Join exceptional sailing expeditions to help marine exploration, conservation & education
Regular people can join a crew at sea to observe, document, learn and communicate about marine exploration and conservation on these expedition sailing trips.
All trips stem from an ethos of conservation and education, whether adventure sailing, citizen science-based, or hard science with institutions. On Sea Dragon, the expedition vessel, professional leaders work alongside visiting crew as one team, providing valuable manpower, skills and financial support for the broader mission.
While not all legs now collect data, the conversation, lifestyle aboard and way of tourism is never separate from the broad term of marine conservation.
Pangaea Exploration shares 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 adventure 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.
Join exceptional sailing and ocean conservation expeditions for typically 7-21 days.
Adventure, learn and build skills hands-on in marine exploration & conservation.
Accommodation for up to 10 guest passengers in single berths.
Fully equipped for exploration, research, telecommunication and medical needs.
Prior sailing experience helpful, but not required to support expert crew.
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.
Sea Dragon, formerly known as CB 37, is a 72ft/22m, 90,000lb displacement steel hulled sailing vessel built in the UK in 2000. She is 1 of 12 second generation yachts built for the Global Challenge Race. Designed to safely handle the world’s worst sailing conditions, Sea Dragon is set up for volunteer crew with limited sailing experience.
Accommodation for up to 10 guest passengers in single berths. 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, along with on-board fresh water making.
Exploration: The boat is equipped for coastal exploration with two Avon inflatable boats and a scuba compressor with diving equipment.
Research vessel: Lab space, dissecting microscope, surface net trawling capability, and working deck space.
Power: With extensive sails, 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.
Communications: 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.
Medical: There is extensive on board medical capability and remote expert support through Medical Support Offshore.
See first-hand how high seas research, coastal conservation, education, marine filming and other work is done.
Work conducted on board has included water sampling, remote island surveys of conservation issues, diving and underwater video, offshore plastics sampling and collection, water quality monitoring and student educational trips.
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.
Pangaea Exploration seeks out areas with higher than normal garbage loads and counts on beaches and transects - trawling the sea with a fine net – to analyse volume and categorise the plastic contents.
Partnerships: Pangaea Exploration works with several international organizations such as eXXpedition, 5 Gyres Institute and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as well as universities and research centres, in marine exploration, research, training and conservation to improve the world’s oceans’ water quality, health, marine life and access. They aim to inspire and develop a new generation of leaders in conservation science, communication, education, art and policy leadership, as well as provide informative and enjoyable ocean sailing expeditions to guest crew.
Plastic: 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: 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.
Two British RYA Yachtmaster certified crew lead the boat
Strong learning environment.
Attitude, team skills and commitment are important pre-requisites.
As a member of the crew, you join in all aspects of sailing and life aboard.
The experienced crew has covered over 185,000 nautical miles for over 10 years building an excellent reputation for safe, effective & efficient sailing voyages.
Sea Dragon and her crew have sailed tens of thousands miles across 2 oceans; the Atlantic and the Pacific; and 3 seas; the Caribbean, Sargasso and Irish, supporting important marine conservation work. They have completed scientific surveys of all these waters and the effect that this build up of waste in our waters has on our ecosystem.
For existing projects, a tailored cost-effective support solution for teams of up to 12 on extended journeys can be developed, either exclusively, or opened to paying visitor crew providing valuable support and finances for the work.
There is a three-part mission:
To actively strengthen the health of marine life through Exploration, Conservation and Education work.
To inspire and develop a new generation of leaders in conservation science, communication, education, art and policy leadership.
To provide informative and enjoyable Ocean sailing expeditions to guest crew.
+ Ocean Conservation
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.
The role is to help bring threats to scientists, policy makers, commercial leaders and everyday citizens, and to support, enable, connect and, sometimes, lead the many talented people working on marine conservation worldwide.
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.
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 lifecycles 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 in 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 seas, ocean acidification increases, damaging marine ecosystems and threatening species and food chains with likely extinctions.
“The trash we throw in our neighbourhood gutter can devastate rare wildlife half a world away”
Trip Options & Rates
Awards & Accreditations
2010 Practical Boat Owner Green Award - Winner
Minimum age is usually 16 years.
If you represent a group and would like a private trip, get in touch for a bespoke expedition!
The all-female eXXpedition trips are now organised separately and over-subscribed. Please consider the trips below:
- Accommodation nights as per itinerary
- All meals, snacks, and drinks on board
- Sailing instruction
- Safety equipment and foul weather gear
Trip prices exclude:
- Transportation to and from sailing start and end point
- Transportation to and from the boat in port
- Additional nights spent ashore
- Personal expenses while in port
- Travel insurance
*NB. The top marine conservation trips are:
North Pacific Gyre (July); San Juan Islands (August);
March 21 – April 9, 2020 | Pineapple Express | Ensenada, Mexico – Ko Olina Marina, Hawaii | 20 days, 19 nights | $4900 *Limited availability*
Focus: Offshore Passagemaking | Ocean Crossing | Sail Training
This trip is an RYA Yachtmaster Ocean and IYT MOY Unlimited qualifying voyage – contact to discuss.
