After more than four months at sea, the sailing, research, and filming portion of the With the Winds project has come to a close. We sailed into the harbor of St. Augustine aboard our trusty vessel, Jörmungandr, on the morning of April 4th, about forty hours after departing Bimini for the double overnight sail. We checked in at the municipal marina, visited a good old American diner, marveled at the staggering number of cars and buildings in town, and met a couple of pirates on the docks who run river tours for children. Exhausted and a bit overwhelmed by the fast-paced and vigorously efficient new country we found ourselves in (we couldn’t get over how quickly our glasses of water were topped off at the diner), we fell asleep early.
We purchased Jörmungandr in early November, spent two weeks outfitting the boat, one week sailing down the Chesapeake and Intracoastal Waterway to Beaufort, NC, and another ten days sailing from there to the Virgin Islands. Over the course of four months, we navigated our way out to St. Martin and St. Bart’s, and then all the way through Puerto Rico, the DR, and the Bahamas to Florida.
We hosted two interns for a month, collected microplastic water samples from pristine coves, offshore waters and bustling harbors, encountered an extensive variety of shark species and other marine megafauana, and discovered beaches that were covered in over two feet of plastic in some places. We also worked around weather delays, squalls, less than honest customs officials, wiring and regulator problems, a faulty alternator, a busted sail, several jury rigs, and fishing line wrapped around more propellers, turbines, and other mechanisms than we can count.
Despite these issues and the difficulty of trying to conduct three environmental research projects while simultaneously navigating thousands of miles across the Caribbean AND filming the entire endeavor, we wouldn’t ask for it to have been any simpler or easier. Sure, it would have been nice to have a dedicated filming crew to help us get that near-impossible shot, one more pair of hands to help wrangle that shark that got away, or someone to organize our mess of data cards, engine manuals, chartbooks, and fishing and filming gear (not to mention the ukulele that was ALWAYS in the way no matter where we tried to stow it). But we met the challenges of the expedition, conducted the research that we set out to do, amassed hundreds of hours of film footage, and made our way back to the States right on schedule, acquiring a vast amount of knowledge and perspective in the process.
The day following our arrival in St. Augustine, April 5th, we prepared some delicious food for ourselves in the comfort of our familiar sailboat and toasted to Henry’s birthday and an overwhelmingly successful voyage. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without our generous, excited, and genuinely interested crowd of backers, supporters, friends, and family members. To all of you, here’s a big thank you from us. We can’t wait to get to work on the editing process of bringing this kick-ass film together.
More photographs and video teasers are on their way!
- Henry & Grant