On this World Wildlife Day, we celebrate the incredible marine and bird life that embellish the Clipper Race experience during the 40,000nm race around the world.

Life at sea is tough, often spending days or weeks racing hard with only the company being that of your teammates with not another vessel or soul in sight. The sighting of an albatross gliding over the waves, the soft puff of water that alerts you in the dark to dolphins tracking your stern, the call of ‘whale’ from on deck, will get even the most exhausted teammate out of their bunk for a hopeful glimpse of one of the majestic creatures can bring light relief to a relenting ocean crossing and provides moments that crew will never forget.

Circumnavigator on board Dare To Lead David Bouttell, a safari guide from South Africa, recently blogged about some of his wildlife encounters on the race so far: “A first for me, dolphins that leave their mark by way of bioluminescent trails of their shapes and direction of swimming, playing for a long while, both sides of the good ship Dare To Lead. We are now becoming adept and recognising their arrival as they surface to breath with their distinctive powerful puffs. Never have I witnessed a spectacle this wished for. No description could do the scene justice.

He went on to say: “Sea birds have been seen diving but this time catching airborne flying fish. Schools of fish leap out simultaneously and fly off in a group, crash diving in a flurry of silvery splashes. We got to witness a whale at close quarters, estimated at half the length of our yacht. We crept up to it on a zephyr of a breeze and watched it as it wallowed on the surface and blew repeatedly off the bow, only to come alongside soon after just shy of the surface, oddly with an intense sparkly blue mouth, possibly a trick of light.”

Recognising the importance of these sights, the Clipper Race by its very nature, sees first-hand the detrimental impact the modern world has on the world’s oceans and its marine life. On this, the 2020 UN World Wildlife Day, which has the theme of Sustaining all life on Earth, our aim is to create a greater link between communities and the ocean, and with partnerships at the forefront, the promotion of solutions that could help create a healthier ocean.

The Clipper Race has a shared desire to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of Responsible Production and Consumption (doing more and better with less), Climate Action (the action needed to combat climate change and its impacts) and Life Below Water (the protection of our oceans).

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