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There is so much we don’t know yet about the ocean. Especially outside coastal zones, it’s logistically and economically challenging to collect data for research. As sailors, we are already out there, and we can reach places far away from civilisation. We are the eyes of the ocean. Why not make your wildlife sightings part of something bigger? Our observations on location can be extremely valuable to gain better insights on what’s going on with the ocean and its wildlife. The more we know, the better solutions we can create.

Here are a few citizen science initiatives that welcome your contributions and sightings from the ocean. Be sure to check these out beforehand, so you know what data is welcome.

Spot wildlife and plants

Whales

If you see a whale on your travels, remember that whale tails serve as unique identifiers for each whale, like fingerprints. Snap a photo and submit them, along with sighting coordinates to:

Be careful! If a whale is close to your boat, slow down to avoid a collision.

Birding Aboard

A citizen-science project organised by a group of long-distance birding sailors from around the world. Join the bird count and contribute information about bird migrations. Simply take a photo of a bird and write down the location coordinates. The data goes to eBird, a worldwide resource for scientists and conservation groups. Learn more at BirdingAboard.org.

Phytoplankton

Contribute to the seafarer study of phytoplankton. Plankton is particularly sensitive to changes in sea surface temperature. You can help to get more insight into the plankton changes by making a simple piece of scientific equipment called a ‘Secchi Disk’ and getting the Secchi app. Learn more at SecchiDisk.org.

Seaweed

There has been a massive increase of sargassum (a type of large brown seaweed) in 2015 and 2016, especially in the Caribbean. During my first crossing in 2015, we had massive parades of seaweed next to our boat, for almost the full route. It impacts shorelines, marine life, waterways and tourism. Trinidad and Tobago even declared this abundance of sargassum a natural disaster! You can help to add to the data set. Report your observations at sea, in harbours or on the beach through photos, dates and location data to the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. Try some for dinner! Sargassum is edible (in soup or stews, or raw when dried), and a high nutrition-dense source of omegas. Learn more at gcrl.usm.edu/sargassum/.

Note: Check these citizen science projects out before you go sailing to find out more about the data collection methods. Even if you forget those details at the time, collect as much data as you can on the spot. Think of: latitude/longitude, date/time, wind speed, wind direction, sea and air temperature. Take a photo or video if possible, and add any descriptive observations you can make during a sighting.

Report plastic

What plastics do you see in the middle of the ocean? Report marine debris on the Marine Debris Tracker App or Clean Swell App. Learn more at marinedebris.engr.uga.edu. and OceanConservancy.org

Take water samples

You can help Adventure Scientists to study the sources, composition and distribution of microplastics pollution by taking samples of Atlantic ocean water. Learn more at AdventureScience.org.

Set up a measurement station

Team up with the SeaKeepers Society by becoming a Discovery Yacht and launching their Drifter or Argo Float instruments in the ocean! These devices collect temperature and salinity profiles up to 2000 metres deep. Learn more at SeaKeepers.org.

Report illegal fishing

Despite regulations, quotas, restricted and prohibited areas for fishing vessels, no enforcement eyes are out there. There is lots of illegal fishing going on, with ships simply turning off the (required to be on) AIS system. If you see a fishing vessel and you think it’s suspicious act! If for example, it meets up with another boat, or if it’s in a Marine Protected Area, you can track the navigational history of the vessel through Global Fishing Watch. Global Fishing Watch tracks and traces fishing boats based on their AIS. If it doesn’t seem right, report it. Sign up and learn more at GlobalFishingWatch.org.

Which other Citizen Science projects are you aware of we can contribute to as sailors?

“Our actions over the next ten years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years.” – Sylvia Earle

The above is an excerpt from the book Ocean Nomad: Catch a Sailboat Ride & Contribute to a Healthier Ocean. Learn more about sailing as a means of travel and contributing to the ocean in Ocean Nomad.



At the end, it’s purpose behind all it that make it worthwhile. Enjoy the journey. And come and say hi in the Ocean Nomads tribe : the global support network for impact driven ocean adventurers.

 

Tips on seasickness

Most people, including captains and professional crew, get seasick, some more severely than others. It’s quite normal, especially during the first few days of an ocean passage. Here are some tips on seasickness and considerations to minimize the risks and maximize the fun at sea.

