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Hope Expedition in Iceland

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

During our expedition to Svalbard aboard Tilvera, Belén - the owner of the ship and the founder of Ocean Missions (OM) - invited me to join The Hope Expedition in Iceland in June. The text bellow was initially written for the OM blog, by Taïme (OM team) and me, but I liked it so much that I decided to share here as well. :)

Enjoy the adventure!

Belén, Heimir, Raíssa and Ópal

This was our second collaboration in only a few months of a beautiful friendship. Belén and I definitely work well together, not just during our watches while sailing, but as ocean partners uniting our dreams and projects. For this expedition aboard the amazing Schooner Ópal, besides being a curious and open participant, I also joined as a facilitator. Through guided meditations, sharing circles, deep ceremonies and different group dinamics, my intention was to create moments of presence and connection for everyone to learn from nature and remember that we are nature.

Where Raíssa calls home


Hope is a word connected to "change".

A link between present and future, that leads us to a path of transformation.

When we have hope: we see the possibility of change.

When we have hope: we act towards the change.

"I have been dreaming about sailing Ópal for years, and by the simple fact that I believed on this dream, a seed was planted and life naturally showed me the way to step aboard." Raíssa

Oceans Missions and Piratas do Amor aim to change the way we relate to our oceans and also to our own selves and others. Together we worked not only on our common mission of protecting the seas, but we also dove deep on our individual journeys as humans.

After all, in order to be the change we want to see in the world, we need to reconnect to our human nature, learning to navigate with mastery into our inner ocean and taking back the helm of our lives.

The colors in the sky sparked our inner fire: we danced, we sang, we enjoyed the hot tub while appreciating the 2am nature show

Besides sailing and science, beach clean ups, community living aboard a traditional wooden ship and celebrating the declaration of the first Hope Spot in Iceland, we also had the opportunity to learn about the laws of nature and the universe, that also compose who we are.

Manta Trawling: how can microplastic and krills live together?

Our ceremony about one of the laws of nature: polarity. In the Grímsey Island, right on the Arctic Circle, we worked together on the powerful duo "fear and love"

During our 7 day expedition we collectively and individually faced the fears that still hinder us to live our potential, while discovering aspects of our souls that want to be revealed, expressed and shared with the world. A journey to embrace our full authenticity, perfectly composed of shadows and lights, in order to become better creators of our realities and shape the world we want to live in.

While on water or land, we created a light, deep and safe space to become more aware of our unique gifts to this Planet and strengthen our collective of Ocean Ambassadors.

We all know that it is time to set sails towards new horizons of life on Earth. The Hope Expedition was an invitation to align our courses with the inner compass of our hearts, sailing with purpose while spreading hope through the seven seas and beyond.

Welcome aboard!

The beautiful Ópal and the eternal sunset


Having Raíssa and her spirit on board gave the entire experience a 180-degree turn. Embarking on an adventure such as an expedition in the arctic and sub-arctic waters is already, by itself, a form of challenging yourself that very few face in their lives. If you add to this an emotional and introspective journey of reconnection and communication, with yourself and with others, what you get is a life-changing experience.

What do you listen, see and feel from nature, that teaches you about your own nature?

Delving into nature, hand in hand with someone who accompanied us on our way to ourselves, has been revealing in many ways. We have cried, we have laughed, we have shared dreams, hopes, fears and sorrows, and together we have created a refuge on the waters of our beloved Hope Spot.

Iceland, the magical land of Water, Fire, Earth, Air and Elves

Ópal has been the perfect setting for this experience, giving us the warmth of a home and the security of an empire, leading us to realize everything that makes these waters a crucial place for the survival and health of our oceans - and, therefore, of our planet and ourselves.

Ópal & midnight sailing

We have learned about biodiversity, about whales and their mysterious customs, about the loyalty of birds and their brave migrations, about the crucial importance of the Arctic ecosystem, which rests on the tiny shoulders of the phytoplankton that inhabits it. We have learned about currents and winds, about how to navigate a schooner that was created for war but now fervently serves peace. We have learned to empower ourselves, to be confident in our mission, to raise our voices and at the same time, practice how to listen. In short, we have learned to admire and respect what surrounds us by learning about it and loving ourselves more.

And everything we did had an eye on the horizon: A future where the ocean and humans finally live in harmony.

Let this wonderful experience be just the first of a long and prosperous partnership and friendship.

Life at sea

What our ocean ambassadors on The Hope Expeditions said about this experience:

The Hope Expedition has taught me that it's actually really easy to get involved with science and make a difference in the world without being a scientist or needing a PHD.

It's taught me that by sharing our passions, total strangers will almost immediately become your friends. Some for life. But most importantly, I've learnt that taking part in expeditions as an artist is where I'm meant to be. And I will pursue this for the rest of my life.

Realising this dream is priceless and I will remember this trip forever.

Tom Napper.

“I would have never thought that sailing through Iceland’s vast coastal beauty would make me truly delve deep into myself in both fascinating and saddening ways. I have always been interested and fascinated by nature’s beauty and could rest for hours just taking it all in. Raissa encouraged us to connect with nature on a deeper level and explore our passions and weaknesses.

The confined space of the boat and the shared experience brought our group closer together, fostering a sense of trust and openness. It was remarkable how strangers quickly became companions on this voyage of self-discovery.

It is a truly amazing and unique experience to be able to open up to yourself and to others and to learn more about yourself in such a unique and amazing way: on a boat, with 15 other adventurers, surrounded by the beauty of Iceland’s sea, mountains and beaches.

This boat vacation taught me the importance of self-reflection and the value of embracing vulnerability. It showed me that growth and personal development can occur in unexpected settings.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this experience and to have had Raissa as our guide. Through her own passion, her kindheartedness and attentiveness she makes it so easy to open up and most of all she makes it seem so simple to overcome fears and weaknesses.”

Johanna Franke

From the majestic Blue Whales to the cutest Puffin: discovering the abundant wildlife of Iceland

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