Veterinary Surgeon & Conservationist
Originally a Veterinary surgeon from the UK, Christina spent several years working and travelling around the world and eventually settled in Vanautu where I have lived for the last 12 years. After completing her masters in Veterinary conservation medicine, she founded a conservation NGO – the Vanautu Environmental Science Society in 2014. With a focus on threatened species conservation, she works with local communities to conserve animals such as dugongs and the endemic flying foxes as well as conducting scientific studies to fill the data gap on the knowledge of these animals. Christina is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Sirenia Specialist Group. Animals need their habitat and so she also work to protect seagrasses, coral reefs and forests. Plastics in the environmental affects all these habitats and animals which is why she has picked up a lot of rubbish! We organise cleanups with data collection which have been used by politicians as evidence to support the plastic bans that have come into force in Vanuatu. She continues to work on the issue of plastic pollution and finding solutions that work for the small island country. She is also a scuba instructor and partner in a dive shop in Port Vila and conduct underwater cleanups. After a devastating cyclone there in 2015 she removed over 12 tonnes of boat debris from boats wrecked in the storm in the harbour. Another project she is currently working on is with the Global Ghost Gear initiative on validating a model for where lost gear accumulates and removing ALDFG. She is also controlling a Crown-of-thorns-starfish outbreak on the reefs by injecting them with vinegar. She inherited a love of sailing from her father and as a child sailed in the Mediterranean. As an adult she have completed a couple of ocean crossings – one from LA to Hawaii and more recently crewed for a boat delivery from here in Vanautu to Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.
Grown in the french countryside, raised by an organic winemaker and single mom, Claire is both passionate about environmental issues and women empowerment.
Illustrator, graphic designer, traveller, and master of sociology, she first heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch during her master degree of environmental sociology in Lisbon. As an artist, she is fascinated by the variety and the beauty of marine creatures, from the tiny plankton to the majestic whale.
She hopes to raise awareness about plastic pollution and why oceans are so important for our survival as a species through her art.
United States of America
Erika was born and raised in Southern California and grew up playing on the beach. In late 2017, she retired from a 30-year career in software and has been traveling ever since. On these travels, Erika recognized the severity of the plastics issues in our oceans and all of nature’s waters. She was honored to become part of the 2020 eXXpedition crew when COVID-19 hit and her leg was cancelled. She currently resides in Arkansas, the “Natural State” where she spends her time sharing the healing practices of yoga, sound and meditation; she spends most of her time in nature paddle boarding, hiking and volunteering with surf and equine therapy organizations. Erika believes many people are intimidated by the size of the plastics issue and they don’t believe they can have an impact. She aims to help raise awareness that together we can have an impact on an issue that affects us all and what we each can do to reduce the use of plastic in our day-to-day lives. She’s excited she can still be part of this team of inspiring women that want to spread the word about plastic pollution to a global audience.
Before Heidi could walk she was immersed in the marine environment. Being Australian the ocean and surrounding aquatic environments are extremely important to her and it is a passion passed on to Heidi by her parents and grandparents. Currently living in the United Kingdom where she has been able to use her formal training in fisheries, climate change, coral reefs and mangrove to further the ambition of Commonwealth countries through the Commonwealth Blue Charter. When Heidi is not working she seeks out the calming effects of the beach, rivers and inlets. Where possible Heidi also scuba dives and explores the beauty under the ocean surface.
Helen is a an advocate for refugees and has spent her career working with and for refugees in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the US, in remote refugee camps and in modern cities. She loves learning about the cultures and the people she is working with and has an endless curiosity about our wonderful world.
She is passionate about fighting for refugees’ rights, and in her spare time loves sailing, the ocean and the power of nature. She first learned about the shocking scope of plastic in the oceans on a sailing voyage to Antarctica, and wants to use the eXXpedition experience to learn more, to contribute to science and finding solutions as well as bringing awareness.
Jaqueline is a Brazilian journalist, writer and communications specialist passionate for all environmental related issues. She has already worked in newsrooms of newspapers and magazines and for socio environmental projects for multinational companies in Brazil. Currently she lives with her family in Nagoya, Japan, and is an independent professional managing her own website (Ambiente-se Comunicação) and the communications strategies for the Great Ape Project Brazil/International.
She strongly believes in people power to unite diverse skills, find smart and creative solutions and deploy real actions. In the last few months she has been digging in into the complex area of plastic pollution and hopes to contribute to scale up ideas and proactive initiatives.
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Executive Director Plastic Oceans Intl
Julie is the Founder & Global Executive Director of Plastic Oceans International, working to end plastic pollution. She has worked in public health and nonprofit management internationally for the past 20 years in the US, Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and her Masters in Public Health. Julie’s career has focused on the effective communication of information to improve and safeguard human health as well as the environment against the negative effects of industrial development.
Julie was raised in San Diego where the ocean was part of her daily lifestyle as a swimmer and triathlete. When not working to protect the ocean, she is spending time with her husband and 2 sons traveling and exploring.
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Luxury Travel Advisor
Growing up a California girl, I have never lived far from the ocean. Joining the crew of the TravelEdge Exxpedition’s Antigua leg is a wonderful way for me to learn about and expand the voice for the effects of plastic waste on the ocean.
I am a mother of two, wife, and a full time luxury travel advisor. Graduating from the University of San Diego with a business degree, I started my career in sports marketing, working for the two major golf and tennis events in San Diego culminating at Cobra Golf when my first child was born. My husband’s career took us to London for five years where we lived and enjoyed the city life. Being back in San Diego and after raising two wonderful children, who are just starting their professional careers, I decided to enter the travel business full time. I am blessed to be recognized for my career achievements at Travel Edge, a growing list of wonderful clients, and the opportunities to visit and experience incredible places around the world.
