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The current crew of the R/V Odyssey - (from left to right) Verity Steptoe, Chris Johnson, Genevieve Johnson, Mark Preedy, Kim Greutzmacher, and Bob Wallace.

Click here to read bios of the crew.
Photo : Bob Pittman

March 17, 2004
Four Years At Sea
Real Audio Report

Log Transcript

This is Genevieve Johnson speaking to you from the Maldives wishing the Ocean Alliance's Voyage of the Odyssey, a happy four-year anniversary!

On March 17, 2000, the Odyssey embarked on an ambitious oceanic scientific expedition - the goal, to gather a global baseline data set on ocean pollution by using sperm whales as an indicator species.

Over the years, the crew researched in remote places, visited local communities and talked to students about whales and the oceans, and experienced diverse cultures - all while living at sea studying animals few people encounter in their lifetime. Some of the crew onboard joined the Odyssey four years ago, others joined at different times and in different locations around the world.

Following are the thoughts from the current crew of the Voyage of the Odyssey about living and working at sea and their personal highlights.

Kim Greutzmacher - Deckhand

    "My name is Kim Greutzmacher and I'm from Bochum in Germany. This is my third time on the Odyssey. It's been a wonderful time everytime, it has been very different but it has always been a fantastic experience. It is always great working with different people who have different expertise and experiences themselves. They are from different countries and so I feel like everytime, I learn a lot. A highlight for me is definitely every single cetacean I have seen."

Mark - Captain

    "Hi there, I'm Mark Preedy and I'm from Somerset in England. A highlight for me being on the Voyage of the Odyssey, was in the Seychelles. It was the first time I'd ever seen sperm whales. Then when we were coming from the Seychelles to the Maldives, I think the best moment was when we had a bow riding humpback and calf, they stayed with us for three hours just taking advantage of us moving along, it was amazing to see."

Genevieve Johnson - Education Director

    "My name's Genevieve Johnson and I'm from Melbourne, Australia. I never imagined that when Odyssey left San Diego, I would still be onboard four years later here in the Maldives. It's been the experience of a lifetime. Not only have I seen thousands of whales, but I've had the opportunity to speak with tens of thousands of school children around the world. Experiences like last week when a young girl, a ten year old girl from California wrote me an email telling me her name was also Genevieve Johnson, she expressed in her email that knowing the fact there was another Genevieve Johnson living her dream, inspired her to follow her dream of growing up and working with whales. When I receive feedback like that from children around the world - that is the reason I am here."

Bob Wallace - Engineer

    "My name is Bob Wallace and I'm from Florida. I have sailed around the world twice before, this is my third trip around. Since we left San Diego, we've traveled over sixty thousand miles. The highlight of the trip for me has been traveling to all these different places, seeing a lot of countries, different people, different cultures. Another highlight is the sheer number of whales, sperm whales. Even after approaching so many hundreds of whales, it's still a thrill."

Verity Steptoe - Science Intern

    "I'm Verity Steptoe, I'm from Perth, Western Australia. I've been on the Odyssey for four months now which makes me one of the newest crewmembers. Those four months have been absolutely fantastic. I've had the chance to see sperm whales up close, as well as pilot whales, turtles, you name it - I've seen quite a lot. I'm looking forward to staying on the Odyssey for the remainder of the Voyage because it allows me to do what I am most passionate about, which is studying cetaceans in their natural environment."

Chris Johnson - Mulitmedia Producer / Photographer

    "My name is Chris Johnson and I'm from Boston, Massachusetts - but now live in Australia. I guess, one of the major highlights for me, over the past four years, has been documenting the entire expedition - the highs, the lows, the whales, different marine creatures thatwe have come across, the cultures that we have experienced - all around the world. We have interviewed the people we have met, and we have met some pretty amazing people along the way. We've met conservationists - people trying to make a difference with so little resources - trying to protect the ocean environment, trying to protect the terrestrial environment. We've met scientists in the field who we have had access to only because we have been on the Odyssey in these remote regions. But, the best thing has just been sharing it on the website, creating this online diary to share with so many people around the world.

    Of all people on the ship, I never thought I would be [living] on a boat for four years. I am definitely not a sailor type [laughs] And, it is the kind of experience one can only have living on a boat. Thinking back over the four year on what we have accomplished and seen, I really feel proud being part of the Voyage of the Odyssey."

Genevieve Johnson

We are the fortunate ones who live an expedition planned, coordinated and made possible by a group of dedicated individuals led by Dr. Roger Payne, Iain Kerr and the rest of the Ocean Alliance team. The crew onboard Odyssey extend their sincere gratitude for the opportunity of of being part of such an important, scientific expedition, the results of which may have implications about how man-made pollution is affecting whales and their ocean environment. With only one year left in the expedition, we look forward to sharing the rest of the voyage with you - so stay tuned.


Log written by Genevieve Johnson.

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