Your browser is no longer supported. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

South West revealed as hotbed for the nation’s explorers of tomorrow – Exeter comes third

February 11, 2023 | News

The search for a group of intrepid explorers who will join a pioneering, high Arctic waters expedition, journeying from Svalbard, via London and Plymouth, and on to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Northern Canada, has revealed that the South West is the UK’s hotbed for the nation’s emerging explorers.

To date, 53% of all global expressions of interest in the Ocean Warrior Project #Resolute Expedition, designed by one of the world’s most experienced and respected explorers, Jim McNeill, have come from the South West. While London came out as top city for most enquiries, Plymouth was not far behind, followed by Exeter in third, then Bristol and Birmingham. Truro came in twelfth.

To make the scientifically significant trip possible, Jim is looking for 134 would-be explorers (ordinary people with little or no experience) who will join ten individuals from unprivileged backgrounds, fully funded by Jim himself.

The voyage’s goal is to monitor the pulse of the planet using citizen science, implemented by would-be explorers sailing and staying on board Europe’s largest three-mast wooden Schooner, SV Linden; itself modelled on a ship of the same name from the 1920s.

The expedition, which leaves in June and returns in October, has eight legs, sailing from Svalbard to Plymouth via London, followed by legs to Iceland, South Greenland, Resolute Bay via Baffin Island and back to Nuuk, then on to West Greenland, Nararsuaq in South Greenland, Reykjavik, and finally back to Plymouth via the Faroe Isles.  The expedition will be one of the most sustainable and important of its kind ever undertaken.

UK and Ireland’s top locations for would-be explorers

1.     London

2.     Plymouth

3.     Exeter

4.     Bristol

5.     Birmingham

6.     Manchester

7.     Belfast

8.     Leeds

9.     Bradford

10.  Dublin

11.  Glasgow

12.  Truro

13.  Edinburgh

14.  Southampton

15.  Sheffield

16.  Leicester

17.  Cardiff

18.  Bangor

19.  Cambridge

20.  Liverpool

Geographically, Yorkshire was the third most popular location from which individuals have expressed an interest in the 10,000 nautical mile expedition, followed by Northern Ireland and Ireland, the Midlands, Scotland, the North West, and then Wales.

Commenting on interest in the Ocean Warrior #Resolute Expedition, Jim McNeill said: “Britain and Ireland have a wonderful heritage of explorers.

“Sir Francis Drake, Robert Falcon Scott, and Richard Francis Burton were all brought up in Devon. James Cook was born in Marton, Yorkshire. David Livingstone lived in Blantrye, Scotland. Henry Morton Stanley was born in Denbigh, Wales. William Baffin spent his formative years in London, and Ernest Shackleton was born in County Kildare, Ireland. All had a burning desire to discover and explore parts of the world that few had ever encountered. My goal, through the Ocean Warrior Project, is to share the gift of exploration with individuals from all walks of life, helping those from ordinary backgrounds achieve the extraordinary.”

Jim McNeill added: “Adventurous travellers, be they students on a gap year, individuals on a sabbatical, professionals sponsored by companies, or retirees looking for a new challenge, have the opportunity to join this scientifically significant and life-changing endeavour. They will take part in an unparalleled experience while making an invaluable difference to our understanding of the health of our oceans, through the collection of data for scientific bodies.

“Our voyage will collect critical ‘ground truthing’ scientific measurements to help deliver ‘the holy grail of oceanography’: understanding how much carbon is stored in our oceans, and how this is impacting on acidification, pollution, and species in our oceans.”

Up to 18 individuals will join each leg, and while no previous experience is required, aspiring explorers will need to show initiative, resilience, tenacity, and good humour, and must apply before the end of February.

Explorers on the voyage will learn new and potentially life-changing skills, including:

  • guidance on fundraising to help pay for the expedition
  • on-vessel training in sailing and the use of scientific equipment to measure the pulse of the planet
  • training in maritime safety, resulting in a certificate in Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping; (STCW: A V1/1-1 and 1-4); required by all crew on commercial vessels over 24 metres
  • team building and resilience in the face of adversity

Legs start from £8,000 for the shortest nine-day leg, rising through to £18,000 for the longest 31-day leg. A deposit of 25% is required, followed by full payment by 1st May, giving individuals time for fundraising. Tickets for the optional selection weekend cost £200, the next of which will be held on 3-5 March.

Link to full details of the legs and costs here.

To find out more information about Ocean Warrior Project, the #Resolute Expedition, its selection process, and how to join as a self-funded, or fundraised participant, visit or