With the beauty of the oceans being an integral part of many itineraries I plan for clients, I hope to take what I learn from my time with Exxpedition and share it with friends and colleagues whose services and properties feature the oceans of the world, and how we can meaningfully preserve its inherent wonders.
Vinuri has always been drawn to the ocean and water since she was young. She has engaged in all water sports in school which includes swimming, rowing and water polo. Vinuri is a PhD student at the University of Adelaide, investigating microbes colonizing marine plastics. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka and moved to Australia for her studies. As a dual citizen of both countries she wanted to tackle the oceanic plastic issue in both her countries to her best ability.
She decided to be apart of the eXXpedition crew to help solve the global oceanic plastic issue and contribute to this vital journey.
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Captain, Eco Tour Guide
A houseboat dwelling captain crazy about all things salty at the end of Hwy 1 on the quirky island of Key West. When I’m not passionately persuading my peers about switching from single use plastics to reusable alternatives you will find me in the dusty boatyard trying to build a catamaran. It’s entertaining to say the least!
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Luxury Travel Advisor
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, the ocean was my background. I learnt to swim at a young age and have loved the water since. Australia had been environmentally aware for many years so I grew up learning how important it is to re-cycle and not pollute and this has continued into my adult years.
By the age of 10, I had an insatiable desire to travel and explore the world. Two years into an economics degree with a focus on developing countries, at the age of 19, I took off to backpack around Europe for six months by myself. Two years later, after much traveling, picking grapes in Germany and working in London, I returned to Australia to finish my degree. A year later I went to the US where I have lived in Southern California ever since.
With 3 young children, I took them traveling around the world. I wanted them to realize how beautiful our planet was and how important and necessary it was to protect. In addition, even though we all come from different parts of the world we are basically all the same and how much travel broadens our minds and perspective of the human race.
Even with my love for travel, I never expected to end up in the travel business. As a top performing Luxury Travel Advisor for Travel Edge, most of my clients are independent and active travelers. They appreciate my vast knowledge of the world and ability to plan extensive trips for them that take them out of the usual tourism element.
I was thrilled to be given the chance to go on this leg of the eXXpedition voyage around the world and to travel with such accomplished and professional women. This will be a life changing journey that I am sure will forever change the way I see our influence on this beautiful planet.
Elementary School Teacher
Melissa Donich is a graduate student in Environmental Education and Communication and founder of Drop the Plastic Society, a BC non-profit aimed to educate about harmful plastics and remove plastic debris in the environment. Currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia with a passion for sailing, the ocean and improving our ecosystems.
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Paige is passionate about community-based solutions to plastic pollution. She is the Program Manager for Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization that empowers the sailing community to make environmentally-friendly choices while on the water and beyond.
Although a proud New Englander, Paige has always been drawn to the South Pacific. In her years studying engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, she completed two environmental projects working with a Maori community in New Zealand. These experiences sparked her interest in sustainability and her work continues to be inspired by Kaitiakitanga, the Maori tradition of managing the environment through guardianship and protection.
Paige has seen the impacts of plastic pollution in her own community, working with local organizations to lead beach clean-ups and educating youth through microplastic collections around Newport Harbor. She is excited by the potential to reduce plastic pollution through the implementation of upstream, reusable solutions.
Paula was born in Santiago Chile and from the age 5 when she discovered a book of sea shells at her home book shelf she was extremely curious about the ocean.
The water was always a magnet for her and she was part of a synchro swimmers team, started sailing and water skiing with her friend in the lakes in the south Chile when she was a teenager and then she managed to get certified as a diver 20 years ago.
From that day on she never left the ocean and she continued exploring it through underwater photography and other diving specialties like dry suit, Nitrox, buoyancy expert until she reached her Rescue Diver certification.
When her kids were growing up she found in sailing a way to keep them connected to the place she loves and she got her license as a skipper to spend more time time close to the ocean.
She currently works as a Global Executive coach for executives for companies in several countries and in Chile helping them achieve sustainability in the workplace through enhancing peoples capabilities of performance and adaptability to change.
She is also currently training with the Chilean Navy towards obtaining enhancing her sailing skills. She enjoys everything that has to do with being in the ocean from diving and sailing to running barefoot on the beach or play with her kids and boards in the cold Pacific waves.
Rachel is the filmmaker, who is based in Paris. She produces content like short documentaries, video clip or wedding films.She is a part of Belles Choses association, who promotes young artists.
She always have been drawn to the ocean and could watch it for hours. She became more and more aware of the plastic issues from several documentaries and readings.
Outside of work, she enjoys horse riding, climbing and wakeboarding. She is really excited to be part of the gigantic adventure!
Head of Yacht Management Operations
Having grown up by the coast of North Holland, Stephanie’s passion for the ocean started at a young age. She has almost 10 years of experience in the yachting industry, of which she spent 2 years at sea as a crew member on a busy 50m charter yacht. She has crossed the Atlantic Ocean several times and sailed the seas in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.
With a backpack full of experience, she now keeps both feet well and truly on dry land in the South of France and manages the internal operations for the Yacht Management department at Y.CO. Stephanie’s goal is to inspire everyone to make a positive impact on the health of our ocean as individuals and as a team. From this trip she hopes to have a better understanding of the issues that we are facing, to then spread awareness about what each of us can do to make a change.