It’s the final moments of our expedition on board the Ranger, an expedition during which we’ve been able to document the effects of trawling. Thanks to our ROV, we’ve been able to see how in trawled areas there is practically no life left, while, just a few metres away, in areas protected from trawling thanks to legislation, life is beating its path through the hard-hit seabed of the Mediterranean Sea.
It’s the final moments of our expedition, and it’s time to take stock. As I watch the incredible crew who have accompanied us on this voyage fold the sails for the last time, memories come flooding back. Many are the problems we have had to face on this expedition, it’s true, but when the wind is blowing in the right direction, problems vanish like ships receding over the horizon. It has been inspiring to see my colleagues straining every last sinew to make sure the wind was always coming from astern; both here, on board the Ranger, working hard and tirelessly, but always with a smile on their faces, and hundreds of kilometres away, doing that hard and unseen work that isn’t the subject of social media posts or press releases in the newspapers, but which is so important that without it we wouldn’t be here today.
As we come to the end of our journey, the wind has turned on our bow, as if the Mediterranean didn’t want us to leave; as if it wanted the Ranger to sail forever, aware, perhaps, that every mile travelled means getting one step closer to becoming once more that abundant sea, full of life, that it should never have ceased to be.