Ocean Mapping Expedition Tracing Magellan’s Voyage Reaches the Philippines
Karlo Mongaya, 23 Jan 18
       


Screenshot from Mayan Around Town's video blog of Fleur de Passion's visit to Cebu, Philippines.

The year 2021 will mark the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan's journey around the globe. Ahead of this historic date, researchers have been following his tracks on board a sailboat led by the Geneva-based non-profit organization Foundation Pacifique. This ocean mapping expedition aims to explore humanity’s impact on the oceans and the environment. To replicate Magellan's voyage, the research team set sail from Seville, Spain in April 2015 as part of a four-year trip which will take them around the world.


Screenshot of a map tracking the voyage of the Fleur de Passion from the expedition's website.

Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who set sail from Seville, Spain in 1519 and embarked on a voyage which became the first recorded circumnavigation of the Earth. His arrival in Cebu, in 1521, would eventually lead to the Spanish colonization of the Philippine Islands.

The Swiss research vessel Fleur de Passion, an old German navy minesweeper which has been disarmed and redesigned for scientific research, reached the Philippines and docked in the central Philippine city of Lapu-Lapu, Cebu on December 19, 2017. As part of its project, the crew invited locals on board the ship to educate the public about its research and advocacy mission. Cebu-based blogger Mayan Around Town wrote about the experience and made a video blog with the Fleur de Passion crew:

Working mainly with the authorities of the Swiss City-State of Geneva, the ocean mapping expedition offers various educational and cultural programs to the public.

Some of the scientific activities featured on the ship included the following:

•   The 20,000 Sounds under the Seas program in partnership with biologist and engineer Michel André that records the sounds of the sea to assess noise pollution produced by human activity.
•   The Micromégas program with the Federal Polytechnic University of Lausanne which involves taking seawater samples at the ocean surface to evaluate the level of plastic pollution.
•   The Winds of Change program in partnership with the University of Geneva launched in November which monitors the methane and carbon dioxide levels in the oceans in order to better understand global warming.

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