The four South-African learners who joined the expedition for a week at Mossel Bay share their impression and thoughts after such a once-in-a-lifetime experience on board Fleur de Passion.

« The reason I am so happy about this is because I believe that there is so much to learn and also so much to experience. I also love the ocean because there is so much that we don’t see… only when we start loving it we must find ways on how to protect it…. » Zainabo Anzuruni (18 years old), Gansbaai Academia Learners

« This was a wonderful opportunity and I am forever grateful. I am on the water since I was 3 years old…have almost 1 000 hours on the water. As a family we live from the ocean… we make our living from it. I love the ocean and know we must take care of it. » Caitlin Van Eeden (15 years old), Gansbaai Academia Learners

« I am from the Eastern Cape and never thought this opportunity will come my way. I am so grateful for CapeNature and my school and Switzerland. I will remember this for ever. » Phumelela Siweni (17 years old), Gansbaai Academia Learners

« I am grateful for this trip as we learned about the ocean, we also had the opportunity to meet new amazing people that have been all over the world and who shared their vast knowledge with us. I love the ocean because it is one of the most amazing communities with so many species in the ocean and still so many for us to learn about. It is up to us to preserve this wonderful example of biodiversity for future generations to come. » Kyle Saville ( 17 years old), Generation Schools Hermanus Learner

The project was organized with CapeNature, a public institution mandated to promote and ensure biodiversity conservation within the Western Cape, with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa (Science and Technology Division). It was put in place to promote South African youth members who have an interest in marine life to interact with youth from Switzerland. And to experience life at sea while working as a team in assisting with taking samples and learning more about ocean and marine life. 

CapeNature CEO Dr Razeena Omar is positive that this opportunity has provided learners with the platform to shape their future careers and impact their young lives forever. « Our hearts are full and it is inspiring to see the faces and hear the testimonies of how this experience has impacted their lives. The Ocean Mapping Expedition lead by Geneva-based non-profit Fondation Pacifique is doing exceptional work and we are honoured to have partnered on this initiative. CapeNature’s community conservation teams work very closely with the schools and youth in the areas surrounding our nature reserves in the Western Cape. Therefore, this collaboration was an obvious fit as it is part of our core mandate to nurture the skills and passion in marine science from an early age and provide access to our marine protected areas, rivers and estuaries for educational purposes. »

Four teenagers from the Cape region can’t believe the experience that opens up to them. Two girls and two boys aged 16-17 - Caitlin, zainabo, Kyle and phumelela - and their project coordinator Edward who just embarked on Fleur de Passion in Knysna in late November 2018 for a short week of navigation to mosselbay. How did they find themselves aboard this Swiss sailboat, not being sailors themselves? They simply won the contest organized this autumn in the schools of the region by CapeNature, a government organization responsible for the maintenance of wild areas and natural reserves of the Western Cape Province. A project supported by the Swiss Embassy in Pretoria.

The contest was aimed at young people rather interested in science in marine biology. The aim was to enable them to take part in The Ocean Mapping Expedition, live the experience from within and even participate in the scientific part of the expedition under the supervision of the crew.

Beyond scientific concerns, the project was resolutely aiming at echoing the very spirit of sharing experience that characterizes the expedition, since the opportunity would also be given to them to meet and exchange with the two young Swiss deckhands, Noé and Valentin, onboard from Maputo as part of the Youth at Sea program.

In their company, a fifth South African has also embarked in Knysna: Cartoonist Anton Kannenmayer, aka Joe dog, one of the leaders of the comic strip in his country and far beyond, we will more in depth talk about him very soon...

We wish them all a very warm welcome on board and good wind for these few days that will remain engraved in their memory. And we express our sincerest thanks to CapeNature and the embassy for joining the adventure that made possible the boarding of our four new South African « ship’s apprentices ».

The idea developed soon after the arrival of the expedition in Tahiti in June 2016 after exciting meetings and exchanges with local scientific, environmental and socio-educational representatives. These became a concrete program a few months later: two primary school classes from Papeete and their teachers had the privilege - and joy - to board Fleur de Passion for a one day sea trip on 25 and 30 August. Sixty children aged 12-13, for whom this introduction to sailing was an amazing first experience. The fundamental issue, however, was another. It was for them to understand the marine world from a closer point of view and to extend in this new and exciting way the advocacy work done in the classroom. Mission accomplished, if we can judge by the stars shining in the eyes of these "buccaneers" for a day when they returned to port.