What is Seasickness?

Seasickness happens when the body and brain fall out of synch, and the brain decides your system needs to be flushed out. In France, they say seasickness is triggered by the three F’s (faim, froid, fatigue)—hunger, cold, tiredness. Stay ahead of that! Hopefully, you prepared for seasickness.

How to prepare against seasickness?

  • Have seasickness medicine, ginger candy, biscuits and mineral electrolyte solution as part of your kit. Seasickness medicine comes in the form of pills, ear stickers, and relief bands.  Find out what works for you. Test seasickness medicine before to see how your body reacts.
  • The day before:
    • Eat super healthy and light.
    • Be well hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Don’t drink alcohol, coffee or black tea. That dehydrates.
  • A few hours before sailing out:
    • Take seasickness medication.
    • Have your clothes, head torch, sunscreen, water bottle, sickness bag, and all you need for watch and sleeping, ready to grab. You’ll be okay doing watch, and you’ll be fine lying on your back in bed with your eyes closed. It’s just the areas between bed and cockpit that are the challenging zones to navigate when you’re seasick.
  • Have some crackers ready to nibble on.

How to deal with seasickness, once at sea?

At all times: Stay hydrated!

The first days: Have easily digestible meals, with fruits and vegetables, during the first day or two at sea.

When you start to feel seasick (early symptoms: yawning, sweating, a little headache)

  • Stop thinking about it
  • Don’t go below deck.
  • If you feel like drinking or eating, have something before or at the beginning of your watch. If you eat or drink right before going into bed, throwing up is almost guaranteed
  • Add a mineral and vitamin-rich solution (like electrolyte sachets)
    to your water to make sure your body gets what it needs.
  • Eat cookies, ginger candy or bananas.
  • Take the helm.
  • Watch the horizon, if near land, watching the coastlines helps
    even more.

What to do when you are seasick

  • Be aware of the wind direction, and throw up on the leeward side. You will only forget this once. Be attached with a lifeline or have someone holding you. If that’s not an option, get a bucket.
  • Stay in the cockpit, lay in bed with your eyes closed, or take the helm.
  • Keep drinking small sips and eating small snacks to stay hydrated and energised.
  • Lick the sea salt from your skin! It’s full of minerals!
  • Stay involved. Though you most feel like it, going to bed and staying there forever is not the quickest solution.

What to do when your fellow crew is seasick

  • Help them get over it. Provide water, biscuits, and don’t leave them alone for too long.
  • Don’t let someone who feels seasick cook, wash dishes or clean the toilet. Time below deck should be minimised.
  • Don’t let them stay in bed for days. They may feel better, but it won’t help them get over it quickly either.
  • Don’t make fun of them too much.
  • Remember: it will pass.

I almost always become seasick my first day at sea and I still happily jump on board. It’s so worth it! I know how to deal with it and remain a competent crew. Personally I prefer seasickness over the side effects of seasickness medication. It makes me a more useful crew member.  Looking for more tips on seasickness and crewing? More on preparing for offshore sailing as crew in book Ocean Nomad.

Available in black and white on Bol.com, Kindle, and Amazon and as PDF and in colour via this website.

What tips and suggestions do you have on seasickness? Share them in the comments!


SuzanneHi! My name is Suzanne. I’m here to help you go on ocean adventures and make positive impact for a healthier ocean. Explore this website to learn what I do and how you can make some splashes too!

SuzanneHi! My name is Suzanne. I’m here to help you go on ocean adventures and make positive impact for a healthier ocean. Explore this website to learn what I do and how you can make some splashes too!

Salty Months

I just arrived in Europe from the Caribbean from my fourth Atlantic crossing. Salty, dirty, way too tanned, a little tired but happy and accomplished. 

Every day the last months has been a hell of an adventure. In the last 3 months, I’ve almost constantly been sailing. First on Zemi, a Carriacou sloop, the kind of boat I’m in love with and building. I criss-crossed the Caribbean on her, raced the Antigua Classics and West Indies Regatta, and helped to sail her down to Carriacou, Grenada, where she lives. And Alwyn, the master West Indies boat builder who’s making the model for ‘my’ sloop. About a 1000 miles added to the logbook with Zemi. Salty, simple, adventure style sailing.

