November 2013--March 2014, Heath, MA                                                                                                                                                              See  the IR Facebook page for latest related news

 


Become a Friend of Island Reach
  and make a tax-deductible donation of ANY amount through our fiscal sponsor, The Ocean Foundation.  Your participation gives us confidence and inspiration and your gift goes directly to work in the field.   Our fundraising goal for 2014 is $30,000. 

We look forward to welcoming you as a community partner supporting this grassroots project. There are many opportunities to deepen your involvement if you're interested.  We'd like to hear from you.

Also, if you know other folks who might be interested, please consider introducing them to Island Reach.


 

2014 International Year of Family Farming

"The International Year of Family Farming 2014 is an initiative promoted by the World Rural Forum and supported by over 360 civil society and farmers’ organizations. This worldwide celebration, declared by the United Nations General Assembly, aims to become a tool to stimulate active policies for sustainable development of agricultural systems based farmer families, communal units, indigenous groups, cooperatives and fishing families.

All this work is being made from the perspective of effectively combating poverty and hunger and the search for a rural development based on the respect for environment and biodiversity."

http://www.familyfarmingcampaign.net/

 

February 2014:  Aqualung USA has made a large donation of snorkel packs to outfit RV Llyr's onboard educational kit and to provide additional sets to Vanuatu schools working on reef and ocean ecology.  Aqualung has a storied history of conservation support dating back to their foundation by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aqua-lung      And here   is their Eco-support page at their home website:  http://www.aqualung.com/us/content/view/260/321/


December 2013
 Check out the fun
VIMEO Video introducing the cast of expedition characters at:
Sail, Expedition Llyr .

November 2013, Heath, MA

New collaboration with The Ocean Foundation

We're thrilled to announce that Island Reach is collaborating  with The Ocean Foundation (TOF), who will serve as our fiscal sponsors, enabling us to receive tax-deductible donations and apply for grants. This is a great opportunity for Island Reach and we thank The Ocean Foundation for welcoming us!

September-October 2013

We are in discussions with Vanuatu based Live & Learn.org and the Vanuatu Farm Support Association (FSA) who run numerous projects in the archipelago.  They have been very kind and indicate a wide array of projects they may like to use Island Reach resources for in 2014.

We are also in discussions with members of Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community (POETCom) who work with the FSA as well as with OceansWatch.com who also work in Vanuatu.

April - September 2013, Bocas delToro, Panama to Vuda Point, Fiji



8000 nautical miles. We've made it!
                                                                                                                                           (Route)

 



The 2013 expedition transecting the South Pacific has completed with RV Llyr refit and tucked in for the cyclone season at Vuda Point Marina, Fiji.   Our route this year has taken us through the remarkable Panama Canal, followed by a month-long offshore trip to the Marquesas in French Polynesia. From there, we traveled south the the low-lying coral atolls of the Tuamotus, and then westward to the Society Islands. We left French Polynesia from Bora Bora, bound for Suwarrow, an uninhabited island in the northern Cooks, and then turned back south to explore the Vava'u island group in Tonga before our final 2013 destination of Fiji. Above the water, we've been interviewing a variety of people --fishers, farmers, teachers, community leaders, scientists -- to learn about their pressing concerns and their knowledge of these land- and seascapes. Our encounters have affirmed our understanding that what is lacking in the region to achieve conservation efforts is not good ideas -- there are plenty-- but the infrastructure that can make them hum. In archipelagos such as those common to the South Pacific, this means boats, lots of boats. Below the water, we became Reefcheck Pacific Ecodivers and Trainers and witnessed a tremendous amount of struggling coral reefs.

Our arrival in Fiji, after three years of training, work, study, and expedition,  also marks Llyr's arrival in the vicinity of her service work:  The Vanuatu archilepago, Melanesia. We'll be working with island communities in Vanuatu from  April to September and will return to Fiji each September for refit and storage for Llyr between the months of October and April.

Over the next months, we'll be working hard in Heath, developing our new volunteer service entity, Island Reach.

Spring 2013

BSG-Farm suffers the second year in a row of a below-average harvest related to strong and unstable weather patterns and early warming during the late Winter harvest.

2012

Salem, Massachusetts to Panama

We departed from Salem, Harbor, and headed out across the Gulf Stream for our first port of call, Bermuda.  Cold weather on departure and a gulfstream storm ahead!  We're happy to arrive in Bermuda 8 days later, having made our first offshore passage aboard Llyr. Our 2013 passage-making took us through the Mona passage to the southern coast of Dominican Republic.   We worked with Dr. Ruben Torres at La Caleta Marine Park who trained Connor and Brooks as Caribbean Reefcheck Trainers and introduced us to the Blue Flag program and coral park management.    On to the southern coast of Haiti where we were joined by Dr. Greg Hodgson, Reef Check executive director, and two team members  to conduct surveys of reef systems for possible establishment of marine protected areas along 200 miles of Haiti's rugged South and windy lee shore.  Investigations continued through July in Providencia, Columbia, at Co-op Tarcoles, Costa Rica and in Bocas  del Toro Panama where Llyr went into Winter storage and refit. 

Spring 2012 

April--Crewed aboard sv Samana Virgin Islands to Trinidad offshore passage

BSG Farm experiences first below average harvest yields in 13 years
 due to dramatic early warmup late March.

December 2011

Brooks, Janis, Connor and Rowan certify as Reef Check Caribbean Ecodivers. Trained by Cpt. Jessica Pulfer at Marine
Lab, Key Largo, FL


September 2011

Gulf of Maine Shakeout expedition to Bar Harbor to lecture at College of the Atlantic and participate in World Ocean Clean up Day.

July 2011

Llyr moves from Kittery ME to Salem Harbor, MA for a Winter slip and sailtraining in Massachusetts Bay.

February 2011

Purchase "Mother of Perl" (Llyr's first name) in Portsmouth NH from Captain Ben Smith who took us on for a time as students.  Extensive boat refit by our family gets underway in Kittery, ME.  Doyle Sail produces Llyr's four custom heavy weather Dimension Polyant sails.


December 2010

Training with Ocean School of Sailing, USVI, Captains Larry & Letty Wheeler

December 2008

BSG Farm hit by a historic damaging ice storm and loses 1000 producing maple trees, many torn up by the roots, with other trees extensively damaged and 20 miles of harvest lines knocked down or buried.  The town of Heath was occupied by the National Guard during recovery and extensive, generous community assistance helped us rebuild what we could while closing the North and West bushes for future assesment of recovery.

This storm was a culmination of a pattern of forest biome decline developing over previous years where excessive drought and wind events folded into a Lacanium Scale infestation and then a massive outbreak of Forest Tent Caterpillars across Western MA and Vermont in 2006.  The farm's maple trees were over 90% defoliated in June.  Weakened trees then encountered the historic 2008 ice storm.  These events were educating us about the complex expressions of climate change over time as we also read extensively about what was rapidly occuring in ocean ecosystems.  It was in 2009 that we determined to dedicate ourselves to both the recovery of BSG Farm and to a full-on effort to contribute our skills and resources to ocean conservation in a practical way, as harvesters reaching out to harvesters.  This was the inception of intensive training, building and investigations that would lead to Island Reach.

 


 

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