The Sail & Explore Association has established a collaboration with Nautilos for organising an expedition to explore  the occurrence and impact of microplastics in the Cyclades island group.

The Cyclades are an island group in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece. The name refers to the islands around (“cyclic”) the sacred island of Delos, while the largest island of the Cyclades is Naxos. The culture of Greece was evolved over thousands of years and is widely considered to be the cradle of modern Western culture. Ancient Grecian thinkers and architects laid the intellectual foundations of many fields of study. Whether it be astrology, mathematics, biology, engineering, medicine, or linguistics, nearly all of the information we take for granted today was first discovered by the ancient Greeks. More than 50 years ago legendary French explorer Jacques Cousteau sailed his boat the Calypso to the Cyclades in the hope of discovering the Lost City of Atlantis.

However, the knowledge of the occurrence and impact of microplastics in such an ecological and socioeconomically important region is very sparse. This expedition is a collaboration with the Hellenic Centre of Marine Research (HCMR). We will collect surface water microplastic samples around the Cyclades for the very first time with a focus on collecting smaller-sized microplastics below 0.3mm. 

A course week includes: 

  • All course participants will serve as crew and be integrated into the sailing routine as much as possible. This involves navigation, watch duty, setting sails, reefing and anchoring.

  • You will sleep like a real crew and sharing beds/bunking with other participants. 

  • Assisting with the sampling by using the Manta Trawl system and conducting the first evaluations on board. 

  • Daily lectures on plastic pollution and its impact on the environment as well as the structure of the marine ecosystem. 

  • We will have each week a marine biologist from the Hellenic Centre of Marine Research (HCMR) on board, helping us out with the sampling and also giving hands-on insight into his/her work

  • We will visit the different islands of the Cyclades including the Island of Paros, which tries to become the first single-use plastic waste-free island in the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Last but not least, we are also on vacation and the “fun factor” will not be neglected. Swimming, snorkeling, and land excursions are just as much a part of the program! 

​Are you interested in learning more, visit the initiative website at