Last month, we had the chance to interview Brynn and Jade, two Navily users who have decided to leave their hometown in England to travel the seas aboard their sailboat Talisman! Passionate about marine life since a young age, Brynn has studied coral and the effect of global climate change and human actions on marine ecosystems.
With this idea strongly anchored in their minds, they are adopting an eco responsible approach to their project, with a strong will to contribute to marine life environment studies and its protection. In this short interview, you’ll discover more about Brynn and Jade, their project at sea and the many ways boaters can adopt simple behaviour to help protect our environment. Moreover, you’ll find out how to become an actor of change by participating in studies to improve our understanding of these environments.
Part 1 : Brynn and Jade : A couple for the Ocean
Tell us a little about yourself ?
I’m Brynn, the first thing you need to know about me is that the ocean has always been a part of my life – even growing up in the centre of England with no ocean to visit. I stayed connected by working in aquatics, and the National Sealife Centre in Birmingham. Most of my work has involved marine life in some way, but it was never the same as being able to actually live and interact with these amazing animals in their natural environment – this is why boatlife has been so perfect for us!
I’m Jade, I love new adventures and exploration. I have worked in over 30 different jobs in the UK, and I am always looking for the next challenge. I have always been drawn to nature, with one of my favourite adventures being the 5 months I spent living in Finnish Lapland – living underneath the dancing Northern Lights. I actually love cold climates, but I am extremely eager to explore some blue seas and get to know the marine life living below! I have fond memories of family holidays to the beach, and spending hours in the sea in awe of the sea creatures. It feels like a dream to have access to this life from our own home now – our sailboat!
When did you know your life was linked to the ocean ?
As a young child I had many wildlife books and used to watch every Sir David Attenborough documentary available, it was always the ocean animals that looked the most unusual with the brightest colours that gripped me. My family told me that, when I was 5, I always said I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. This ambition stayed with me all through high school too – my friends will vouch for this! Although I never was very academic, my will to learn more about Marine environments grew stronger. After working 3 years for The National Sealife Centre of Birmingham, I was lucky enough to meet amazing people who helped me enter a Masters in Biological Research (mention university) where I studied coral immune response and bleaching rates.
And as for Jade, she started snorkeling at a very young age, discovering the sealife and her first octopus with her Grandfather. That’s what woke up her desire to explore and protect the marine environment.
How were you introduced to sailing ? How did the passion develop?
We were introduced to sailing by watching a very early La Vagabonde video on Youtube. This triggered a question in our mind :
‘’What if it was possible to live on a sailboat and get closer to the environment we are so passionate about…’’
With a world of budget sailors who were cruising the world on smaller vessels, suddenly it all became more possible for us and we started documenting and gathering as much knowledge as we could to achieve our dream. We consumed all the information we could, and then took the leap and bought our sailboat (without knowing how to sail) and then started to build up our knowledge through sailing the UK’s solent.
Congratulations! What’s your next big step in sailing?
The plan is to sail around the world in our small 28ft sailboat Talisman. Talisman is a Salterns Stag 28 built in 1978 in the South of England. We hope that on our travels we will make videos and films documenting our journey and trying to raise awareness for our wildlife and oceans, ultimately we want to help protect that which we care so deeply about. My wife Jade is also hugely passionate about the life within our blue planet, and together we will document how we live sustainably, with all the lessons learnt along the way too. The two of us have always enjoyed making movies, and really hope to be able to share our own adventures along with those of other people we meet along the way.
Part 2 : Eco-friendly sailing section
What do you think of boaters' role in helping keep our marine environment healthy?
We believe that all boaters have a special ability to help raise awareness and play a huge role in keeping our marine environments healthy. Everytime someone on the water sees dolphins and sends a picture to their family, they are helping keep people passionate about the animals in our oceans. When we talk to people that have grown up on boats, they always have a deeper connection to the oceans and a desire to care for it.
Now more than ever I think it’s easier to make a difference for boaters, simply by consuming more thoughtfully and by sharing our passion with those not directly connected to the sea. For those who live on the sea it’s our home, so our role needs to be protecting that which we so heavily rely on.
What can be done to protect our environment ?
The products we consume
Protecting our environment starts with our own choices. We try to only buy marine safe products and as little single use plastics as possible. We do say “as much as possible” as it’s not always easy in all corners of the world. But if it’s something we are aware of and think about, the little changes we make will contribute to a larger effort. We take our own reusable bags to shops when we get food and buy products with biodegradable packaging or no packaging if we can.
You can also have an impact by making small changes in the everyday products you user., We buy marine safe detergents. Ecoworks Marine is a brand that produces such products. We don’t buy plastic water bottles where possible, using metal bottles or reusable water bags. The Green Blue website has some really useful information on companies which offer marine friendly cleaning and lifestyle products too.
In places with less options for ethical goods, we always try to make our own solutions too, such as our own cleaning solutions or our own toothpaste! There are also a wealth of independent sellers online offering more ethical shopping solutions, and we tend to purchase from these for items such as bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, from stores such as the Ethical Superstore or The Eco Shop.
Here is a link to a website that shows you how to make your own toothpaste using only plant based products.
Awareness of our marine environments
It’s also important to know good boating practices, like where you can and should not ancho. Anchoring on protected seagrass could not only get you fined but also the damage caused could take years to recover. Some seagrass beds only grow at a rate of 1mm per year…
You should also be aware of what protection there is for the wildlife around you. In the UK, for instance, there are protected areas for seahorses where you will need a special permit even to photograph them. If you’re a fisherman it’s important you follow the catch rules set out by the governing body of the waters you are in. This will help prevent overfishing and also the targeting of species that are already endangered.
When looking for good and safe places to anchor we use Navily as there is a wealth of information there from facilities to weather. We use Navily to understand what the seabed is like and how well an anchorage is protected. With so many people leaving reviews and sharing their experience, it can really help when you’re making your passage plans. We find the photos people have taken particularly helpful, as we can use these pictures to decide if this would be a safe spot to anchor for both ourselves and the marine environment below.
Supporting Research and Conservation : A boater community’s project
Finally we also believe that, as boaters cruising the seas and oceans, we are at the forefront of marine life observation. Everyday at sea is a new opportunity to collect data on the environment we evolve in, and added together with a connection to the right entities, this can become truly impactful for marine life conservation.
The idea of the boating community contributing to create the biggest picture of our oceans really is incredible but also achievable. With millions of people boating all over the world, we really have the opportunity to collect data from every ocean and sea.
How is data used?
Data can be used in so many different ways and it can be really anything. From a photo, a report to a relevant source, even a temperature reading can be useful. There are many different ways of data being collected in scientific studies and not all are super technical.
For instance, an easy way in which every boater could help is by reporting animal patterns and marine life conditions. Whale spotting reports from people is one way in which marine biologists track pods and whale families to see migration patterns and if there has been a change in their behaviour. This is just one example as to how anybody can contribute data beneficial for research.
If a coral bleaching event is spotted and reported, scientists are then able to monitor the events to track what changes are happening in the water to see what is causing it. Data is used to further understand something and understanding allows us to make future predictions and learn patterns and behaviours.
Join the movement
It sure is an inspiring idea that Brynn and Jade brought up in this Interview. With more than 350 000 boaters and counting, the Navily community could play a great role in developing such a project. If you think you could have your role in this project and would like to participate, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org