 

Left: Alwyn Enoe Master Boat Builden. Right: Alexis Andrews – Producer of Vanishing Sail

The simple salty sailing life. Cooking a coconut lentil stew on the engine room of Zemi

About to set sail for the fourth Atlantic Crossing

Then, in Grenada, literally the same day I left Zemi, I hopped on a boat to sail to Europe. From Grenada, we sailed to Antigua to Bermuda to the Azores with final destination Falmouth in the UK. Another 4681 Nautical added to the log. As always, with sailing but especially with the last salty adventures, nothing went as planned. You just go with it. It is what it is. It’s called adventure.

Back on land

I’m feeling accomplished! And out of my comfort zone. I’m back on land. Now what? First of all, supergrateful to be alive and to have gained some more life profit in terms of memorable days. I love the sea life and it gives me superpowers. But a bit of land time is needed to catch up with sleep, family, friends, a shower, fix my camera, phone and computer, and to take oceanpreneurial things to the next level. It feels strange to be on land. It’s overwhelming. Land life is fast. The contrast is big. So many things to suddenly deal with. Here are a few remarkable situations that are usually normal but not when you have experienced the lack of it. I thought it would be interesting to share.

Sleep

Oh men. I’ve slept 10 hours in a row for two nights now. 3 hours on 6 hours off. That’s how we did our watch system on the crossing. Easy to get used to. And definitely doable. And you don’t have to think about it. For weeks that’s it. If you have 6 hours off. We went through some rough weather, ripped some sails, and made lots of sail changes with the inconsistent weather. There’s usually some situation to be solved in those 6 hours. Not always. But we had to be prepared. Now on land, as opposed to at sea, I’ve slept and woke up naturally. The bed was still. I could lay in the middle. I can sit up after waking up without falling over. And there was silence. No water sounds around me anymore. And the clothes I took off before going to bed were still hanging and did not fell on the floor.

   

Fixing, repairing and celebrating repairs. “Oranje boven” sails stronger than ever. No boring day at sea!

(Can’t show a photo of my bed on board – disaster scene;))

Movement

Everything stands still. No need to: sleep in one corner of the bed; To hold my tea cup; To hold myself when walking; To put tape on the cupboards so they don’t open and the knifes will fly around the room; to brace myself when opening a cupboard; to do the dishes on an angle, with salt and 3 drops of water; to do anything on an angle. It’s magic. Walking more than 10 meters is quite a sensational experience too. And running! With shoes. Sea life is one big workout. You constantly use your muscles to balance. But movements that makes you sweat like a run are rare. So great to go for a run and sweat again!

Nothing is straight at sea

Choices

The amount of choices I suddenly ‘have’ to make. We arrived, tidied up the boat. Then what? What do we do now? We went into Falmouth for some shopping and exploring guided by our local captain. The fact that there are people everywhere is already a new experience in itself. Very kind people in Falmouth btw.  We went to the pub. When in the UK you got to go to a pub. There are dozens of beers and ciders to choose from. The bartender asking many questions to determine which one I should pick. Sweet or sour? With bubble? From here or elsewhere? This price or that price? Decision fatigue instantly. Just give me a local whatever. Then we went out for dinner. Pages of options. Even for a vegan. The food choices we have these days are just insane. I went into a supermarket. Holy moly too many options imported from too many places. Nothing even talking about all the wrappers they put around it. Did you know that an average person makes about 2,800 choices in a day? A stroll through the supermarket and you’re already 100 decisions further. 

Choice overwhelm. Now what?

On the ocean, it’s just what it is and we just are. Imagine you cut a number of decisions you make from 1,000 down to ten per day—like, shall I drink tea or coffee, read this book or that one, wear yesterdays socks again or the ones of the day before yesterday, wear yesterdays underwear inside out or take a bucket and do a wash, on an angle…? Sit on the front deck or in the cockpit? That’s it really. A lot of extra energy we have for being, enjoying, living and thinking! Thinking because there’s no internet on the ocean. 

