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!

Sea Dragon has been working hard for months sailing tens of thousands 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 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 aided in the research and survey of community and natural habitat impacts in the Pacific’s, Phoenix Islands.

1 Aug – 7 Aug 2018 Tale of Two Cities | Seattle to Vancouver 7 days, 6 nights | $1,990
Sail through breathtaking Puget Sounds, and travel past the San Juan Islands and Bellingham, with the resident crew introducing guests to the 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 sightings of these magnificent creatures, to share findings with a pilot project collecting long-term, useful cetacean migration data.

13 August – 23 2018   Maple Gate | Vancouver to San Francisco 10 days, 11 nights | $1900
Sail 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.

24 Aug – 23 Sept 2018 West Coast Tour | San Francisco to San Diego Promotional Tour 31 days, 30 nights | Price On Application
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!

28 Sept  – 1 Oct 2018    Vamonos A Mexico! | San Diego to Ensenada 4 days, 3 nights | $720
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.