My name is Becci Jewell and I’m a marine biologist with a particular interest in marine mammal science. For the last five years, I have been working as a freelance marine mammal observer during marine renewable energy projects, scientific surveys and offshore seismic surveys. This often involves spending long spells at sea and also affords me free time between surveys, the best of both worlds. The perks of life at sea include the marine wildlife, working with people from all around the world and, perhaps best of all, 3pm cake.
I love exploring new places in the UK and abroad and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel extensively for work and for fun. Most recently I have worked on surveys in Indonesia, Mozambique, Russia, France and French Guiana, glimpsing whale sharks and manta rays as well as whales and dolphins. Over the years I have scrambled down cliffs in South Africa to collect seal poo, poled a boat through mangroves in Kenya to identify humpback dolphins, and tracked sperm whales in a submarine canyon in New Zealand, all in the name of work. For fun I have slogged up volcanoes in Guatemala, reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and conquered many, many cafes.
Between projects I like to spend as much time outdoors as I can. Living in Scotland is great for this; the coastline and mountains provide plenty of opportunity for adventure. Undertaking solo multi-day journeys by bike and on foot through the Scottish Highlands has stoked my enthusiasm for exploring and helped build my confidence in my abilities. However, I realise that cycling long distances, navigating in an unfamiliar area, and setting up and breaking camp daily during The Gray Whale Cycle, will at times be both mentally and physically demanding. Sections of terrain will be tough and the climate testing; the journey will not be easy.
Since moving to Scotland 12 years ago, I have enjoyed volunteering for the RNLI as a crew member on our all-weather and inshore lifeboats. This role has, at times, put me in challenging situations and I’m hoping I can lean on this resolve during my trip. Perhaps all those hours spent in cold and wet weather will help me endure the autumnal Alaska leg of the cycle. Since 2016 I have also enjoyed volunteering as the lifeboat station’s deputy press officer, writing press releases for local and national media, generating social media content and editing video footage, skills that I am hoping will help me to share my journey from the road.
With a background in marine mammal science and unbounded enthusiasm for adventure, The Gray Whale Cycle is my dream trip and I’m excited for every stage of the journey!