Gulf of Maine

We’re starting this 2023 season in the Gulf of Maine and the Canadian Maritimes. In 2024, we return to Greenland.

ArcticEarth has a fresh coat of bottom paint, thanks to 2023 Mate Eva Griffiths, recently returned from a UMaine research trip in Tierra Del Fuego during the southern summer.

2023 Expeditions

Our expeditions start this week with a fourteen-day trip to the high seas and some offshore support for a film and science group. We are also pleased to announce a multi-year relationship with the Ocean Genome Atlas Project, beginning this summer [below]. Lastly, for those of you considering a trip north with us in the future, you can get out on the water with ArcticEarth in July and August… a bit closer to home. How does the gateway to the Arctic tie to the north and the rest of the planet? 

The author and all-around rock star Nigel Calder examines ArcticEarth's 8 solar panels.
With help from Nigel and Bruce Schwab at Ocean Planet Energy, the present alternator may be upgraded.

Spring Activities

Lots of preventative maintenance and repair wrapped up recently: a new shaft seal and rope-cutter went onto the propeller shaft, thanks to the expertise of Mike Richardson, Steph Cech, and Matt Graham at Lyman Morse yard in Camden. While hauled, we also landed alongside URCHIN, one of our three Good Hope 56′ expedition sister ships designed by Ed Joy. 

I met Stuart Kirk as URCHIN passed through, en route from Cape Town, South Africa to Greenland.

Captain Alejandro Jara Villameura will drive the 2023 ArcticEarth SOUTH season. Originally from Barcelona, he skippered vessels in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and SouthEast Asia before discovering Chilean Patagonia, South Georgia, and Antarctica. In 2023, he skippered the former Pelagic Australis (Witness) for Greenpeace. He speaks Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, some Italian. Alex loves wildlife, documentaries, and is a keen mechanic and cook.

Underwater DP Nick Caloyianis spends a weekend with us, testing both a new custom dry suit and camera housings for manufacturers.
Nick also orients us to a simple Deep Trekker 4k ROV system that will be on board this summer.

Ocean Genome Atlas Project

San Francisco Baykeeper founder Mike Herz introduced me to Peter Molnar this winter, co-founder of the Ocean Genome Atlas Project (OGAP).  This ambitious effort is deploying state-of-the-art mobile labs throughout the world’s oceans, sampling millions of planktonic and benthic organisms, observing, documenting and performing a full range of genomic analysis  and finally employing artificial intelligence (AI) to process the datasets. After several trips, including one onboard the Vinson of Antarctica, the work has been chosen as United Nations Ocean Shot Project.

Co-Founder and lead scientist Leonid Moroz visits ArcticEarth in April.
80% of the extant marine species worldwide are unknown.
The 3D genome atlas will be at single-cell resolution. 
Starting this summer, ArcticEarth will be partnering with OGAP over 3 years. The voyages will be similar to the one pictured above on board the high-latitude vessel Vinson of Antarctica.

“Will undoubtedly shape our understanding of the global ecosystem for decades to come.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies

A new book is available in fall of 2023, by celebrated genome scientist J. Craig Venter. Our production team sailed and filmed with Craig and his team off and on over a five-year period, producing two films commissioned by the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel as part of their QUEST initiative [trailer for one below]. 

In his Substack weekly column The Crucial Years, the astute Bill McKibben points to the of the Climate Change Institute of UMaine. Freaky data: since March, the ocean is very suddenly getting warmer at the surface (at left, dark line on top). As the BBC pointed out, the numbers are extreme.

In March, sea surface temperatures off the east coast of North America were as much as 13.8C higher than the 1981-2011 average.

“It’s not yet well established, why such a rapid change, and such a huge change is happening,” said Karina Von Schuckmann, the lead author of a new study and an oceanographer at the research group Mercator Ocean International.

The Hurricane Island Field Research Station has made huge progress since our March JOURNAL newsletter! The carbon negative project from OPAL uses CLT and wood fiber insulation from TimberHP

A Compass Light / Lewis Family Foundation film is in production.