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HomeClean Wake Projects

What are Clean Wake Projects?


To leave a clean wake is to show respect for others and for the environment so that those who follow in our wake will be warmly welcomed. It is SSCA's most cherished tradition. Following is a list of humanitarian and environmental projects that you may be interested in supporting. If you know of a deserving group that you think should be added or have a pet project of your own, review the Clean Wake Project Proposal Guidelines. Then send your suggestion to cleanwake@ssca.org.  Use the map below to locate SSCA's Clean Wake projects.  The Google map may take a minute or so to load.



Humanitarian Opportunities





PAYS Mooring Field and Humanitarian Support, Dominica


While some Caribbean countries have resources to support their citizens, some poorer islands have been badly impacted by hurricanes and now COVID.  For Dominica, two hurricanes, and the most damaging, Hurricane Maria in 2017, stripped the land and people of their ability to survive the economic impact. They started recovery, but COVID lockdown, which began in 2020, impacted the fragile recovery.  Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO) is a key supporting organization for this fragile part of the Caribbean, Dominica. OPO, for the past eight years, has worked to develop not only the safety for cruisers but also the business concept for the Portsmouth community.

When Hurricane Maria slammed into the Island of Dominica, OPO (headed by Hank Schmitt) and others such as SSCA quickly organized a first response helping friends in the Caribbean.  A $6,000 donation to the International Relief Group paid for supplies and fuel for a big shipment via the British Tug, Flying Buzzard.  SSCA assisted in coordinating this "boat lift”.  In November 2017, Hank loaded Avocation, his personal boat, with generators, tools, repair supplies and sailed to Dominica. He worked with the PAYS Team and helped deliver provisions and equipment to help rebuild the PAYS infrastructure. Portsmouth Authority Yacht Services (PAYS) is an organization of local Dominicans who manage the mooring field in Portsmouth Harbor, provide safety, launch service and access to tours to the interior of the island. They coordinate with the Dominican authorities and support community projects. In 2018, SSCA and other boat groups joined OPO efforts in Dominica, and assisted with relief work. Boats carried large boat loads of supplies from Antigua to Dominica, crews supported rebuilding efforts (schools, feeding programs and more). Boats volunteered and helped with the mooring projects and more.

Offshore Passage Opportunities began helping with the donation of the mooring field for over six years, and continues to assist the Portsmouth community. Now OPO is tailoring additional efforts to a specific goal of getting PAYS back up and running after COVID. Currently, OPO is on the ground in Dominica, assessing the needs cruisers could assist with. With other groups like Macario Advantage(NGO), OPO is now helping with donations for humanitarian aid, food/supplies to allow the cadre of boating support people of Portsmouth Dominica to survive this coming season. It's expected there will be few if any cruising tourists and this is an island whose entire economy is dependent on tourism. They are destitute.  OPO efforts exemplify the SSCA Clean Wake philosophy, and deserves recognition as a CW project.






Cruiser Volunteers




The Bay Islands Project, Honduras


The Bay Islands consists of 8 islands and 53 small cays lying 15km (10 miles) to 60 km (40miles) off the northern coast of Honduras.

There was already a tremendous need here in The Bay Islands even before Covid-19. Education, health and just the basic needs of food and shelter were in need of being met. However, due to the worldwide pandemic, The Bay Islands has been seriously affected since the islands depend almost 100% on tourism. Unemployment is extremely high due to so many more people that have been out of work since March 2020.  So, Cruising Station Hosts Bill & JoAnne Harris (s/v Ultra) have been performing fundraising efforts since March 2020 with all donations used to purchase food, prescription medications, Covid-19 tests, medical supplies, monthly bills, personal care items, baby items and much more for families in need.  They have also been collecting new and used items to distribute to the families in need. For Christmas, they distributed 65 bags full of food and fun holiday treats for families in need.