Deep Blue Thinking

The Internet

A few miles before arrival it starts. We have a signal. Very dangerous. That last mile has the largest amount of hazards, as well as magical scenery. One of the most exciting parts of the ocean nomad life is arriving in a new country under sail! and what are we doing? Looking at our phones! I didn’t want to connect yet. But my phone was off airplane mode and did it itself. It connected to the internet! It turned crazy. A zillion notifications, emails, messages. I can’t deal with it yet. The contrast is too big. And everything can wait. I still haven’t found a good way to deal with it all. Most of the messages I receive are supercool and it’s what I’m doing it all for! People expressing how much book Ocean Nomad helped them to make the sailing dream happen. Photos from family and friends. Applications for the sailing adventure in Sicily September. All really great stuff. But between it all, there is so much noise and distraction. You know, the internet. 

Instead, imagine looking up into the sky every night and seeing galaxies. It makes you feel small and on top of the world at the same time. It will make you rethink your place in the world. An ocean passage allows philosophising about life and your purpose in it. One of the main reasons I sailed the Atlantic again is to get fully disconnected. I have a monkey mind that does not stop thinking and creating ideas for positive change in the ocean. It’s easy to go off track if you don’t re-asses the situation now and then. Sailing the Atlantic is a major disconnection from society, long enough to rethink life and rewire yourself for the way forward. There is no WiFi. No media. No stress. No deadlines. No pressure. No external demands. Being offline means realising again what I value the most. It creates space in the mind. It makes me master the art of being present, which I believe is the most happiness generating skill to have. But it needs practice. On land, it takes willpower to resist the urge to connect. An ocean passage eliminates the temptation altogether. I hope I can keep the focus now back on land! I created a new rule. No social media before 13.00. Who joins me? The mornings are my mental superpower moments I want to use for creating, the few weeks per year I do have routine days;).

Focus

Focus is what I find on the ocean. Because I’m away from everything, long enough to disconnect from everything but nature and my shipmates. Most of us spend more time indoors than outdoors. It’s easy to forget the natural world we’re coming from and living in. On the ocean, you face the wind and water elements and find that connection to nature. Imagine a scene with no traffic, no news, no pollution, no civilisation. Just wind and water—plenty of that! A scene where you can gaze for hours to the millions of stars above you; enjoy the dozens of dolphins sliding through the water at the bow of the boat; admire the pink-orange-red sunrises and sunsets, without any airplane trails changing the fluffy and cauliflower-like cloud patterns. You’ll become very aware of the natural world around you. This inspires. And it’s eye-opening. You come to realise how disconnected from nature we are in our daily lives. In the middle of the Atlantic, far away from civilisation, I see plastic items floating by. Human-made things that don’t belong there. Witnessing that makes us think about the impact that we are making as people. And as individuals. On every ocean crossing but especially this fourth one, I have seen a ridiculous amount of plastic floating by. Mostly bits and pieces of broken down plastic… And jellyfish. Hundreds, if not thousands,  Portuguese Man of War. We’ve also had two storms. Pretty adventurous! The seasons are not as they used to be. I first hand see what impact we are making and what’s going on with the ocean. It motivates bigtime to act to turn the tide of the ocean challenges. After my first Atlantic Circle I started Oceanpreneur, now after the fourth it’s time to go big. It’s essential! The timeline is getting critially short.  Here are a few ideas on what you can do as (aspiring) sailor and ocean changemaker.

Almost every day we had dolphins at the bow

Common sighting. A half broken down plastic item. Wind, sun, and salt breaks plastic down. But it never dissapears.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” — MARCEL PROUST

Purpose

By being ‘out of the system’, away from depressive media headlines, advertisement on stuff we don’t need, social media feeds with ‘got talent’ videos and other people’s cool lives, noisy traffic, stinky air, is when we connect to our true self. It’s a break from the rollercoaster that’s about being busy, productive and convenient. It’s a reset. It’s time to just simply let your mind wander. When does that still happen? It’s a time to rediscover my values, to clear the head, enhance creativity and the most brilliant ideas come up! It’s experiences like seeing a bottle in the middle of nowhere that makes us pause and think. It’s a lot of thinking about life, and why I’m doing what I’m doing. With all the space created in the head, I feel accomplished and ready to take over the world! First project: the #PlasticFreeNomad campaign. Join in!

