guide” to freely share with all those operators that are willing to offer a more sustainable way of travelling to their clients.
An interesting and exciting journey where traditional sailing, sustainability and the slow travel were the main goals!
We wish Twister fair winds in their next journeys in the Caribbean and the crossing back to Europe