Bill and JoAnne have been leading/volunteering/fundraising for humanitarian efforts around the globe for almost 30 years. Their idea is to always help others get back on their feet in their time of need and eventually support themselves. They cannot help everyone, but they can sure try. Bill and JoAnne welcome monetary donations and wonderful volunteer team players with all kinds of skills to bring along a super fun attitude to help with a variety of humanitarian projects:

1.    Assist in the building and painting of a variety of projects including housing and schools.
2.    Help with disaster responses for food, shelter, medical needs and more when they coordinate along with the authorities.
3.    Help with supplying books, art supplies and other materials needed for school children for a better education.
4.    Help with fundraising efforts around the globe to raise awareness of families in need in The Bay Islands of Honduras.
5.    Improving water pumping systems.
6.    Teaching English to families to better their education and opportunities.
7.    Teaching proper health and dental hygiene along with the assistance of medical professionals.
8.    Teach others to respect the oceans and the sea life in them since they rely on them.
            
Bill and JoAnne are always expanding their ideas on new projects. Over the years, when they see a need that needs to be filled, they try their very best to fill it. It is a lot of work, but it is all well worth it when they see the smiles on the faces on everyone they help. It is always a super rewarding experience to work as a team and help improve the lives of others!

If you would like to assist Bill and JoAnne in their efforts, you can contact them at bjharrisultra@gmail.com.





Hondurian Family



Friends of Rio Dulce Guatemala

Cruisers and concerned local citizens have formed a group of visitors, cruisers, SSCA members, family and friends to provide help to the local community. Called Friends of Rio Dulce, they also join forces with other agencies and coordinate with them where help is needed. Pam Redpath of Boatique Hotel and Marina has provided major support, Steve Elliot, Hotel and Marina Catamarine, Chef Eric and staff! And, our SSCA Cruising Station Hosts Tutty and Muriel Lee with many others. From our distance here, we just don't know all the names to credit.

Some of the projects in towns such as Sebol, Morales, Cocales, Loa Amandes and other areas concern education assistance for communities without formal schools, helping with orphanages such as Casa Azul, rebuilding infrastructure. Chef Eric and his staff are making 1000 meals a day! The many volunteers in the community and on cruising vessels are providing labor, love and concern along with needed supplies of food and materials for hurricane recovery such as shovels and wheel barrows, cleaning products and materials and economic support. Schools in some areas, such as Sou, El Bongo, Arapahoe are being cleaned, fixed, and supported as only volunteers can do. See the ongoing story at https://www.facebook.com/groups/3437930826431461, with admin Steve Elliot. A truly cruiser helping cruiser effort.

As mentioned, SSCA Cruising Station Hosts Tutty and Muriel Lee are located in Rio Dulce and are providing major assistance and coordination with this cruising community. They are coordinating volunteers and projects to support this community.  If you would like to help, you can contact Tutty and Muriel at lee855@rogers.com.







Watch this video of devastation in Guatemala



 Mudslide Devastation in Guatemala




Yacht Relief Alliance

Register your boat to deliver supplies, volunteers or identify available cargo to the storm-ravaged Caribbean.

In 2015 Dominica suffered badly from Tropical Storm Erika. In 2016 Haiti was severely devastated by Hurricane Matthew, and in 2017 Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria did major damage to the USA and a number of Caribbean islands. Many islands, including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Barbuda and Dominica have suffered from lack of power, healthcare, shelter and even food or clean water; in some cases that will continue through 2018.

International Rescue Group (IRG) is working in partnership with the SSCA to provide an information system to register available yachts anywhere in the world that can carry much-needed cargo to storm-hit destinations and source supplies. IRG is funding this Project and providing the data.

The Yacht Relief Alliance (YRA) is a coalition of disaster relief and humanitarian aid related organizations, agencies, NGOs, charities and individuals who provide services involving cruisers and boats. Members of the Yacht Relief Alliance work together to coordinate aid efforts worldwide and share resources. The SSCA is proud to host this Clean Wake Project as a founding member of the YRA.







Getting Donated Supplies to Shore

Sea Mercy


If the South Pacific is on your cruising horizon, here's Sea Mercy, a humanitarian Clean Wake organization with several project categories that welcome volunteers with the kinds of skills and willingness to help that are second nature to SSCA members. You can enlist via online registration before you cast off.