Arrived happy & salty crew Welcomed by Eleanor from SaltyJobs.Co

“The future is in the hands of those who explore . . . and from all the beauty they discover while crossing perpetually receding frontiers, they develop for nature and for humankind an infinite love.” — JACQUES YVES COUSTEAU

What really matters and what I miss on the long term adventures are family and friends. So the focus for now is spending time with them. I just surprised my parents. Dad called me and instead of picking up the phone I opened the door. That was cool. Another memorable day!

I’m taking a break from the adventures now. At least a week ;). It’s important to process the magic, the ideas, and to pave the path ahead. A bit of landlife is needed. I’m writing two more books, planning a crowdfunding for the blue Carriacou Sloop, and I’d like to put more blogs out to help you connect to the ocean, experience the magic and encourage and inform for ocean action.

got to go know. I’m going to visit some locals farmers with mum. Curious to see and smell what’s again in season in Holland at this time of year. The smells! That’s another thing that keeps amazing me. After weeks of only pure ocean air (! Did you know that most oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean?), the new gold!, I noticed every single fragrance x 10. The smell of summer, and the smell of traffic. Land life. Let’s see how long I’ll last before jumping on the next boat.

Xxx from the land

Suzanne

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul”

— Robert Wyland

Curious to read more? I wrote a book about the Atlantic Ocean adventures. A combination of stories and ‘How- to’ sail across the Atlantic as crew and make a difference too. 

Learn more about the book


Related products:
Book Ocean Nomad


Learn more:

SuzanneHi! My name is Suzanne. I’m here to help you go on ocean adventures and make positive impact for a healthier ocean. Explore this website to learn what I do and how you can make some splashes too!

Seven websites to find a boat to sail across the Atlantic – as crew, or to find crew!

Christopher Columbus needed to convince the Queen of Spain to sail across the Atlantic. Nowadays, we have the internet: one of the three methods to find a boat. Here are 7 sailing crew websites that help you get started to find a boat for an Atlantic Sailing Adventure!

1. OceanCrewLink

Ocean Crew Link works as an introduction service to potential crew and boats looking to do any offshore passage: a boat sailing between two places at a particular time. On average, 10 to 15 new ocean sailing opportunities are posted to the site each week. Around 100+ active sailing opportunities are up at one time, and almost 10,000 users receive the weekly mailing with new opportunities.
Investment: The subscription fee is US$10 for three months access.

2. Findacrew.net

The platform offers a wide selection of crew opportunities around the world. Right now (February 2018), you can find around 900 boats to jump on. Creating an extensive crew profile will allow you to search opportunities, express interest “waves” to boat owners and to receive messages from premium users. Also, as a premium user you can of everything said above plus directly message crew candidates and boat owners. Find a Crew has a full-time support team, providing service, and monitoring any dodgy activity. All profiles and profile updates are manually approved.
Investment: You can upgrade to premium membership at any time for a period of 30, 60, 90 or 365 days. 30-day premium membership costs €49 /month and 365 premium costs €277/year.

3. Crewbay

Crewbay is an online crewing platform designed to connect newbie, amateur, and professional yacht crew with captains and boat owners from all over the world, and vice versa. The platform has more than 150 boats registered every month. Crewbay just redesigned their website. You can still access for free, yet it provides extras for paid members.
Investment: Premium (£7/month) enables unlimited check-ins which put you top, allows unlimited messages, contact numbers, and URLs (FB page, website, etc.), a more prominent advert with more content, unlimited photos and more!

4. SailOPO

Sail OPO (Sail Offshore Passage Opportunities) is a crew network that seeks, gathers, and creates quality offshore passage opportunities for its members. Details of passage opportunities will be e-mailed to potential crew candidates as they come up, and OPO staff approves them. SailOPO is predominantly USA based, and also occasionally organizes rallies, for example from USA mainland to Bermuda. Investment: US$199 for an initial yearly membership while renewal comes at a discounted rate of US$135.

5. Crewseekers

Crewseekers is a global introductory service bringing captains and crew together. Both amateur and professional sailing opportunities from all around the world are available on the platform. The website includes crew positions with private boats, delivery companies, sail training organizations, charter companies, sailing charities, and races. You must become a member to be able to contact captains.
Investment: Become a member for six months (£75), 12 months (£99), or 18 months (£135).

6. 7Knots

A basic website where you can see opportunities without registration. Once registered you can access contact details. There is a ‘crewlist’ and ‘crew wanted’ section where you can read advertisements and reach out. You can search ‘Atlantic’ and see all ads posted that included the Atlantic. It takes a minute to register. Once done, you can freely contact captains.

