Join exceptional sailing expeditions to help marine exploration, conservation & education

Pangaea Exploration offers expedition sailing to enable regular people to join a front line team at sea to observe, document, learn and communicate about marine exploration and conservation.

On the expedition vessel, Sea Dragon, professional leaders work alongside visiting crew as one team, providing valuable manpower, skills and financial support for the broader mission.

Pangaea Exploration share a strong belief with marine conservation leader J.Y. Cousteau,

"Il faut aller voir"

- We must go and see for ourselves


Be an Earth Changer:

Join an Expedition

Trips include formal scientific and conservation expeditions as well as sailing voyages and occasional private charter. Many crew successfully fundraise the amount required to join an expedition, through friends and family or gaining local company sponsorship. Your contribution covers your board and also supports vital ongoing efforts in world marine conservation research.

More trip dates & details below.

The Places

Join exceptional sailing expeditions for typically 7-21 days’ duration.

Sea Dragon is a 72ft (22m), 90,000lb displacement steel hulled sailing vessel built in the UK in 2000. Formerly known as CB 37, she is one of 11 second generation yachts built for the Global Challenge Race, designed to safely handle the world’s worst sailing conditions, and set up for volunteer crew with limited sailing experience.

Accommodation for up to 12 guest passengers is a combination of sea berths and double bunks. There are two heads (toilets) with showers, a large well stocked galley, and a comfortable salon with seating for 14 people.

Air conditioning makes life down below very pleasant in the tropics, while a drying room sorts out any wet clothes. A refrigerator and freezer keep the crew in fresh food for the duration of the voyage. The vessel is equipped with twin iridium satellite phones, HF radio, and all the modern navigation equipment to keep you safe and connected despite being well offshore. There is extensive on board medical capability and remote expert support through Medical Support Offshore. The boat is equipped for coastal exploration with two Avon inflatable boats and a scuba compressor with diving equipment.

The boat is designed to support a full crew for months, can transit any of the world’s oceans and can travel to and operate in remote unsupported locations.

As a research vessel, there is lab space, dissecting microscope, surface net trawling capability, and working deck space. With extensive sails, on-board fresh-water making, extended fuel reserves and almost 1kw of wind/solar power long-range unsupported journeys are substantially lower cost than traditionally shared research voyages on large motor vessels and ships. Further boat spec.

Work has included remote island surveys of conservation issues, diving and underwater video, offshore plastics sampling and collection, water quality monitoring and student educational trips.

Pangaea Explorations works in partnership with several international organizations in marine exploration, research, training and conservation to improve the world’s water quality, wetlands, ecology, health, sustainable consumption, production and plastic pollution.

Pangaea Explorations seeks out areas with higher than normal garbage loads, and counts on beaches and transects - trawls the sea with a fine net – to analyse volume and categorise the plastic contents.

Plastic debris from our modern society accumulate on beaches and in great concentrations in the seas’ “gyres” - the centres of oceanic currents. The Sargasso Sea in the north Atlantic is the best known gyre, with a legendary ability to trap ships.

Sea Dragon is working long-term with organisation ‘5-Gyres’ and their partners to document the amount of floating debris in our world’s oceans.

The People

Pangaea Explorations was founded by Emily Penn and Dr. Ron Ritter.

Two British RYA Yachtmaster certified crew lead the boat and create a strong learning environment.

Guests can see first-hand how high seas research, coastal conservation, education, marine filming and other work is done, build skills, and live a genuine adventure.  

Attitude, team skills and commitment are the important pre-requisites. As a member of the crew, you are expected to join in all aspects of sailing and life aboard. You will be hands-on sail rigging, navigation, watches, route planning, weather analysis, radio communications, maintenance and all the basic duties of running an ocean sailing vessel. Prior sailing experience is helpful, but not required.

For existing projects, Pangaea Explorations can provide a tailored cost-effective support solution to teams of up to 12 on extended journeys and a wide range of objectives, either exclusively, or opened up to paying visitor crew providing valuable support and finances for the work.

Pangaea Explorations at The Polymeric Islands

Pangaea Explorations FAQ

The Purpose

Pangaea Explorations has a 2-part mission:

  1. To actively strengthen the health of marine life through exploration, conservation and education work.
  2. To inspire and develop a new generation of leaders in conservation science, communication, education, art and policy leadership.

Pangaea Explorations works on projects across many areas of marine conservation to protect the fundamental health of the world’s oceans which make up the biodiversity of 75% of the planet’s surface and ecosystem services.

Our increasing world population and rise in living standards is pushing species to the brink of collapse. As the world’s production and consumption increase, so does chemical and debris pollution, plastics in particular, interrupting foraging and breeding, and destroying habitats.

