In preparation for the upcoming, 2023-2026 DARWIN200 Global Voyage, over the summer of 2020, the DARWIN200 team voyaged around the UK on the tallship Pelican of London, circumnavigating the British Isles over 7 weeks.
The objective of the 2020 UK Voyage was undertake the global voyage in miniature, testing our systems at sea and under real-life conditions.
The 2020 UK Voyage involved a diverse group of young scientists and trainee sailors (many from underprivileged backgrounds, invited to take part as part of an upskilling initiative).
In partnership with the University of Plymouth, Pelican of London was equipped as a floating laboratory to study a range of conservation and wildlife subjects.
The young scientists investigated levels of pollution in sea water around the UK’s coasts, quantities of plastic waste washing up on our shores, sources of sustainable energy (including wind power) around the British Isles, as well as undertaking surveys of whales, dolphins, large ‘macrofauna’ fish (sunfish, basking sharks and bluefin tuna) and seabirds. Findings were beamed live from the ship over the course of the voyage and via online lectures.
In addition to undertaking their research projects, the team of young scientists made many interesting observations, including documenting several shoals of bluefin tuna (a species previously near-eradicated from UK waters, but now returning), and large aggregations of up to 30 sunfish (rare in UK waters).
The Beginning (the start of the Darwin200 project)
UK Voyage (the plan and the science team!)
Setting Sail (the Darwin200 UK Voyage begins, setting sail out of Sharpness Docks)
Dolphin Survey (Joe Ellison observes dolphins, whales, sharks and more)
Tackling Plastic (the Darwin200 team begins a survey of macro plastics in UK waters)
Life Aboard (a glimpse at life aboard the Darwin200 ship during the UK Voyage)
Journey to Scilly Isles (Darwin200 sails from Plymouth to the Scilly Archipelago)
Micro plastics in UK waters (young scientists investigate the impact plastic waste)
Diving the South West of the UK (the Darwin200 team explores British marine life)
Sunfish (the Darwin200 team observe unusually high numbers of sunfish in UK waters)
Manx shearwaters (30 shearwaters are released after landing on the Darwin200 ship)
Darwin200 voyages north from Lundy (through bad weather to Europe’s largest windfarm)
Plankton (Darwin200 young scientists study a world of life in a droplet of seawater)
Rathlin Island (the Darwin200 team finds rocky reefs, kelp forests and grey seals)
Darwin200 arrives in Scottish Waters (the team observes highland cattle and a bait ball)
Callanish Stones (Darwin200 team explores ancient bronze-age standing stone circle)
Gearrannan Blackhouses (Darwin200 visits a village of traditional Scottish stone houses)
Wind Turbines (The Darwin200 young scientists create their own mini wind turbines)
Hard Tack Bake Off! (a competition to see who can bake the best ship’s biscuits)
Naval History (Ash Dharmasingham compares the Darwin200 ship to Darwin’s HMS Beagle)
Scottish Marine Life (underwater world of sea lochs, wave-lashed islands and narrows)
Building a Wind Turbine (study project exploring sustainable wind power)
Great Egg Challenge! (a tradition on the tallship Pelican of London)
Darwin200 visits Bass Rock (world’s largest breeding colony of northern gannets)
UK Voyage finale (arrival into London and sailing under Tower Bridge)
Joe Ellison’s Whale and Dolphin Survey. 1 of 9.
Rohan Holt and Kerry MacKay’s Dive Survey. 2 of 9.
Molly Brennan’s Sea Water Temperature Study. 4 of 9
Aoibhinn Lynch and Kerry MacKay’s Macroplastic Survey. 5 of 9.
Darwin200 from the Isle of Lewis (Outer Hebrides, Scotland)
Darwin200 live from Bass Rock – home to 150,000 gannets!
Dr. Sarah Darwin’s live lecture from the Darwin200 Ship
Dr. Sylvia Earle’s live lecture from the Darwin200 Ship