Henry Bell and Grant Bemis lead the
project and directed and produced
the film. All images and content credit
With the Winds unless otherwise noted.
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Expedition

With the Winds carried a SPOT GPS tracking device aboard their sailboat to update the latitude and longitude coordinates of the boat’s exact position every day. The SPOT also provided important safety features, including an S.O.S. button that communicates with the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center.

 

The passage that we made while conducting research in the Caribbean evolved and adapted based upon weather, recommendations that we received, new research opportunities and that arose, and stops to conduct necessary boat maintenance. The map shown below displays the final route that we followed for the project.

 

The detailed itinerary that we drew up for the project was fifteen pages long and listed everything from dates and passage routes to drawbridge opening times and anchorage depths. However, we knew from the beginning that our itinerary was a loose plan and was subject to change many times throughout the trip.

 

Instead of departing from Florida as we originally planned, we sailed out of Beaufort, NC and out into the Atlantic towards Bermuda before turning south to sail towards the US Virgin Islands. This route was not much longer than the initial plan, and allowed us to spend extra time working on the boat rather than sailing further south on the Intracoastal Waterway. It is a common route taken by a number of skippers and sailing rallies and allowed us to avoid plowing straight into the worst of the trade winds. The offshore voyage, which lasted ten days, saved us a lot of time, wear and tear on the boat, and many headaches. We visited and conducted research in the US and British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, St. Bart's, Culebra and Vieques, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.

 

Our interns, as well as several friends and family members, joined us at various points along our route to pitch in with the research and filming, and to learn more about the work we were doing from a firsthand perspective. Of course, the lure of warm sunny beaches and tropical waters might have played a small role in getting them down to visit as well. But they would be the first to tell you that they learned quite a bit about the problems that face our world’s oceans, and have made distinct changes in their lifestyle and ways of thinking as a result.

 

- Henry & Grant

Itinerary

If all else failed, we had our paper charts and sextant. Here, Grant takes a noon sight.