Set sails for sustainability, together with Ocean Missions
The story of Ocean Missions
Ocean Missions is an NGO founded by Belén García Ovide a marine biologist and wildlife guide. Belén has been passionate about exploring the oceans ever since she was a kid. She has spent the majority of her life studying and working in the Arctic but also sailed in Caribbean waters and Antarctica. Her main field of study is whale research and ocean participatory science. She also has a great interest and knowledge in bio tourism and marine acoustics research. Combining her experience and passion, she came to think of how she could gather like-minded people to create a community that would work together towards ocean conservation. One morning, over a cup of coffee in the cosy saloon of schooner Opal, Ocean Missions was born.
For a better planet
Belén has a strong vision on how to empower people to take direct actions for the greater good of our oceans. “I have learnt that bringing people from different backgrounds together is key. Let them work with enthusiastic scientists and sailors, to discover the wonders of the sea, is a powerful approach. By connecting with nature and understanding the problems that we are facing, we inspire them to become a part of the solution. Everyone can join and become an ambassador for the oceans. That way we can work together towards a healthier environment, for the greater good of the planet.
North Sailing – perfect partner for sustainable travel
Sustainability has been a key destination since the beginning of North Sailing, back in 1995. Known for responsible whale watching, eco-friendly operation and pioneering work in sustainable tourism, North Sailing is always seeking more ways to go green. “The official partnership with Ocean Missions is yet another step in the right direction,” says Stefán Jón Sigurgeirsson, managing director at North Sailing. “The ideology of Ocean Missions goes hand in hand with our aim to improve travelling and inspire people.”
Belén also says that the partnership is a great fit. “For Ocean Missions it is amazing to be able to offer people tours and expeditions with the hybrid-electric schooner Opal. It is absolutely the perfect platform for doing research and educational trips.”
Think globally, act locally
Together, North Sailing and Ocean Missions are already working on projects in their hometown of Húsavík. The goal is to get local people and travellers to participate in various ocean conservation projects and educational sessions.
Mini-lab in the harbour area in Húsavík
In the summer of 2021, a small mini-lab will open in the harbour area in Húsavík. Everyone is welcome to drop by and learn about the whales and wildlife of Skjálfandi Bay, marine acoustic, plastic research and other interesting facts and developments of the local ocean environment. Through microscopes, guests will be able to see the micro-world of the bay for a better understanding of the macro-world they witness during whale watching tours from Húsavík.
Every summer Ocean Missions organizes beach cleanup events with local partners, including North Sailing. “Last year we collected more than 600 kg of garbage within two hours. Next year we hope that even more people will join.” Says Belén.
Inspiring local children to learn about the oceans
In cooperation with local schools, Ocean Missions and North Sailing have invited local children onboard for educational and recreational trips around Skjálfandi Bay. More trips are to come in the summer of 2021.
Húsavík a plastic-free town!
One of Ocean Missions dream is to make Húsavík a town free of single-use plastic. “With education and local collaboration, hopefully, one day this dream will come true,” says Belén.
Join one of our green sailing expeditions
The heart of the partnership between Ocean Missions and North Sailing is to offer green expeditions onboard schooner Opal with an added value for passengers to participate directly in research and purpose-driven activities.
“During these expeditions, passengers will have the opportunity to connect with natural landscapes while learning about oceans and sustainability. They will have the chance to be involved in different innovative marine research surveys such as microplastic and zooplankton surveys. If we are lucky, we can even listen to the dolphins with a hydrophone,” says Belén. “Further, they will get an insight into whales and sea bird biology and identification and participate in beach cleaning and other land activities such as hiking in remote and secluded areas.”
How can you participate in protecting the oceans?
If you are interested in joining one of our science-inspired sailing expeditions?
We also offer tailor-made expeditions in cooperation with Ocean Missions and are flexible to adjust to your ideas and interest.