EU4OceanObs is a proud sponsor of the Cap Optimist, an extraordinary challenge of six waterwomen crossing the Pacific Ocean on a paddleboard. Using the sheer strength of their arms and exceptional courage and determination, these wonder-women set off from Lima, Peru, on 4 January 2023, arriving at Temae beach in Moorea, French Polynesia, on 25 March, after a journey of no less than 8,000 kilometers. This extraordinary feat was carried out for the benefit of sick children, organised by the Hope Team East Association.
Crossing the ocean with nothing but a paddleboard, the waterwomen witnessed first-hand the immensity of the ocean and all its wonders. Accompanied by a team, a catamaran and a board, they took turns every hour, day and night. Their journey was not without risk, both physical and mental. From stormy weather, to paddling against strong ocean currents, to avoiding potential predators, and fatigue the waterwomen accomplished the impossible, entering the Guiness World Records.
EU4OceanObs partnered with the Hope Team East to shed light on the need for ocean observations and monitoring, reaching a public beyond the traditional scientific crowd. Through this campaign, EU4OceanObs aimed to highlight the vastness of the ocean and the richness of marine life, and show how despite the great advances made by the European Union with satellite observation, the different networks of in situ measurements operating and numerical modelling, there is still so much we do not know and understand about the ocean and its inhabitants. During the journey, the paddlewomen got acquainted with Copernicus Marine’s ocean data visualisation tool ‘My Ocean’, which they used to monitor ocean currents and sea water velocity, among other variables useful to inform their trajectory, demonstrating the power of ocean data for different purposes beyond the realms of science and the blue economy sectors.
Monitoring and being able to predict what is happening in our planet’s largest ecosystem is more than ever needed at a time when the world’s ocean, coasts and marine ecosystems are undergoing great changes due to human activities, accentuated by climate change pressures. Observing and being able to predict what is happening in our oceans is thus an important prerequisite for effective decision-making accelerating the protection measures and sustainable use of marine resources. Scientific, credible, and open data is needed to assess the impacts of climate change, extreme events, pollution and manage the ocean’s valuable resources.