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eXXpedition - All-female research expeditions to make the unseen seen

eXXpedition is a Community Interest Company and not-for-profit organisation that runs pioneering all-female sailing research expeditions to investigate the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution.

Founded in 2014, they have run expeditions all over the world. Previous scientific research has highlighted the endemic nature of microplastics within our ocean environments globally. Their focus is to advance a better understanding of the plastics issue as a whole and to work with the industry to pinpoint solutions and policy at a global level by addressing knowledge-gaps and delivering evidence to inform effective solutions.

An Experience, A Platform, and A Learning Opportunity

While on board, each member of the multidisciplinary crew shares their own experiences, supports novel and innovative scientific research, participates in workshops to find where they fit in, creating solutions and explores collaboration opportunities with other members of the team.

After completing their voyage, each guest crew joins the already thriving network of eXXpedition ambassadors, taking the message of ocean plastic and achievable actions back to their own communities. eXXpedition also runs creative, participatory workshops, talks and outreach events in collaboration with local organisations and communities.

In October 2019 they launched their biggest project yet, eXXpedition Round the World. This project will see 300 multidisciplinary women sail across 30 voyages over a two-year period.

The Mission: To Explore and Uncover New Solutions to Help Solve the Plastic Pollution Crisis

The Approach

eXXpedition is on a mission to help solve the plastic pollution crisis by empowering multidisciplinary all-female crews on board sailing expeditions around the world to conduct scientific research, explore solutions and understand how their unique skill sets can intersect the issue.

Each eXXpedition voyage is designed to encourage collaboration between crew members and community groups, and to open conversations around female leadership, personal and environmental awareness, and cultural and societal shifts.

Their impact continues after each voyage. Invigorated by their first-hand experience at sea, eXXpedition provides the tools, confidence and support the crew members need to inspire and affect behavioural change in their personal and professional communities back on dry land.

The Aims

Through all activities eXXpedition seeks to:

Support Solutions Science

By contributing to world-class scientific studies that are urgently needed to inform up-stream solutions and close the loop on plastic waste on land

Shift Perceptions

By using their platform to inform and educate so that people can better understand the real problem of micro-plastics and use that to shape actions and solutions

Create A Community

By empowering their network of inspiring leaders to create shifts in their community and beyond in order to tackle plastic pollution back on dry land

Why This? Why Now? Making the Unseen, Seen


There is a lack of diversity in gender and race role models in both STEM professions and in exploration and sporting events. eXXpedition assembles crews of inspiring female role models and help address the balance.


There is an evidence base building that environmental exposure from chemicals associated with plastics and pollution is impacting women’s health. eXXpedition want to better understand the links between the health of the environment and our bodies.


Trying to clean up ocean plastic won’t work alone. What’s needed is multidisciplinary action working from every angle to explore solutions that stem the flow of plastic at the source, before it reaches the sea, in new and innovative ways.

Panama to The Galapagos: Leg 6

Photo Credit Dr Winnie Courtene-Jones

Fresh from passing through the Panama Canal, eXXpedition met in Panama City ready for their first Pacific Ocean leg of eXXpedition Round the World! They spent just over a week at sea, sailing 1000 nautical miles and crossing the equator on their way to San Cristobal island, Galapagos.

Situated just under 1000km offshore from the coast of South America the isolated nature of this volcanic archipelago has led to the Galapagos being famed for its unique wildlife, made even more special by the fact that Charles Darwin used his observations in the Galapagos as a key basis for his ‘Theory of Evolution’.

The Galapagos province of Ecuador is a national park and marine nature reserve, with a lot of tourism being championed as ecotourism in the region it will be interesting to see how this management is reflected in their sampling. San Cristobal itself is one of the oldest islands geologically and is said to be home to the famous Galapagos tortoises, blue and red footed boobies and marine iguanas.

Having reached land, eXXpedition is excited to share their story and findings with the local population as part of their outreach programme.

Twitter: @exxpedition

Instagram: @exxpedition_

Facebook: eXXpeditionCIC


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