There was an energy and excitement in the air at the Indian Harbor Yacht Club (IHYC) in Greenwich Connecticut, last Thursday evening (10 October, 2002), when the WildlifeSAIL team presented their project with colorful slides and action video shots from the field to the Indian Harbor Yacht Club membership.
Outside, in the cool Connecticut autumn darkness, the rain danced upon the black bay water amongst a multitude of sailing yachts, resting at their moorings. However, inside the IHYC's Model Room, the show was on, as the WildlifeSAIL sailors and scientists described their ambitious 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation agenda, who's mission it is to conduct marine research, while reaching out to a new generation about the importance and exciting challenges of marine conservation.
The 45-minute presentation was opened up by the "Wildlife" catamaran co-skippers, J.F. Thye and Florian Wilken, who introduced the WildlifeSAIL mission, history, team members, science, education, and outreach programs. Shortly after, Coral Reef Genetic Scientist, Andrew Baker, and Shark Expert, Ramon Bonfil, of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), presented insight on the diverse research and conservation science that will be conducted on the "Wildlife" catamaran during its global expedition.
The evening took on a special meaning for all attendees, because of the immediacy of the "Wildlife" catamaran's departure on her first maiden leg of the WildlifeSAIL circumnavigation route. Florian Wilken and JF Thye will embark from Southern Spain on November 25th on a 3,500 nautical mile journey across the Atlantic and into the Caribbean. There the WildlifeSAIL field team will conduct their first set of continental shelf and in-shore research projects, in addition to a showing at the Miami Boat Show and collaborative events with educational institutions in Miami.