Clean Up the Arctic expedition - win a crew place

by Katherine in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen

Clean Up the Arctic expedition - win a crew place
We did it
On 10th March 2019 we successfully raised £3,745 with 139 supporters in 21 days

Win a place on an expedition of a lifetime researching and reducing ocean plastic pollution.

by Katherine in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen

 New stretch target

Any extra money raised will be put towards our environmental mission. Improving our onboard ocean and wildlife monitoring equipment and helping us to spread the word, meaning that we will be able to do even more to help the oceans in the future. It will also contribute to supporting future 'academy' crew places on board to help aspiring ocean advocates and adventurers in the future.

Your chance to join an arctic ocean research and clean up expedition in the polar wilderness of Svalbard

  • Become part of the plastics solution 
  • Take part in marine mammal surveying
  • Participate in ocean research
  • Adventure deep in the arctic onboard a research expedition yacht
  • Undertake a sailing passage that few have done before you
  • Experience an adventure of a lifetime with purpose

8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean each year - we are determined to be part of the solution

Do you want to:

  • Gain ocean / marine biology research experience? 
  • Gain sailing experience and miles in the high latitudes?
  • Take part in an expedition in the frozen arctic wilderness?
  • Experience, Svalbard, a unique and rapidly environment?
  • Observe and help protect the wildlife of the arctic?
  • Be part of collecting valuable data for ocean protection?
  • Know that you have made a positive contribution to protecting our oceans?

Then grab this opportunity!

Building on the success of our 2018 Clean up the Arctic expedition, this year we will be taking our expedition yacht, Narwhal, to the polar wilderness of Svalbard. Here, amongst the ice and arctic wildlife we will tackle plastic pollution head-on and discover more about the issue through our research projects. This is your opportunity to join us. We have heard from so many people who are passionate about the oceans, marine wildlife and plastic pollution telling us that they would love the opportunity to take part in a research expedition like this but are not able to afford it. We strongly believe that money shouldn’t be a barrier to helping our planet and experiencing adventure in the remotest parts of the world, so here is our solution, an opportunity to win a place onboard our ocean research expedition.

Each £5 pledge will get you one chance to win (just like getting a raffle ticket). You can enter as many pledges as you like, each one increases your chance of winning.

Our 2018 expedition:

About the expedition

The expedition will run from 24th July - 8th August, starting in Longyearbyen in the frozen world of Svalbard and finishing in Tromsø in northern Norway. We will meet you in Longyearbyen and show you around the yacht, showing you how everything works onboard. Then we will set sail on our expedition, amongst the rugged beauty and wildlife of Svalbard. Each day we will be undertaking scientific projects and wildlife monitoring as we sail. We will also go ashore to survey and clean beach litter as well as having some time to enjoy our surroundings. Then the adventure really begins as we embark on an exciting offshore passage across the Barents Sea. On route we will be sampling the ocean waters for microplastics and recording the whales and wildlife. Our data will be especially valuable as so few vessels travel this remote area of ocean. We will be living, eating and sleeping on board the boat, a part of the ocean environment that we are striving to protect.

You don’t need to have any sailing or scientific experience to join the expedition. What you do need is an adventurous spirit, a desire to take positive action to help our oceans as well as being happy to be part of an expedition team, working and living closely on board the boat together in a demanding environment. This is an expedition in arctic waters, whilst we will be choosing where we go each day to make the best of the weather conditions and will provide you with warm, waterproof sailing and safety equipment, you should be in the mindset that this isn’t a sunbathing on deck kind of cruise. 

Expedition objectives

  • Conduct marine litter surveys on remote beaches in Svalbard
  • Remove marine litter from arctic beaches
  • Log marine litter in the open ocean with the University of Georgia Marine Debris Tracker project
  • Take open ocean trawl net samples to monitor microplastics
  • Conduct marine mammal surveying on Svalbard's coasts and in the open ocean
  • Record plankton levels recorded for the University of Plymouth's Secci disk project
  • Use photography to share a powerful message of how plastic pollution is affecting wildlife in the polar regions
  • Obtain unique footage and produce a documentary film of the expedition

What is required of you

  • Place your entry for your chance to win. You can enter as many times as you like, each £5 gets you a chance at winning. The more times you enter, the more likely you are to win.
  • You need to be available for the expedition dates and able to get yourself to and from the start and finish towns of Longyearbyen and Tromsø. (There are regular flights from Oslo and Tromso in Norway, so this isn’t too difficult).
  • You need to have a valid passport, any visas required to travel in Norway and adequate travel insurance for the duration of the trip.
  • You need to be over 18 yrs of age at the start of the trip.
  • The expedition involves sailing in remote arctic waters and not near immediate medical help, so you should have a reasonable degree of fitness, the ability to move around the boat safely and not have any medical conditions that require active treatment or are likely to be exacerbated during the expedition.
  • To be super-excited to play your part by joining an amazing expedition and saving our oceans!

A little bit about us...

