Two decades later, she works as a consultant marine scientist specialising in coastal adaptation and Emma is about to embark on a new adventure. In March 2020, she will join the crew of eXXpedition for 24 days as it sails from Easter Island to Tahiti as part of an epic two-year round the world voyage. She is one of 300 women who have been selected from over 10,000 applicants all of whom want to solve the marine plastic crisis.
During that time, as part of a scientific programme developed by eXXpedition and the University of Plymouth, she will be helping to collect and analyse water and sediment samples as part of the voyage’s mission to look at the global distribution of plastics and microplastics, from their sources on land to their dispersal and accumulation within the world’s oceans.
“I have always wanted to do a long stint at sea,” Emma says. “And to combine that with studying the global issues of plastic pollution and climate change was too good an opportunity to turn down. It will be a big challenge, but as the weeks count down it’s one I am looking forward to more and more.”
Emma’s participation in eXXpedition might be an epic adventure. But it is far from the first major challenge she has had to overcome in her quest to become a marine scientist.
With her passion for the marine environment embedded by those early visits to the Devon coastline, she had taken up diving thanks to an enthusiastic Maths teacher desperate to share his passion. Sub-surface exploration proved rewarding and she travelled to the Red Sea to see wrecks, caves and coral reefs for the first time aged 18. This served to heighten her excitement as the new millennium dawned and life choices made to pursue marine biology.