An example of SSCA's global reach was the response of SSCA members in the South Pacific and coordination cooperation stateside to help in the disaster response efforts of Sea Mercy on Vanuatu in the aftermath of the level 5 Cyclone Pam in March 2015. That Sea Mercy was able to step in quickly to assess the destruction and marshal necessary resources whether human, vessel or material, was an astonishing achievement and a solid introduction for SSCA. The organization learned the ropes in 2014 with Cyclone Ian in Tonga.


A relatively young but growing organization, Sea Mercy's vision is "to be the most effective preventive, curative, promotional, and rehabilitative floating health care provider to (11) remote island nations" in the South Pacific and deliver health care, education, and economic development assistance. In three years Sea Mercy has targeted 3 of those island nations: Kingdom of Tonga, Republic of Fiji, and Vanuatu.


Sea Mercy engages the attention of volunteers with the tag line "Sailing with a greater purpose. One vessel can make a difference... Our fleet can change the world". There is an extensive menu of ways in which cruisers in the South Pacific, based on their resumes, skills, talents, and interests, can participate in different programs whether long term, periodically, or in a quick response mode.


Enlist as a volunteer online by visiting seamercy.org.






Daily Catch


Hands Across the Sea


Hands Across the Sea is a US-based international NGO dedicated to raising the literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children since 2007. Working directly with our stakeholders –principals, teachers, children, and communities, and in close partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States –Hands is committed to ensuring access to literacy resources for children everywhere in the Eastern Caribbean.

It is a successor to a previous SSCA Clean Wake project, “Boaters for Books”. Hands’ three-step CLASS (Caribbean Literacy and School Support) Program aims to raise child literacy levels by: 1) Sending great new requested books that are culturally relevant and age appropriate, 2) Creating or rejuvenating lending libraries, usually in schools, and 3) Ensuring the sustainability of each project through ongoing support and mentorship. Hands Across the Sea deploys a methodology developed from best practices over fourteen years’ experience and outlined in the Hands Across the Sea Library Manual for Primary Schools. In 2020, Hands launched its Preschool initiative which reaches children ages 3-5 at nearly 500 preschools across six countries; at the core of this program is the goal of capturing the hearts and minds of early learners and setting children up on a winning trajectory for life. The preschool program makes literacy an explicit component in early learning and activates parental and community involvement in supporting youth literacy.
 
As of the 2020 school year, Hands has reached over 139,986 children on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines with over half-a-million new books as well as mentorship programs. Hands has helped create or rejuvenate over 873 school and 50 community libraries and is focused on long-term sustainability of libraries and instilling a love of reading in children’s and families’ lives.

There are many ways to help Hands, but if cruisers are in the eastern Caribbean during the winter months, there are hands-on needs such as painting, building bookshelves, culling a library collection; and working directly with children (reading aloud) or educators.
 
Hands Across the Sea, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization registered in Massachusetts. SSCA Commodore Willie Haskins will serve as liaison.






Hands Across the Sea

Our Lady of Guadalupe - Clinicians Needed in Ecuador


Internists, pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, gynecologists, otolaryngologists, general surgeons, ophthalmologists, and anesthesiologists are being recruited to volunteer at a rural health clinic in the tropical highlands of Ecuador along the Peruvian border. This clinic serves a poor indigenous population with few other options for care. This modern facility is located on the grounds of a Catholic mission in the pueblo of Guadalupe. There are three examining rooms, an operating theater, two dental suites, optometric services, a pharmacy, and a laboratory. They have also organized mobile health fairs to other remote under-served regions. A hospital can be reached in two hours. 