7. Yotspot

Yotspot is a large yachting hub that mostly focuses on paid sailing opportunities. Captains, as well as Crew agencies, are allowed to post to the website. With a database of over 6,000 courses, Yotspot also serves as an information portal on training and certifications in sailing.
Investment: As a crew, you can create a free account and contact opportunities of interest. It is quite a time investment to build a completed profile.

What else to bear mind?

I have squished the basic info of these seven crew websites to get you started. There is no ‘best’ crew website. Each one has their unique edge and differs in other aspects. Choose your favourite(s) and sign up! Find a complete list (including crew websites in other languages and countries, facebook groups and other forums), the full sailing crew website reviews, comparison, and explanation of the above websites, and more tips, tricks, words of caution, and places online and offline to find a boat to sail across the Atlantic in book Ocean Nomad: the Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide.

Above all, be aware that finding a boat is one thing but finding the RIGHT boat requires careful research, investigation and preparation and is what makes all the difference for a happy, safe and meaningful sailboat ride across the Atlantic. Super Important! ALWAYS do your research to assess if the boat, captain, and crew are safe, reliable and a happy match. I created a mega extensive Safety & Happiness checklist that can help you figure this out in Ocean Nomad. Don’t let your eagerness to set sail overrule your investigative spirit, gut feeling and judgment.

Make it happen!

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Ahoy salty sailors and adventure travellers!
Helpful post? Pin it and save for later!sailing across the Atlantic


As always, opinions are my own. No crew websites sponsors me to write any of the above. This blog is based on my own findings and research.

SuzanneHi! My name is Suzanne. I’m here to help you go on ocean adventures and make positive impact for a healthier ocean. Explore this website to learn what I do and how you can make some splashes too!

How to fish when sailing? Fishing can be an exciting part of a long sailing passage, like the Atlantic crossing – but catching is a different story! On my four Atlantic crossings (combined), we caught a total of three fish that made it up to the dinner plate. In the process, we lost about ten lures and eight fishing lines that are all still floating around, ‘ghost fishing’ somewhere in the ocean. Only Neptune knows if a dolphin or sea turtle may have gotten injured, entangled or killed by it. Or maybe the lines got stuck in a boat propeller. Every bit of fishing gear lost will continue to damage in the ocean. It will never disappear.

Many sailors like to fish. It’s a better way to source your fish than buying them in cans, where we often don’t know how and when it’s been caught and mixed. But, do you really need to catch fish? How to fish when sailing? Here are a few things to consider.

Do you really need to catch fish?

The saying goes: “there’s plenty more fish in the sea.” Well, this saying is outdated! There’s actually not much left. Not so long ago, we thought that the ocean could replenish whatever we take from it. After all, the oceans are huge! Now we know that that is not the case. For fishing to be sustainable, we need to allow enough time for new ones to be born so the population can be maintained. The reverse is happening. We have taken more than the ocean ‘produces’, and we’re taking fish faster than they can reproduce. It’s called overfishing.

Overfishing has wiped out 90% of the ocean’s large top-predators, like sharks, tunas, cod, and groupers. And we need the big fish in the ocean because they eat the weaker ones. They prevent the ‘jenga’ from collapsing. The big fish that are still out there weigh 50% or less than they did 50 years ago. The average weight of a swordfish caught today is 45 Kilos. In the 60’s this was 130 kilos (1). Of all fish species, 52% is fully exploited, 17% is overexploited, and 7% is depleted. Common seafood choices such as tuna, shrimp, and salmon are among the worst affected (2). I don’t want to withhold the good news from you: a whopping 1% of species are recovering from depletion!

Besides impact plastic has on our ocean, wildlife and environment, plastic is a concern to human health. Plastic isn’t just around us, it’s in us! Through food we eat, water we drink, products we use, things we touch, and the air we breathe. Plastic is found in a third of UK-caught fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish (3). Shellfish lovers could be eating up to 11,000 plastic fragments in their seafood each year (4).

