Since Lauren Morrell (Himalaya Selection Camp) was in Borneo on the Pangaea, she had a dream to start the first Pangaea project in the USA, the Explore To Restore Project. It aims to improve the water quality of the Severn River and making the youth more aware of the impact their lifestyle has on the environment. Six Young Explorers travelled thousands of miles, from Germany, Switzerland, France and Australia, to support Lauren and spend eight unforgettable days in Annapolis.
We met in New York City where Pangaea had been anchored for a week: we all started running when we saw the boat. After a warm welcome by Mike and Jacek, we did a short but fantastic sailing trip with Panerai around the Statue of Liberty: it was a dream come true for me, having never been on the Pangaea before…
After a two days and a long night of sailing, we arrived in Annapolis, a nice small town with a beautiful harbour next to the Severn River. We stayed in Annapolis until the 8th of October and sailed to the National Aquarium in Baltimore during the night. Luckily we got free Aquarium tickets and had the stand-up paddle boards from the Nunavut Expedition: we showed interested people the boat and went stand-up paddle boarding in the harbour. This was a lot of fun because no one had seen people stand-up paddle boarding in the harbor before. The next day (back in Annapolis) was really busy, starting with a tour together with a “Severn Riverkeeper”, a local NGO, taking water measurements. We then did a presentation at Lauren’s school, which I was really scared of, because we spoke in front of 400 students: this what was quite an experience for most of us!
The following days we had two tree-plantings, one next to Annapolis and one in a real swamp! Planting trees in a swamp was a unique experience. You really have to watch out that you don’t sink into the mud. Rebecca Berker (Mongolia Selection Camp; Borneo Project) started to sink and was hip-deep in the mud when we pulled her out!
We spent our last evening on board Pangaea, having long discussions with Mike about projects and Pangaea: this was really inspiring. Most YEPs sailed back to NYC that night, experiencing rough seas.
It was hard to believe that our fantastic time was over… we left the US with minds full of new impressions and unforgettable experiences…