“The trash we throw in our neighbourhood gutter can devastate rare wildlife half a world away”

Where the local appearance of issues may vary, underlying threats are common worldwide:

  • Chemical pollution and debris, from toxics to the famous ‘garbage gyres’ of the open sea.
  • Water temperature changes and acidification due to increased atmospheric CO2 disrupting life-cycles in key marine species like corals.
  • Sea level rise inundating and changing coastal habitat (and land based pollution/ debris).
  • Over exploitation and destructive harvesting techniques, depressing natural populations.
  • Increasing separation between our daily lives and the health of marine ecosystems.

People eat fish which eat smaller fish which, along with other plants and animals at the bottom of the food chain, absorb toxic chemicals trickled into the environment from sources such as factories, farms, homes, cars and plastics from every country: Fish studies are thus relevant to environmental and human diet and consequences, including birth defects and toxicity in adults world over.

Marine plastics threaten the existence of birds and wildlife, which are caught up by or killed by consumption. The scale of the problem is huge – one estimate is more than 70 million pounds of plastic are spread throughout the world’s gyres, with a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die each year from getting tangled up in, and/or eating plastic.

As Co2 in the planet’s atmosphere grows and is absorbed by the oceans, ocean acidification increases, damaging marine ecosystems and threatening species and food chains with likely extinctions.

Awards & Accreditations

2010 Practical Boat Owner Green Award - Winner

Co-founder Emily Penn was the youngest and only female recipient of Yachtmaster of the Year

We have powerful options for rejuvenation and restoration: Real choices in our daily lifestyles and consumer behaviour can employ technology, tools and techniques to drastically reduce energy, materials, chemicals and choose to improve ocean policies, governance, enforcement and resource management. The fundamental challenge is our collective will to act. People around the world remain remarkably, tragically, un-informed and un-engaged, and most people have little direct contact with the ocean.



If you represent a group and would like to create a private trip, get in touch for a bespoke expedition designed with you!

03 Nov - 11 Nov, 2017     Northwestern Africa Sail Lanzarote - Agadir - Las Palmas - 9 days, 8 nights | $1850/£1450
The adventure begins in Lanzarote and journeys over 200nm upwind to Morocco. With consistent weather usually in the mid 20°c and sunshine every day, this is sailing heaven when combined with the perfect sailing winds of Force 3-4 from a prevailing northeast trade wind. A great training ground to test your mettle and fine-tune your helming techniques, you will also take part in night watches and, if you wish, practice celestial navigation as you sail under African stars. On arrival in Morocco, explore the souks and streets of Agadir, on Morocco’s southern Atlantic coast, and enjoy the wide crescent beach, seaside promenade lined with cafes and bars, and visit the remains of Agadir’s hilltop Kasbah. Then blast back downwind to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the capital of Gran Canaria, known for its sandy beaches, coral barriers, carnivals, music, and dancing. With great duty-free shopping on offer at the end of this trip, it’s the perfect adventure!

15 Nov – 8 Dec, 2017    Atlantic Odyssey     Tenerife to Barbados - 24 days, 23 nights - $3900/£3000
Join the crew of Sea Dragon to sail in the Atlantic Odyssey rally: A return to the original non-competitive aspects of 'the ARC': A smaller group of boats means a much more intimate social atmosphere develops around the rally and you can feel a personal connection with the other sailors before and after the crossing. Enjoy the festivities, go out for some practice, meet the other crews before departing, then set sail across the Atlantic for a once in a lifetime ocean crossing opportunity. In Barbados, you’ll be able to explore this spectacular island as well as participate in the excitement and parties of all the other rally boats arriving.

16 Dec - 22 Dec, 2017    Grenadines and Turtles St. Lucia to Grenada - 7 days, 6 nights - $1750/£1390
A leisurely cruise down the windward islands from St. Lucia to Grenada. There’s no overnight sailing, only beautiful fast daysails in the trade winds past jungle covered mountains and spectacular reefs. Visit Bequia, a top contender for almost everyone’s favorite Caribbean island, then on to the Tobago Cays, a little slice of paradise – beautiful crystal clear waters, a thousand shades of blue, and herds of friendly sea turtles more than happy to share the water with you. Head back to “civilization,” stopping for the afternoon in Union Island, home to about 3,000 residents and Jenny’s famous hot sauce, home-made and ripping hot. Carriacou is next, the wooden boat building capital of the Caribbean before sailing into Prickly Bay Grenada, where people are nice and so is the spice!