Me taking water samples during my hitch-sailing trip around the Atlantic. The samples I took seemed like bright, clean ocean water. No plastic to be seen! Adventurers and conservation scientists then tested them for microplastic pieces. They all contained plastic, except for one! The rest of the samples, I took in different locations in the Atlantic Ocean, had more than 11 micro pieces per litre. One of the samples taken between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde had 47 micro pieces! Of all the samples collected during the ARC across the Atlantic, 97.5% of the samples contained microplastic!>

how to fish when sailing

It’s not a question anymore if we are eating plastic from seafood, the question is what it does to the health of animals, the ocean, and us. Plastic in the ocean contains high levels of pollutants such as PCB, Phthalates, organic pesticides like BPA, and heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead. These are proven poisons linked to all sorts of diseases, including cancer, hormone disruption, and infertility issues (5).

The problem is not just the fish we’re taking; the problem is also how we’re taking it. So if you must catch fish, here are a few suggestions on how to fish when sailing to bear in mind to make it a little less harmful.

How (& how not) to fish when sailing

  • Fish with the right gear or not at all! Choose the right hook and line thickness. Ocean fish are big guys. A thin line will not hold and will end up at sea as a ghost fishing.
  • Do your research to find out if your catch is a threatened species or not – then either release or eat.
  • Only catch and kill what you can eat.
    • Catch something you can’t eat? Throw it back within seconds, not minutes.
    • Is it too big to eat? Throw it back!
  • Kill the fish right away once you caught it. A handy trick is to spray alcohol in the gills. If you don’t, the fish will suffer tremendously, and all that stress will affect the quality of the flesh. It’s not healthy for the fish, or for you!
  • If you fish near the islands:
    • Check the local situation and rules for species, size, and sustainability.
    • Spearfishing is prohibited almost everywhere in the Caribbean (except for often lionfish, which are an invasive species and need to be reduced for the ecosystem to be in balance).
    • Be aware that many fish in the Caribbean are poisonous.
  • Wherever you are, take it easy on the bigger guys. We need them in the ocean! They eat the weak and sick ones to keep the system in balance. Few are left because it takes so long for them to mature. The higher up in the food chain, the older the animal, the more contaminants have been built up. Tuna, swordfish, shark, cod or sea bass all have dangerous levels of mercury and PCB accumulated in their bodies.
  • By eating some species, you can even help the ecosystem, such as lionfish in the Caribbean. While they were a rare sight just ten years ago, the population is now out of control.

‘Fish’ for seaweed

We have a lot of food to choose from these days with healthier alternatives that still provide the same benefit without killing life. An exciting option I have found is consuming sea algae like kelp, nori, spirulina, dulse, and Sargassum. Hundreds of edible sorts of sea vegetables are known. Seaweeds are real super foods that mostly need sun and current to thrive. These vegetables of the sea are where fish get their omegas from in the first place. It’s a healthier food choice for you and the ocean. And they just float by your boat!

Learn more about the state of the ocean and what we can do to contribute to a healthier ocean in book Ocean Nomad.

 



Ocean Nomad is OUT NOW!

Fiesta time in Lanzarote last week! The launch of book Ocean Nomad: The Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide – Catch a Ride & Contribute to a Healthier Ocean ! A celebration of a milestone I have been working towards for two and a half years. Back then I thought to ‘just’ write down a few tips into a 20-page PDF. Along the way, I figured to really make an impact for the good, and deliver something of true value, I better do it well or not at all. Now, book Ocean Nomad, is a fact, as an e-book but also print! Ocean Nomad is a 400-page guidebook for sailing across the Atlantic as crew, from dream state to execution state in a safe, happy and meaningful matter. With the book, I aim to connect people to the ocean. When people experience the ocean, they’ll be more triggered to care for it too. The very first print edition of Ocean Nomad has been brought into the world last week in Lanzarote.

Launching on a boat

This milestone was something to celebrate. Of course, on a boat! Easy to choose which boat. I teamed up with Marjo & Edwin of Grace for Ocean Conservation. There’s simply no better venue than the almost 100-year-old wooden sailboat, a perfect example that naturally made crafts last, sustainable in style. I invited my parents, friends and other adventurous souls to join the festivities! Super fantastic to finally be able to share the result of the work. We made it one weekend full of FUN!

