Atlantic Calling Rowing Challenge
Earthwatch staff member Lloyd Figgins is preparing to set out on a two-man mission to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a rowboat in early December. Lloyd will be joined by crewmate David Whiddon in a quest to set a new world record, while also collecting scientific data for Earthwatch and raising funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
In December 2011, Lloyd and David will depart from Agadir, Morocco, and row to Barbados—an epic journey of 3,000 nautical miles. They will row individually in shifts of two hours—24 hours a day for up to 100 days. They will live aboard a 23-foot plywood rowing vessel, Atlantic Calling, for the duration of the crossing, during which they will be at the mercy of 40-foot waves, sharks, headwinds, blistering heat, and ferocious storms.
In his capacity as head of global field safety for Earthwatch, Lloyd draws on many years of experience in organizing and executing safe expeditions in remote and challenging locations—training that has stood him in good stead for his upcoming challenge.
“After months of thorough planning, preparation, and specialist training, we are raring to get started now. For me this has been a dream for a long time. It’s great to also have the opportunity to collect data for Earthwatch about the marine life we encounter on the way.”
During the long hours at sea, David and Lloyd will record sightings of marine species such as whales, dolphins, and sharks. The data will be fed into international databases that will help to inform scientists about the distribution and conservation status of these species.
Dr. Sam Burgess, senior research manager for Earthwatch’s marine projects, says, “The information that Lloyd and David will collect during their expedition is a natural extension of Earthwatch’s mission—to get people involved in hands-on scientific research. We have given them some introductory training in species identification, and now they are demonstrating that you don’t need to be a scientist to get out there, learn about your environment, and make a valuable contribution—but of course, you don’t have to row across the Atlantic to do that!”
Lloyd and David have also set a fundraising target for the expedition of £24,000 in aid of the RNLI, who save lives at sea through their lifeboat stations and beach lifeguards.
The pair depart for Morocco on November 29 to make the final preparations for their expedition. Their scheduled departure date from Morocco is December 4.
Follow the progress of Atlantic Calling by visiting atlanticcalling.com.