Cruising sailors off on new round of South Pacific Islands assistance

OceansWatch in preparation mode
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OceansWatch is an international organisation started in New Zealand who seek to help South Pacific Island communities deal with growing pollution and climate change. They have just started their new round of voyages for 2013, and there is room for you to help. Here is the first report:

The two OceansWatch yachts, Magic Roundabout and Cat Knapp have left Port Vila, Vanuatu, to begin their work with communities. Our projects in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands will assist them in managing their marine resources, support sustainable livelihood projects and provide environmental education.

Over the last week and a half the crews have been trained by Glenn Edney in the 'Reef Check' method of monitoring coral reefs as well as OceansWatch’s 'Reef Guardian' training program. The 'Reef Guardian' program is used to train the locals to monitor their own reefs. It is a more qualitative approach that has shown good correlation with scientific methods but is closer and more acceptable to traditional fisheries management.

OceansWatch training before they go
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Cat Knapp, with Glenn, Shelly Feduniw, Amick Haissoune and Jordan Smith-Newman has headed to Northern Vanuatu and their first port of call will be Esprito Santo where they will update Northern Fisheries Officer, Alsen Obed with this year’s itinerary.

Our other yacht, Magic Roundabout, with Chris Bone, Helen Beswick, Shannon Hurley, Paula Anton Codin and Carla Deane has headed to Lata in the Solomon Islands. Lata is the provincial capital of the Temotu Province and we will inform the local government and fisheries department of the projects we will be involved in before heading to the Reef Islands.

We have several other cruising yachts joining us in the Solomon Islands this year and some of these have been very helpful in assisting us to carry first aid supplies provided by Medical Aid Abroad to be given to the communities.

One of these yachts, 'Anna Rose,' will be used by another OceansWatch team later in the season to visit the Duff Islands and Vanikoro.

We are currently recruiting marine scientists and divers to join us on this trip. This will be for three months from the beginning of September.

If you are interested in joining this expedition please send your CV and a cover letter to julia@oceanswatch.org

Below are Jon and Nia Mora who will be leaving New Zealand aboard their yacht, Only Child, and heading to the Solomon Islands with first aid boxes to be given to the villages. Thanks to them and the others who are helping in this way.

OceansWatch volunteers Jon and Nia, taking their own boat Only Child
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If you want more information about OceansWatch and the work that they are doing, go to their website: www.oceanswatch.org.