Book Launch festivities

On Thursday the VIPs (&first print books!) arrived and we started off with a homemade dinner made by Marjo and a big cheers! I handed out the first copy to Mum & Dad, and to Marjo & Edwin, my ocean parents.
Friday morning was show time! Lanzarote Mix radio set up a studio on the boat and for two hours we were live on air. In the afternoon some press stopped by and we decorated Grace and the pontoon to get the party started! Mum had made party flags. Dad helped to create re-usable bamboo straws. Local artisanal beer crafter NOA provided the beers (If you’re in Lanzarote, you must try this healthy yummy local produce at their brewery). VIPs and supersupporters Karlijn, Roline & Lonneke created the tune list and happy vibes. A great mix of family, friends, (aspiring) sailors, boat hitchhikers, local curious and change-makers made the party! The setting allowed for many beautiful ocean connections have been made. Mission accomplished!
Saturday was sailing ‘o clock! It was a long-awaited dream to finally take my parents and friends out sailing and to share a taste of the lifestyle I’ve been living the last years. We sailed down to Puerto Calero. Here we held a movie screening of Vanishing Sail, a movie about the wooden boat craft that still takes place on the beach in the Caribbean. But for how much longer? After living between the boat builders for two months earlier this year, and sailing one of these beautiful Carriacou Sloops across the Caribbean, I’m determined to do what I can to revive this art. The screening triggered some more souls determined to not let this art of wooden boat building die. I’m looking to organize more screenings. Let me know if you have a group, yacht club or community interested!
Together with the big book, I also launched the ‘Ocean Love & Conservation’ part of the book as a seperate Bonus edition on Kindle for a bargain. This bonus part is about Making the Ocean famous again and what we can do as crew to make a difference for a healthier ocean. We have no time to loose when it comes to saving our ocean. The more people learn about what’s happening to the ocean and what actions can be taken, the better.

An ocean of gratitude

Thanks everyone for making this weekend a mega memorable celebration of life, for life!  Super thanks to Mum, Dad, Roline, Karlijn Lonneke, Edwin & Marjo for being present and sharing the unconditional Ocean Nomad love! A special thanks to my early Indiegogo supporters. And thank YOU for buying the book which will help support the next creation.

A special thanks to partners and sponsors

Thank you Marjo, Edwin & Grace for Ocean Conservation for facilitating and being present! Thank you Puerto Calero for the support. Thanks Justin & Alexis of Vanishing Sail to help to make the screening happen. Thank you Lanzarote Mix for having me on your radio show! Gazette Life for the interview (out mid November). Lava Charter for your enthusiastic presence, support and putting up Ocean Nomad in your nautical shop. Thanks Wayne of Greening the Caribbean for helping create awareness about the book and The Bamboo Brush Society for supporting sustainable tooth brushing.

The Ocean Nomad book tour continues

I did another book presentation in Rubicon Marina. Together with Grace for Ocean Conservation we set up a stand at the Rubicon marina mercadillo.  Now I’m in Las Palmas helping the (aspiring) sailors on a safe, happy, and meaningful ride across. Every Thursday this November at 18.00 I’ll be presente in the Sailors Bay to talk about the book and answer questions. More book presentations and events I’ll mention on https://www.theoceanpreneur.com/books

It’s just the beginning

I’m superhappy with the success so far! The first colour edition is almost sold out. Book Ocean Nomad 2, the Caribbean edition, is in far stages. I’m creating an Ocean Nomad book series, and an Ocean Nomad community of like-minded Ocean Adventurers and change-makers. The first Ocean Nomad Reviews give me happy tears.
Publishing a book has been as adventurous as sailing across the Atlantic. I’ll write more about the book publishing process soon on this blog (Ps. I’m recruiting. I need more hands on deck)
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen: the book launch and the book! An ocean of gratitude to all!

THANK YOU!

               
        

Available here

Ocean Nomad is available for direct download here, as Kindle here, and as Print on Demand (black & white) on Amazon and Bol. I have a few first edition colour copies left which are available at Lava Charter (Lanzarote), in the Sailors Bar in Las Palmas, and in my duffel bag ;). Grab one of the last very first prints here. Christmas colour pre-order will open soon. Simply curious? Download a free sample.
Press contact: ahoy @ oceannomad.co

Hop on board. Here are the Photos!

Photocredits: Edwin Butter, Jose van der Veeken & party crew.

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