Sailing the Atlantic 2013-15
In June 2013 Matt Scott, 27; Giulia Tyzack, 29; and Igor Gotlibovych, 27, all three recent PhD graduates, bought Auriga, a 30' Albin Ballad sailing yacht. In August 2014 Igor and Matt set sail reaching Rio de Janeiro, via Cape Verde, in January 2015. After a crew change, Giulia and Matt returned to Britain in July 2015 after spending March in the Caribbean.
The crew highlight the satisfaction of making the newly bought boat seaworthy (involving its complete overhaul), the wildlife encountered, the freedom experienced during the trip and the multiple opportunities to get involved in the local cultures of the visited countries. The team successfully completed a tour through two hemispheres, nine countries, thousands of miles, and countless dreams.
In August and September 2014, a team of Cambridge students, led by Olivia Taylor, travelled to Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas to conduct dissertation research on the topic of migration as a result of water scarcity in the remote Zanskar valley, which is accessible by a two-day 4x4 drive. The team was struck by the locals' generosity, willingness to help and curiosity. The Cambridge team also helped with barley harvesting and the re-builiding of the prayer house.
After 3 weeks researching, the team trekked out of the Zanskar valley, going for over a week without contact with any civilisation, finishing at a new village that had been built by the migrants. The Zanskar 2014 trip is an excellent example of how an expedition needn´t necessarily finish upon returning to the UK. The team is still very much active on twitter, and are now working on producing an extended report and a short documentary using the footage recorded whilst in India. It also goes a long way to show how adventure can be combined with research, resulting in a fun and productive trip!
"The goal of the expedition, named Japan 3k, was to connect the northernmost tip of Japan, Cape Soya, to the southernmost tip of Kyushu, Cape Sata, by bicycle in 29 days. On the way, we would cycle through the four main islands of Japan trying to absorb as much of the cultural aspects as we could at the same time as we overcame the physical challenges imposed by our rhythm and tight schedule."
Team leader Ivo highlights the cultural diversity and genuine generosity encountered in Japan. Memorable moments include being invited for tea in a traditional Japanese house, spending the night in a monastery and being invited to join a morning work out by a group of octagenerians!
In July 2014 two Ecology undergraduates set out to travel the distance between Whitehorse and Dawson City by foot and canoe. Joe Halstead and Rogelio Luque-Lora (CUEX Expeditions Co-ordinator 2014-2015, CUEX President 2015-16) highlight the 400km unsupported canoe route on the Yukon River as a unique way to experience the rugged landscape and view its wildlife, including moose, eagles and a black bear. The team also had the opportunity to learn about the history and local cultures of the area, stopping at historical landmarks such as Fort Selkirk and talking to First Nations workers and travellers.
On the way home from Whitehorse, the team was lucky enough to hike the West Coast Trail in Vancouver Island, ranked as one of the top four treks in the world. The trail runs both through temperate rainforest and on the beach, from where sea lions and gray whales were seen.
The Cambridge University Brazilian Expedition (CUBE) set out to the Serra Da Capivara National Park in Piaui, for 6 weeks of mapping from the 21st July to the 31st August 2014. The primary aim of the expedition was to map the geological units of two roughly 15 km2 overlapping areas that lay over the contact between a known Mesozoic cratonic basin and the pre-existing (Palaeozoic) basement rock. Secondary aims were to investigate the formation of the cratonic basin, a topic little understood at present.
The expedition was a success, having produced two geological maps and provided much data as clues as to how the basin formed. This will be followed up next year by other members of the department, with a seismic reflection profile across the entire basin. Our maps will be used to link this profile to outcropping lithologies.
In the summer of 2013 a team of three Cambridge undergraduates travelled to the Trollaskagi region in the north of Iceland on a trekking and mountaineering expedition. The all female team Olivia Taylor (CUEX president 2013-14), Anna Clark (CUEX president 2014-15) and Helen Simpkiss spent 12 days in the wilderness completely unsupported with the only contact to civilisation via a satellite phone. Despite the worst August weather conditions in the area for over 20 years the team achieved the summit of Mt. Blekill and another smaller peak.
Upon return to civilisation the team enjoyed finding out more about the Icelandic culture sampling fishy delicacies and local outdoor thermal baths. They also embraced the unique opportunity to swim in the icy water that flows between the Eurasian and North American continental plates.