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.



07 Aug – 05 Sep, 2017    Girls eXXpedition     Round Britain 3 Part Mission    $3990
Following the previous eXXpeditions, Round Britain 2017 will be an all-women’s voyage, to make the unseen seen, from the toxics in our bodies to the toxics in our seas.
The eXXpedition team will sail around the whole of the British Isles, to explore the issue of plastics, chemicals, endocrine disruptors and carcinogens in our personal and global environment, sampling the waters for plastics and toxics, according to the protocols developed by the 5 Gyres Institute. Starting from Plymouth on 7th August, sail into the heart of all four of Britain’s capital cities, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and London, as well as to the Isle of Arran in the Clyde and Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.

23 Sep – 4 Oct, 2017    Sailing skills and Whale watching Plymouth to Madeira- 12 days, 11 nights - $1950 / £1490
An awe inspiring journey of wild seas and marine life, cross the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel, past Ile d’Oussant and across the notorious Bay of Biscay, hen tack down the Iberian Peninsula coastline inundated with huge pods of Whales and dolphins, documenting sightings to share findings with a pilot cetacean migration data project. Arrive at mountainous Madeira, where you can sample its famous wine, ride its infamous toboggan ride, and enjoy its beautiful location, having experienced every aspect of life at sea in navigating the Atlantic, honing seamanship, sailing, and learning passage-making skills.

23 Sept – 11 Oct, 1017     Winter Sailing Offer Plymouth to Lanzarote via Madeira -  19 days, 18 nights -  $3990/£2760
As above to Madeira, plus then head back out to sea and sail to the Ilhas Selvagens, home to what Jacques Cousteau said was the clearest water he had ever found in his travels. A last sail lands in Lanzarote, the hot, volcanic desert island with a long history of art and sculpture, and spectacular volcanic wines.
* If you’re working towards your Yachtmaster Ocean, this passage is for you, the seasoned crew will help practice your celestial navigation and involve you in the daily routines and watch standing on board.*

05 Oct – 11 Oct, 2017    Natural Exploration Ilhas Selvagens Madeira to Lanzarote - 7 days, 6 nights - $1750/£1390As above, joining in Madeira and sailing to Lanzarote via The “Savage” Islands - specks of deserted volcanic rock that form the archipelago about 150nm south of Madeira, rugged and remote where the only human inhabitants are the two wardens, and goats!

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!

20 Nov – 10 Dec, 2017    Arc Transatlantic     Gran Canaria to St. Lucia - 25 days, 24 nights - $4700/£3650
The ARC is a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and attracts over 200 boats and 1200 people every year to sail 2700 NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia. The ARC is for everyone; families with children, tough racers, cruising couples, big boats and modest boats. Enjoy the festivities, go out for some practice, and meet the other crews before you depart, then set sail across the Atlantic for a once in a lifetime opportunity, crossing the Atlantic together, but each having their own adventures.

More than just a boat race, the ARC is about friendships made ashore in the two weeks of pre-departure activities continued over the radio net at sea. It’s about arriving in Saint Lucia to be met on the dock with a rum punch and a chilled beer, knowing you have achieved something fantastic – crossing an ocean on a small sailboat - then explore the spectacular island and enjoy the ARC parties, award ceremonies and special events.

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!