Volunteers have come from the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Austria, Australia, Germany, Ecuador, and Ireland. Surgeons have generally been accompanied by an anesthesiologist and nurse. Volunteers of all faiths are welcome. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful; however a bilingual nurse is on premises. Health care workers may come for a minimum of two weeks or for several months. Transportation is not covered but lodging and meals are supplied, with a separate residence overlooking the river valley and Andes. For information on how you can help, contact Padre José Gonzaat jhgonzaberru@gmail.com






Our Lady of Guadalupe

Mexican Medical Missionaries


Bringing healing and hope to the people of Mexico. Learn more at http://www.mexicanmedical.com/




Mexican Medical Missionaries


PATA - an Animal Welfare Organization


Located in Manzanillo, Mexico, PATA emphasizes free spay/neuter clinics for dogs and cats (still an unusual concept in Mexico). PATA became a non-profit organization with the help of former cruisers Stan and MJ, previously of s/v SolMate, who are now permanent residents in Santiago. Stan and MJ are also responsible for developing and maintaining the PATA website. Cruisers anchored in the Manzanillo area are encouraged to volunteer for any clinics that are held during the winter cruising season. Go to http://www.patamanzanillo.org/




PATA


Sail Fest 


The annual Zihua Sail Fest fund-raising party for the education of disadvantaged children in Zihuatanejo, Mexico is held each February in the beautiful Zihuatanejo Bay located at Lat: 17.6° N, 101.5° W. In the true spirit of a rendezvous, vessels begin arriving in November from as far away as Alaska and the Caribbean and drop anchor until February to participate in what is becoming one of Mexico's premier sailing events, the Zihua Sail Fest. SailFest is a five-day festival that combines fun and games, heart-felt volunteerism and an outpouring of international friendship. Although the tone of the event is light-hearted, the cruisers’ goals are serious – to raise funds for the education of Zihuatanejo’s poorest children. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/Sailfest-Zihuatanejo-151383761645873/



Second Life Sails


The Second Life Sails project planned to assist Haitian fishermen who rely on sail-powered boats is now an SSCA endorsed Clean Wake project.


“Frequently people find themselves with used sails and surplus sailcloth as well as fishing gear that have useful life in them, but no way to get them to folks who would put that second life to good use,” said Frank Virgintino , author of A Cruising Guide to Haiti and frequent visitor to the enchanting Ile a Vache.  “A contribution of materials and gear that supports the principal livelihood of the island is a priceless 'thank you' to a community that has been very welcoming to cruising boats for generations.”

Ile a Vache fishermen build their own boats and are already talented at sailmaking and recycling, using materials from bed sheets to tarpaulins for their sails. Sailcloth would provide a more durable and reliable resource.

Cruisers’ used sails and fishing gear can have a second life. It starts when the donations are delivered or sent to either Marina ZarPar in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic (www.marinazarpar.com) or to Minneford Marina on City Island, New York (minnefordmarina.com). 

The first delivery of used sails took place in February, 2013, to Ile a Vache where they were distributed by a free raffle. Second Life Sails is jointly sponsored by Free Cruising Guides and Marina ZarPar, which will handle the logistics and underwrite the cost of transporting donated sails and gear to Ile a Vache, Haiti.

If you have a used sail - or a stash of sails - too beaten up to use, but with sufficient life left to not just throw away, please consider donating it to the Second Life Sails project.

To read more about the Second Life Sails project and life on Ile a Vache, visit All at Sea's June, 2013 issue "Second Life for Used Sails Project". For further information on how to participate in Second Life Sails, email fvirgintino@gmail.com.






Second Life Sails

Winlink


Amateur Radio Safety Foundation is the umbrella that funds Winlink 2000. All donations made to ARSF go to Winlink 2000.

Environmental Opportunities



Research Sargassum Weed Infestation in the Atlantic and Caribbean


Sargassum weed is an increasing problem in the Atlantic -- the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean – ruining beaches, boat engines, rudders, and watermaker systems, etc. Some vessels have been reported being stuck in over five feet of mat, and on Virgin Gorda the watermaking system for the island was shut down for weeks.


Read more about the threat posed by sargassum in this article by Joan Conover, published in the September, 2017 Caribbean Compass. Cruisers are uniquely situated to collect and post data, e.g., Lat/Long, description of the mat (stream or horizon-to-horizon), as well as photos.  For the predictions about sargassum for 2019-2020, read this article also by Joan Conover.


To post your sargassum sightings, use this link to enter your data--http://gcrl.usm.edu/sargassum/index.php




Sargassum Weed

EPIC - Environmental Protection in the Caribbean

Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) is an independent non-profit founded in 2000 with the mission of protecting the Caribbean environment through research, restoration, education and advocacy. EPIC is a results-driven organization that works on challenging, under-addressed issues through holistic programs resulting in strategic community-based actions.

