Sea Dragon to sail into Lamlash Bay on 17th August

by Sue Weaver of Kildonan

eXXpedition Round Britain’s yacht Sea Dragon will complete the first leg of her voyage around the British Isles by sailing into Lamlash Bay on August 17th. With her all-women crew of 14 – mostly volunteers – she’s trawling for plastics and toxics in the seas around Britain, aiming to complete the first ever 30 day snapshot of the state of our seas. A large number of scientific projects are being carried out, from trawling the waters, with different grades of filter, scooping sediments for analysis of microfibres – to catching the wind – to see if microplastics are being carried through the air.

Sea Dragon will be at anchor in the bay for 36 hours, with assistance from the Ocean Breeze RiB to bring her crew onshore and deliver donations of new supplies from the Brodick Co-op. Whilst onshore the crew will be borrowing the Lifeboat Station for an outreach event, with visiting scientists, microscopes courtesy of COAST to look at the ocean findings, displays and information and the Meek girls’ (Kids against plastic) Water Table for younger children. COAST are organising a simultaneous beach survey and beach clean and other events celebrating the Wild.

In the evening, the crew will be found in the Pierhead Tavern from 7.30, telling Tales from the Sea Dragon, with generous assistance from local musicians. This looks to be quite a welcome to an international crew who will just have sailed from Wales and Northern Ireland, making landfall in Scotland for the first time.

Sea Dragon under full sail crossing the Atlantic

Since the idea for the circumnavigation first popped into my head 18 months ago, it seems as if the problems of plastic waste have come ever more into the public eye. In just the last few days, Sea Dragon’s old crew member, Professor Jenna Jambeck, has co-published yet another piece of ground breaking research, estimating the amount of plastic ever produced at 8.3 billion metric tons, most of which now resides in landfill or in the natural environment. This figure is already being used by campaigners to show the size of a problem which won’t go away. The research can be found at and further below is a diagram summarising the findings.

Sometimes too, there is good news. Something is being done. As I write today, the government has promised to make good in part on a pledge to ban microbeads – but only in cosmetic products that are rinsed off, and not in those left on, like cosmetics and sunscreen. And not in household cleaning products. Much, much more needs to be done if we are ever to stop the appalling damage we are doing to our oceans and eXXpedition Round Britain is all about showing what we can do.

More details of the voyage can be found here.

Credit: University of Georgia / Janet A. Beckley