Join aboard Sea Dragon for the classic Pacific crossing! We’ll follow the sunset all the way from Ensenada to Ko’Olina Marina, Hawaii! You’ll have plenty of time to practice downwind sail handling, helming, and even some celestial navigation if you’re keen. Last year it was a very fast week out of Ensenada, racking up well over 200nm a day for the first 5 days of the trip before getting to the trades. The rest of the voyage was warm and beautiful, with spinnaker sailing in light wind and wing-on-wing running as the trades strengthened. If you’re interested in celestial navigation, this is the best voyage of the season to learn from us or hone your skills – clear skies in the trades and a smooth downwind voyage. Looking forward to what should be a spectacular ocean crossing – a perfect opportunity to get away from it all and cross the Pacific!
Connections: San Diego International Airport (SAN) is a 90-minute drive from Ensenada, but the border crossings can be slow. Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) is about a 70-minute drive. Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is about 30 minutes from Ko’Olina, Hawaii.
April 21 – May 4, 2020 | Palmyra Explorer | Ko Olina Marina, Hawaii – Palmyra – At Anchor, Kiritimati Atoll, Kiritimati | 14 days, 13 nights | $4950 *Limited availability*
Focus: Offshore Passagemaking | Swimming & Snorkelling | Tropical Island Exploration
RYA Yachtmaster Ocean & IYT MOY Unlimited qualifying voyage: contact for details.
This trip is a blast – leave from Oahu for a few days of power reaching in the trades before negotiating the ITCZ, also known as the Doldrums! Squalls and unsettled weather abound, but the rewards for careful boat handling are beautiful sunsets, rainbows, and the satisfaction of sailing fast in tough conditions. A stop in planned at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, which lies within the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, dependent upon the issuance of a permit from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. At the request of the refuge, the group size is limited for this trip, so it will really be an intimate experience.
Last year it was the first ecotourism visit to Palmyra since it became a National Wildlife Refuge, and it was extraordinary! Never such a beautiful and healthy reef! Almost anywhere else you go will be spoiled for you after this visit. This is really something special, and the only way to visit is by sea. Palmyra was a US naval base in World War II, the sight of several failed copra plantations, and the destination of many adventurers and dreamers up through the 90s. Since then, Palmyra has been jointly managed by the Nature Conservancy and US Fish & Wildlife service, who are doing an amazing job maintaining it as a research station and restoring native Pacific atoll ecosystems to the island. This is the most exciting trip this year!
If are unable to get the necessary permit to visit Palmyra, instead there will be a stop at Tabuaeran (Fanning), a gorgeous atoll in the nation of Kiribati. Check out the next voyage, Pacific Voyager, to learn more about Fanning. End the trip with a quick overnight sail upwind to Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, which has the largest land mass of any atoll in the world.
If lucky, be greeted by the huge Manta Rays that cruise the anchorage off the Copra Pier. These islands are truly remote, and the best way to get to them is by sea. Come explore some of the Central Pacific’s gems!
NB. Kiritimati is on the same time zone as Hawaii, but 1 day ahead!
Connections: Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is about a 30-minute drive from Ko’Olina, Hawaii. Fiji Airways has one flight a week to and from Kiritimati (CXI). Numerous guest houses on Kiritimati can also arrange transportation to the airport. Recommendations on request.
July 11 – August 1 , 2020 | North Pacific Gyre | Ko Olina Marina, Oahu, Hawaii – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | 21 days, 20 nights | $4900 *Limited Availability*
Offshore Passagemaking | Ocean Crossing | Plastic Pollution
RYA Yachtmaster Ocean & IYT MOY Unlimited qualifying voyage: contact to discuss.
Join us as we cross the North Pacific and sail through the heart of what everyone has been talking about, the North Pacific Gyre!
If you’re looking to test your mettle on an ocean crossing that’s a bit more rugged than the mill run out to Hawaii, this is the voyage for you. You’ll encounter a little bit of everything – warm, fast, close reaching in the tradewinds out of Hawaii and the chance for some spectacular mid-ocean swimming under the Pacific High mid-trip. Then you’ll be mixing it up with frontal systems approaching the coast of Canada and maybe even some fog coming down the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Last year we saw everything from 0 to 32 knots of wind and experienced every point of sail.
If you’re more interested in seeing the problem of plastic pollution for yourself, we’ll be go right through the heart of the garbage patch. We’ll conduct educational manta trawls for micro-plastic pollution, as well as document and observe larger debris. If the weather permits, you’ll be able to take home your own sample of mid-ocean plastics from the trawl efforts.
