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The crew under the lights Captain Bob strung up throughout the rigging of the Odyssey on Christmas eve.
Photo: Chris Johnson

December 25, 2002
A Holiday Message from the Odyssey
  Real Audio

Log Transcript

This is Genevieve Johnson speaking to you from the Odyssey in the Indian Ocean on Christmas day.

Since leaving Mahe almost a week ago we have sailed with planets and stars as our guiding lights, our path lit by the moon's reflection on the ocean's rippled surface.

Christmas this year for the Odyssey crew is being spent almost 600 miles from the nearest port, where half of the view is sky, the other half ocean. As we are travelling to the Maldives, we are reminded once again that the open sea can be overwhelming. It is a world traditionally alien to us bipeds, and here we are the visitors rather than the residents.

As Carl Safina wrote in his book -'Eye of the Albatross'-
"As you stand on any boats deck, you are reminded that legs are useless on three quarters of the earth's surface. Whales and dolphins descendants of quadrupeds came to resemble fish so they could triple the size of their world. If you are a person, to get anywhere at sea you need a vessel. And that's what makes boats so special, they are the magic carpets of most of the planet's surface."

As we sail on Odyssey, our own 'magic carpet', we are immersed in our work and surrounded by wildlife. Living in an otherworldly place where humans are in the minority is a peculiar feeling, it gives us a fresh perspective, an appreciation for the vastness of the ocean and a sense of what the world used to be like - a world that for ages belonged only to non-human forms of life.

For the Odyssey crew, the open ocean is peaceful and soothing. It has come to be the backdrop against which we live and work as it blends easily into our daily routines. Yet we never tire of our surroundings, the ocean is always surprising and invigorating - out here we are a part of the wild ocean ecology.

The crew was able to take a short break from the usual schedule of helm and watch duties today to indulge in Christmas festivities on the aft deck. The dinner was a result of a joint effort of combined tastes and limited options, but for us it was the best meal we had tasted for a while. We had several visitors drop by in shifts throughout the afternoon - tropicbirds, boobies, flying fish and dolphins were all on the guest list.

On Christmas morning, the crew took time out to exchanged gifts under a makeshift green tinsel tree. Left to right - Captain Bob Wallace, Mark Preedy, Yasmin Hunt, Genevieve Johnson & Chris Johnson.
Photo: Chris Johnson

At times like this, life at sea can be extremely hard. We miss our friends and family and the familiarity of land, but then you remember you are working with endangered animals in an environment that requires urgent and unwavering attention. We are working to make a difference and that makes us feel proud, for us, it makes life worth living and a Christmas at sea even more special.

On the Voyage of the Odyssey, we are able to do something tangible - remove fishing gear from entangled animals, pick up garbage from an area of beach where turtles are nesting, show children images of the incredible array of marine life that inhabit the waters of which they are the custodians and help show governments that the marine sanctuaries they have created are making a difference.

Not everyone can join the Odyssey on her five-year global expedition, but we can all help to improve the plight of our beleaguered oceans and their diminishing inhabitants. Dispose of waste responsibly, recycle and purchase less plastic material and perhaps most importantly, learn to be a responsible consumer of seafood by supporting sustainable fisheries only. If we can take these small steps, we will all continue to benefit from the wonders of a healthy marine ecosystem. This is our holiday message to you.


  • Click here to learn more about how you can select your seafood wisely.
  • Where was the crew of the Odyssey on Christmas day, two years ago? Find out more.

    Written by Genevieve Johnson

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