Barbara Ann Schoemaker | Reel Green Ambassador

  • The moment where our impact on the planet was the most profound and devastating for me was during my experience as first mate aboard the 42ft sailing vessel “Ar Seiz Avel” during the spring through to the late summer of 2013.

    Prior to embarking on our 6000 nautical mile journey across the North Atlantic Ocean from Panama to NW Spain we first sailed extensively around the San Blas island chain which stretches for about 100 square miles between Colon Panama and the Colombian border to the south.  This area is a unique and incredible archipelago comprised of about 378 islands only accessible by boat with the most common form of exploration being via sailboat.

    The reefs are magnificent with huge pristine brain coral mounds, Fan corals, Elkhorn corals and an astounding variety of tropical fish, dolphins, sharks, rays, and turtles. The snorkeling in this area is truly some of the most incredible in the world.

    On the leeward side of the islands, you will find the untouched tropical paradise of your dreams.  On the windward side of the islands which are exposed to the open ocean and weather from the west coast of Africa, the beaches are strewn with the debris of plastic and waste far beyond the tideline.  The discovery of this after swimming freely in such astoundingly beautiful waters brought tears to our eyes and a commitment to find a way to make a difference to this fragile and beautiful land

    My Husband and I are in the process of investigating various plastic recovery options that ideally would provide a source of income to the local “Kuna Yala” peoples.  This investigation includes a process invented by a Dutchman named Dave Hakkens.

    Here is a collection of photos from our experiences in San Blas and the coastline we encountered.

    Links; (our Website for our Sail and Learn Journeys) ( Plastic recovery and re-purposing process international)

    Check out this interview with Barbara Ann and Reel Green about the Directors Guild of Canada including sustainability in the first ever Production Manager Workshop!

  • I pledge to incorporate sustainability into my work and reduce impacts as much as I can!