Connections: Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is about a 30-minute drive from Ko’Olina. There are numerous ferries from Victoria to Seattle, Vancouver, and Tsawassen. You can also travel via seaplane to Vancouver, or fly Air Canada out of Victoria International Airport, YYJ, which is about a 20-minute drive north of the city.
August 8 – August 15, 2020 | Puget Sound | Victoria, British Columbia, Canada – Shilshole, Seattle, Washington | 8 days, 7 nights | $2950 *Limited Availability*
Focus: Coastal Cruising | Introduction to Sailing | Coastal Exploration
Join in the height of summer to explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Visit Canada’s Gulf Islands before heading south to Puget Sound and Washington. Hike, explore some of the beautiful towns of the region, and keep a sharp lookout for wildlife. Last year we saw humpback whales, orcas, porpoises, and seals. If you’re interested in sailing but not sure if some of our longer voyages might be too intense, this trip is a good fit. Learn the basics of sailing Sea Dragon while spending every night on anchor, day sailing and travelling in relatively flat water.
Connections: There are numerous ferries from Victoria to Seattle, Vancouver, and Tsawassen. You can also travel via seaplane to Vancouver, or fly Air Canada out of Victoria International Airport, YYJ, which is about a 20-minute drive north of the city. Seattle – Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is a 30 to 40-minute drive south of Shilshole marina, and is also an easy train journey into the city.
Aug 22 – Aug 29, 2020 | San Juan Islands | Shilshole Marina, Seattle, Washington - Coal Harbor Marina, Vancouver, Canada | 8 days, 7 nights | $2950 *Limited Availability*
Focus: Coastal Cruising | Island Exploration | Marine Mammals
Ever wondered what all the fuss about sailing the Pacific Northwest is? Wonder no more! This was the most popular voyage in 2019 for good reason. Set out from sunny Seattle, WA, at the height of the summer season and explore Washington’s San Juan Islands keeping an eye out for humpback and killer whales along the way. Visit historic Port Townsend and maybe even pop into Canada’s Gulf Islands for a night before finishing in Vancouver, Canada’s west coast metropolis.
Connections: Seattle – Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is a 30 to 40-minute drive south of Shilshole marina, and is also an easy train journey into the city. Vancouver International (YVR) is about 20 minutes from the marina by car, and also easily accessible by rail.
Sept 4 – Sept 16, 2020 | Gate to Gate | Coal Harbour, Vancouver, Canada – Sausalito, San Francisco Bay, California | 13 days, 12 nights | $3900 *Limited Availability*
Focus: Coastal Cruising | PNW Exploration | Offshore Passagemaking
If you’re looking for a taste of the cruising lifestyle, this trip has it all. Spend the first few days inshore exploring Canada’s Gulf Islands and Washington’s Olympic Peninsula while everyone on board gets comfortable with sailing and handling Sea Dragon. Then, head out the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the open sea for an 800 mile passage down the coast to San Francisco. The weather could throw anything, but typically it should be a fast, fun downwind passage off the coast, full of migrating whales and dolphins.
Connections: Seattle – Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is a 30 to 40-minute drive south of Shilshole marina, and is also an easy train journey into the city. From Sausalito, San Francisco International (SFO) is about 45 minutes by car or 1 hour by bus and train. Oakland International (OAK) is about 1 hour by either car or transit. In addition, Amtrak has connecting service from downtown San Francisco to its Emeryville depot, with trains to the rest of the country.
September 26 – October 7 | California Coast | San Francisco – Ensenadar | 12 days, 11 nights | $3900 *Limited Availability*
Focus: Coastal Cruising | Coastal Exploration | Offshore Sailing
This trip is a great blend of inshore and offshore adventure. The longest passage is less than 48 hours, but you should get the full offshore experience with strong winds, open ocean exposure and overnight sailing. If you’ve been thinking about one of the longer trips, this is a great trial run. With stops in Monterey and the Channel Islands, you’ll have plenty of shore-side action – towns, wilderness, and everything in between. The final destination, Ensenada, has some favorite things – great hot sauce, great tacos, and the Valle de Guadalupe, home to vineyards that rival Napa in quality. This is the nicest time of year to be in California, so come join this journey down the coast!
Connections: San Diego International Airport (SAN) is a 90-minute drive from Ensenada, but the border crossings can be slow. Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) is about a 70-minute drive.
Terms & Conditions
- Deposit is usually $1000, non-refundable.
- Cross-border trips require a passport with at least 6 months validity and potentially visas from your home country.
- Many nationalities which can enter the US by air on the ESTA visa waiver program need a B1/B2 visa to enter by sea (likely if you are NOT from USA, Canada or Bermuda).
- You must have appropriate paperwork completed before joining the vessel, or you will not be allowed to board.
- You are responsible for ensuring that you have insurance to cover shore-based medical treatment, rescue, and medical evacuation if required. You may want to check with your provider to ensure you will be covered for offshore sailing and in international waters (if applicable to your expedition) and cover for medical emergency.
- Full terms and conditions supplied upon booking.