My partner Eric and I run our expedition yacht 'Narwhal'. We are both life long sailors and are passionate about our oceans and their wildlife. Between us we have sailed many thousands of miles all around the planet but are drawn to the magic of the high latitudes. We have gained so much enjoyment from the ocean that we want to do our bit to put something back. I believe in inspiring people to love their environment, we protect what we love after all. And in spreading the environmental protection word through positive messages. You can learn more about us on our website, including finding out how Eric became the winning skipper in the Clipper Round the World race and my experiences of sailing around Cape Horn.

Narwhal is a 50ft expedition yacht. Made out of steel she is ideally suited for long expeditions in the high arctic. You can find out more about her, as well as take a peek below deck, here: 

You can find out more about ‘Narwhal Expeditions’ and our ocean advocacy work here


How will the money be spent

Running and expedition boat isn’t cheap. Something we know only too well re-fitting Narwhal out of our own funds. The running costs alone add up very quickly when you consider things like food, fuel, berthing fees, insurance, communications equipment, scientific equipment, life jackets, life rafts, flares, charts - all of which have to be serviced or renewed annually to meet the strict safety standards required by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that we adhere to to name just a few. Consequently, much though I would love to, we are not able to provide these wonderful expeditions for free. So this is my way of removing the cost barrier and opening this opportunity out to everyone. 

This is an all or nothing campaign so in order for anyone to win the chance to join the expedition we need to meet the full funding target of £3000. This will cover the running costs associated with being able to offer the place for free. If we raise more than the minimum £3000 then any extra money will be put towards improving our onboard ocean survey and wildlife monitoring equipment and helping us to spread the word, meaning that we will be able to do even more to help the oceans in the future. Your support is worth more than just pounds, knowing how many people are passionate about what we are doing is a real motivation.

Don’t want to risk not winning?

If you love the sound of joining this expedition but don’t want to take the risk of not winning, then we have one paid place available. You can see the full details and sign up here.

Thank you

Thanks so much for taking the time to read about our project. I hope you are feeling inspired to enter and the possibility of winning an ocean adventure of a lifetime. Even if you don’t feel like taking to the high seas right now you can still take a few simple actions to help support the expedition objectives and protect our oceans:

1) Share this far and wide, let your all your network know about it. This is an all or nothing campaign so if we don’t reach our target then no one will get to have this amazing opportunity.

2) You can make a donation without entering the competition. Your donation will not only support our ocean research but will help to give someone the opportunity of a lifetime. Maybe you will help spark the career of a ground breaking ocean scientist or campaigner. 

3) Visit our website or follow-us on facebook, twitter and Instagram @YachtNarwhal. Your support is amazing and keeps us motivated to keep doing what we are doing.

Take on your own ocean health challenge: Take in a re-useable mug next time you go for a coffee, use bees-wax sandwich wraps or switch shower gel for soap.

Thanks so much and good luck to everyone entering - you are all doing your bit to help our oceans!



When will the draw take place?

Monday 11th March 2019

What happens if I win?

You will be notified by email. You can then jump up and down in excitement! We will send you loads more details about the expedition. We will ask you to confirm that you are able to participate, that you can get to and from the expedition start and end points, and that you have the correct travel documentation, then it will be all about getting ready for an amazing adventure!

What is included in the expedition?

All meals and accommodation on board, marina fees, fuel, skipper and crew, sailing waterproofs, lifejackets, scientific equipment.

What isn’t included?

Travel to and from Longyearbyen and Tromsø, travel insurance

What if I can’t make the dates for the expedition?

Unfortunately this draw is for the specific expedition dates above. If you aren’t able to make these dates you can head to our website and see details of other expeditions that might suit you. 

You can also make a donation without entering the draw or forward details to someone you think might be free. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the person you passed the word to won the adventure of a lifetime?!

What happens if you don’t reach your target?

This is an all or nothing campaign so if we don’t reach our target of £3000 then and unfortunately there will not be a draw no one will get to win this amazing opportunity. You can help make sure that doesn’t happen by getting your entry in and spreading the word far and wide.

What happens if you exceed your target?

Any extra money raised will be put towards improving our onboard ocean and wildlife monitoring equipment, meaning that we will be able to do even more to help the oceans in the future as well as supporting crew places for aspiring ocean advocates and adventurers in the future.

Do I need to be an expert sailor?

No, the expert crew on board will take care of the boat and show you everything that you need to know if you want to build your sailing skills as well as saving the ocean. During the expedition we will be taking part in an exciting offshore passage from Svalbard to Norway. The crossing will take us approx 4-5 days, sailing through the day and night. During this time you will be working in a shift or 'watch' system to keep the boat sailing 24hrs per day. Leaving sight of land is a special experience and completing an ocean crossing brings a sense of achievement like no other. Whilst you don't need any sailing experience to take part in the expedition, you should have a sense of adventure and a desire to be a part of the team.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£5 or more

In with a chance!

That's you in with a chance of winning! Awesome!

£10 or more

Double your odds!

Two entries, doubling your chances of winning the expedition slot.

£20 or more

Sporting chance!

This gets you 4 entires in to the draw. Really increasing your chance of winning a place on this once in a lifetime experience

£30 or more

Lucky break

6 chance to win with this pledge. That's a 1/100 chance of winning if we are bang on our fundraising target!

£50 or more

I really want this!!!

This looks awesome, I really don't want to miss out!! I'm increasing may chances with 10 entires!!!

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