Feb 1 – 7 2018    Women High on Adventure | Private Trip 7 days, 6 nights $3900
Adventurous women join us in the Caribbean for a huge dose of vitamin SEA, partnering with eXXpedition aboard Sea Dragon doing what they do best: Making the unseen seen, through a unique educational program exploring the issue of plastics, chemicals, endocrine disruptors and carcinogens in our personal and global environment that can cause disease.  Together, embark on this specially catered sailing adventure on that will take us from Grenada through the Caribbean Sea to the Grenadines to explore uninhabited islands, enjoy some r&r, all while sampling and learning about the global environmental challenge of plastic pollution.

If you represent a group and would like to do a private trip like this, get in touch for a bespoke expedition designed with you!

Feb 9 – 17 2018    Gone with the Wind | Grenada to Panama 11 days,10 nights | $2190/£1620+ Panama Canal optional extra inclusive price $2532/£1880.
Join the crew of Sea Dragon for a ripping fast downwind sail to Panama with days and nights of fast Tradewind surfing before arriving at the Atlantic terminus of the Panama Canal, Colon. You’ll learn basics of sail trim, safe downwind sail handling in strong wind, and helming techniques in waves, as well as basics of navigation and seamanship.
This trip can count as a qualifying RYA Ocean Yachtmaster passage – contact to discuss!
+ If you’re interested, stay aboard and transit the Panama Canal, one of the wonders of the modern world!

Feb 17 – 24 2018    Panamaniacs | Canal Transit 8 days/7 nights | $975/£720 - or tag this option onto the previous or following trip for greater value!
Have you ever wanted to go through the Panama Canal? Ascend 85 feet through the Gatun locks to Gatun Lake, a freshwater marvel where you can hear the monkeys calling from the trees all night. Sail through the deadly Culebra Cut, across the continental divide, then back down 85 feet to the Pacific Ocean through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores locks. The actual transit of the canal takes less than a day, but due to the vagaries of traffic scheduling, a full week is allotted to get through. There will be plenty of time to explore Panama using Sea Dragon as a base from the Atlantic or Pacific sides before or after transit.

Feb 25 – Mar 15 2018    Almost Spring | Panama to Cabo San Lucas 19 days, 18 nights | $3200/£2580 - + Panama Canal optional extra inclusive price $2532/£1880.
Depart Panama up the west coast of South America, crossing the dreaded Gulf of Tehuantepec before arriving in Cabo San Lucas. Sea Dragin is en route to Hawaii for a rendezvous with science, so will be moving fast! The crew will get a chance to gain some serious ocean miles in the Pacific, and up a coastline that is rich in fish and birds – maybe you’ll even get to catch a tuna! This trip can count as a qualifying RYA Ocean Yachtmaster passage – contact to discuss!
+ If you’re interested in going through the Panama Canal, join in Colon for the transit then continue on to Cabo.

Mar 18 – Apr 6 2018    Luau Express | Cabo to Hawaii 20 days, 19 nights | $3450/£1556
Join Sea Dragon’s expert team for a beautiful trans-pacific trip – sailing under the stars, surfing down waves, and warm, friendly waters sailing to Hawaii.
Fast, fun adventure sailing, whether you are a first-timer wanting to see what it’s all about, or a seasoned pro wanting to feel some adrenalin… an excellent opportunity to practice sailing skills, on this incredible leg from Mexico to Hawaii, learn or hone celestial navigation, build your sea miles, experience an ocean crossing, and enjoy the best sailing has to offer. This trip can count as a qualifying RYA Ocean Yachtmaster passage – contact to discuss!

Apr 20 – 30 2018    Gathering Place | Oahu to Kiritimati 10 days, 9 nights | $2560/£1897
Join the last leg before coral research in the Central Pacific. This should be a fast, fun, reach across the trade winds to the remote islands of Kiribati – there’s only one flight a week out of Kiritimati so you have to get there before the flight leaves! Whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned pro wanting to get that Pacific notch on your belt and feel some adrenalin… this is the leg for you! An excellent opportunity to build your sea miles, experience an ocean crossing, practice celestial navigation and enjoy the best of all sailing has to offer at the start of an awesome exploration of the remote central Pacific nation of Kiribati. This trip can count as a qualifying RYA Ocean Yachtmaster passage – contact to discuss!

May 1 – May 30 2018    WHOI | Phoenix Island Full

May 30 – Jun 9 2018    Reverse Place| iritimati to Oahu 10 days, 9 nights | $2560/£1897
Classic Pacific Tradewinds Sailing: Join the return from the central Pacific. This should be a fast, fun, reach across the trade winds back to Hawaii! En route you can hone your passage making skills, practice your celestial navigation or learn the basics in a warm, welcoming environment. If you’ve always wanted to go to Kiribati, schedule a visit then sail back to the US with this trip, culiminating in awesome of Hawaii! This trip can count as a qualifying RYA Ocean Yachtmaster passage – contact to discuss.