The organization works on islands throughout the Antilles. Their Grenadines Seabird Program seeks partnership with sailors who can assist with transportation to conduct research and conservation projects on offshore islands where globally and regionally important populations of seabirds nest. Individuals can join or assist a trained group of citizen scientists named the Grenadines Seabird Guardians, which conducts periodic surveys of seabird populations as well as litter cleanups and searches for invasive mammals which threaten native wildlife.






Citizen Science


A new Citizen Science study developed by scientists at Plymouth University, UK, is asking sailors to help scientists study and understand the phytoplankton. You can take part in this global study by downloading a free mobile app available for iOS and Android, and by using a self-made piece of equipment called a Secchi Disk. You can find out more at the project’s website www.secchidisk.org or by downloading the Secchi App.


The phytoplankton, tiny plant-like cells that live at the sunlit surface of the sea, begin the marine food chain. From their position at the base of the marine food chain their productivity governs the productivity at every step above them, from the numbers of fish in the sea to the abundance of crabs on the seabed, and from the number of polar bears on the ice to the seabirds in the sky above. In 2010 three Canadian scientists published research that suggested the phytoplankton were declining in the oceans due to climate change and a warming of the sea surface. Their study proved controversial however, not least among other scientists, some of whom thought they saw contrary results. Part of the controversy stemmed from a lack of data - the oceans are a vast place and there are not that many scientists to cover them - and this is where any sailor can help advance phytoplankton research. The Plymouth scientists hope that sailors everywhere will participate in the Secchi App Citizen Science project to help build a long-term and spatially extensive dataset of phytoplankton observations form the World’s oceans. In addition to the website you can also follow the project at the Secchi Disk group on Facebook www.facebook.com/secchidisk. Why not take part?

Richard Kirby
Marine Institute Research Fellow
Plymouth University
Marine Biological Association,
Citadel Hill,
The Hoe,
Plymouth PL1 2PB
United Kingdom






Oceans Watch


Oceans Watch promotes marine conservation projects through partnerships between yachting and diving enthusiasts, coastal communities, and marine biologists. This is a fantastic opportunity to pitch in while you cruise. See http://www.oceanswatch.org/





WhaleForce


WhaleForce is an international cetacean (whales, dolphins, porpoises) survey that was established in 1986 by the Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI), www.ceinst.org, a registered charity. SSCA member Clio Smeeton, founder of WhaleForce, was reared on a boat and, from experience, knew that blue water and coastal racing and cruising yachtsmen and women (and children) are in an ideal position to monitor cetacean occurrence and movement because they are sailing the sea for pleasure. Because the sea belongs to no country, no country takes responsibility for maintaining the health and the integrity of its (especially migratory) wildlife populations (invertebrates, fish, mammals, reptiles and birds). One way to address this is by undertaking non-intrusive monitoring of the seas and oceans.

Cruisers can participate in this important census by sending to Clio (cei@nucleus.com) the GPS co-ordinates and a brief description of sightings of cetaceans and also significant pollution/garbage, and if possible, accompanying photographs, as well. A fascinating aspect of sending photographs is that there are still unidentified cetacean species in the sea, known to science only by a few bones. Thus the scientific opportunities presented by digital photographs of living examples of these, thus far, rare species accompanied by date, location, and description are vast. As cetaceans are at the top of the food chain they are the first to suffer from accumulated pollutants and from overhunting. When WhaleForce was started, information packages were placed on Tall Ships as well as Blue Water and ARC Rallies, and then on international yacht races; but the ideal respondents are those people who are not competing; who are sailing for the love of it and are therefore inclined to observe all about them.

The CEI can provide a cetacean identification book and a Burgee, and more information on WhaleForce itself can be found on the CEI website, www.ceinst.org.

Editor’s Note: Clio is the daughter of Miles and Beryl Smeeton, s/v Tzu Hang, recipients of the 1988 Seven Seas Award.


















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