Daniel Greenwood and Mathilde Gordon fly the flag ‘Seize Change’ at Ucluelet’s Otter Street dock. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Young Aussie sailors ‘re-framing the face of adventure’

Their single-use plastic free circumnavigation of Vancouver Island began on May 25 in Nanaimo.

Call it an adventure with a cause.

At the time of this posting, Australians Daniel Greenwood and Mathilde Gordon should be nearing the end of their journey circumnavigating Vancouver Island in a 27-foot Catalina to raise awareness about the impacts of marine debris.

The novice sailors departed Nanaimo on May 25. The VI Free Daily caught up with them on July 15 as they cruised into the Ucluelet Harbour sharing tales of triumph and horror.

“Clearing the Nahwitta Bar was a piece of cake,” said Greenwood, 28, of one of the most treacherous bodies of water located at the northern tip Vancouver Island.

Rounding Cape Scott, on the other hand, was a nightmare.

“It was the scariest moment of my life,” said Gordon, 24.

With large waves and strong winds, the team said their boat went vertical.

“It was 30-minutes of very terrifying conditions,” said Greenwood.

The harrowing experience taught the adventurists the real meaning of “ship shape”, they told the Westerly from their sailboat called ‘Sea Lion’.

Before setting sail for their epic two and a half month tour around Vancouver Island, Greenwood and Gordon launched the Seize Change Project, with the goal of exploring single-use plastic free, doing small scale clean ups, and partnering with like-minded organizations en route.

Gordon, who sea kayaked 2,042 kilometres from Alaska to Canada last summer carrying the same ethos, has been living single-use plastic free for three years. She said when it comes to plastic pollution, people need to stop blaming and recognize that we are all part of the problem.

“Our oceans are all interconnected and unless you’re still holding your Styrofoam cup that you got your coffee or the water bottle that you drank out of the other day, you can’t tell me that what I’m finding on the beach isn’t from you,” she said. “To solve this, and it is something that we need to do now, it’s not about a few people doing zero waste living plastic-free perfectly, it’s about millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

In preparation for the journey, they cooked and dehydrated meals and bought bulk supplies at Zero Waste Emporium in Victoria.

“Going without single-use plastics on a sailing trip is doing all the things that we would normally do at home and just making it nautical proof,” notes Gordon.

Carrying the slogan ‘Re-framing the face of adventure’, the Aussie sailors hope to inspire young explorers to travel with greater purpose.

“You can go on an adventure, and a lot of the time it’s a privilege and you’re lucky to be doing that, but why not give back in a positive way while doing that?” said Gordon.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: Surfrider cheers ocean friendly businesses in Tofino and Ucluelet

READ: Restored Canadian Navy vessel offers unique experiences of Barkley Sound, Clayoquot Sound and Nooka

READ: Ready, Set, Sail! Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race sprints out of Ucluelet en route to Victoria

Just Posted

TIEL’S TALES: On the hunt for a wild Christmas tree

Cutting down your own Christmas tree can be wet and dirty, and you have to actually cut it down

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Nanaimo blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

Judy Woodruff discovers bedroom of home in south Nanaimo turned upside-down; jewelry and art stolen

Vancouver Island man in Russia to reshape the future of hockey

NHL official Rob Schick talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Striking loggers get space at North Island Mall

Space gives union members a Port Hardy base of operations to collect donations, talk to public

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular returns to Vancouver Island for 13th year

Festive stage production brings variety of dance and musical styles to Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay

Firefighters called to burning motorhome on Nanaimo’s waterfront

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes blaze Monday afternoon on Esplanade and Irwin Street

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

Vancouver Island veterinarian heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

Most Read