Jun 15 – July 5 2018    North Pacific Gyre | Oahu to Vancouver 21 days, 20 nights | POA
Join for a voyage through the heart of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. You’ve heard about it on TV, read about it in books, now see it in person! Sail north out of Hawaii and then cross the center of the high, taking trawl samples and making marine debris observations before sailing down the fabled Straits of Juan de Fuca and arriving inVancouver, B.C. It is an excellent opportunity to ‘come see for yourself’ the issues facing our oceans, whether you are a citizen scientist, interested in ocean plastic pollution, a first-time sailor wanting to see what life aboard a liveaboard research vessel is like, or a seasoned pro wanting to get that Pacific notch on your belt… this is the leg for you! This trip can count as a qualifying RYA Ocean Yachtmaster passage – contact us to discuss.

July 16 – July 20 2018    Between Two Countries| Vancouver to Seattle 5 days, 4 nights | POA
Out through beautifully forested bays, explore the beautiful islands of Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest – home to Orcas and rowdy Canadians! - into the open Pacific, passing down the coast to enter Seattle. For anyone not able to make it for our longer, remote ocean voyages, this trip is an excellent opportunity to experience life on board first hand. Like crews before, you will see and feel the life at sea, have an opportunity to marvel at the magnificent marine mammals that frequent this coastline: Harbour seals will be ‘pupping’ along the straits of Juan de Fuca and the southern Puget Sound and the whale migration will be firmly underway. Many varieties of whales pass through these northern waterways, including humpback whales, orcas, gray whales and minke whales. There is every chance you will encounter and collect locational data on these amazing creatures, in partnership with a pilot project collecting long-term, useful cetacean migration data.

Jul 23 – 27 2018    Tale of Two Cities | Seattle to Vancouver 5 days, 4 nights | POA
This five-day fast dash sail between the two cities of Seattle and Vancouver will explore the Orcas of Puget Sounds, travel past the San Juan Islands and Bellingham, with their remarkable ecosystem and its wildlife. Transient orcas are sometimes spotted hunting the harbor seals and porpoises that make up their preferred prey. Orca, Minke, Grey and humpback whales may be seen. Partake in documenting our sightings of these magnificent creatures, so we might share our findings with a pilot project collecting long-term, useful cetacean migration data.

For anyone not able to make it for our longer, remote ocean voyages, this trip is an excellent opportunity to experience life on board first hand. Like crews before, you will see and feel the life at sea, have an opportunity to marvel at the magnificent marine mammals that frequent this coastline: Harbour seals will be ‘pupping’ along the straits of Juan de Fuca and the southern Puget Sound and the whale migration will be firmly underway.

August 1 – 15 2018   Maple Gate | Canada to San Francisco 14 days, 13 nights | $2560/£1897
Sea Dragon has been working hard for the last 18 months sailing over 40,000 miles across 2 oceans, The Atlantic and The Pacific and 3 Seas, Caribbean, Sargasso and Irish supporting important marine conservation work. She and her crew will have completed scientific surveys of all these waters – in areas that concentrate marine debris into “garbage patches” and the effect that this build up of waste in our waters has on our ecosystem. Additionally, she will have just finished aiding in the research and survey of community and natural habitat impacts in the Pacific’s, Phoenix Islands.

This 14-day sail from Vancouver to San Francisco, departing after several public events, out through beautifully forested bays and into the open Pacific. From there, you will experience Sea Dragon in her true element – sailing on the high seas, trawling for microplastics and sampling waters. Having Passed down the coast for what should be an excellent sail, Sea Dragon will enter San Francisco under the Golden Gate.

Aug 24 – Sept 12 2018 West Coast Tour | San Francisco to San Diego 20 days, 19 nights | POA
This West Coast Tour will be promoting adventure sailing & science expeditions for all, demonstrating how expeditions can be tailor-made for Research Institutions, Corporate clientele, Colleges and Universities, Social groups and Charities and highlighting how easy it is as an individual to get involved in expeditions, as guest crew. A unique opportunity to learn, find out how to go sailing, cross an ocean, and be a part of something bigger. Contact if you’re interested in participating!

Sept 14 – Sept 16 2018    Vamonos| San Diego to Ensenada 3 days, 2 nights | $800/£595
Want a taste of offshore sailing in an easy to digest package? Join this weekend dash down to Ensenada from San Diego. You’ll get to sail overnight, stand watch, and look out for whales and Sharks, all within easy sight of the coast. A great intro to ocean sailing.