True Travel Times
In September 2022, the True Travel team took a trip to the western coast of Scotland, where our Foundation partners, Seawilding, are based. After spending three days immersed in the intricacies of their marine restoration methodology, the passion, determination and resilience of Danny, Seawilding’s founder, and the team was evident in abundance.
We spent time listening to the tales of their successes, learning about the biodiversity of Loch Craignish and getting hands on with seagrass replanting ourselves. It truly was an eye-opening experience, one that brought us all together in mutual admiration, and now Matt Wise, True Senior Africa Specialist, recounts how he felt during his time at the HQ.
It’s not very often one visits a charitable venture that is engaging, inspiring and beautiful in equal measure, however, our recent visit to the Seawilding project ticked all those boxes in a big way. I will confess, I had limited knowledge of blue carbon and its virtues before our visit, but that has changed now of course, and created a real sense of worth due to working for a business that boasts Seawilding as one of its foundation’s partners.
The project itself is a marine biodiversity restoration drive, with a particular focus on seagrass and native oysters. It is the seagrass itself that contributes towards significant carbon sequestering, however, I found it fascinating how the oxidation and other chemical processes undergone by native oysters in growth contributes towards the healthy production rates of seagrass. It is a complete symbiotic relationship, the two have to go hand in hand.
After years and years of damaging dredging of the sea floor, overfishing and other unethical fishing practices, it is absolutely vital that organisations such as Seawilding get off the ground, and continue to restore stricken marine habitats. Seagrass rehabilitation is still a fairly unknown quantity in the wider scientific community, there is little known about it and what Seawilding are doing is cutting edge work.
Interestingly, they are doing it not in the most efficient way, but the methods they adopt are the easiest to replicate and implement, so once they perfect what they are doing, it will make it easier for other similar projects to get off the ground. They have the bigger picture firmly in mind. It is not just about what they do, it’s about what they can contribute to on a potentially much larger scale.
It was also a real privilege to visit Seawilding as they are not only doing important, noble and uplifting work, but the area they are doing it in is quite breathtaking. Having never been to Scotland before, I was blown away by the scenery, vistas and natural beauty to be found in all corners of the United Kingdom (as I continue to be since I moved here from South Africa, so I know a thing or two about what natural beauty looks like…)
Loch Craignish is a really picturesque place. It is somewhat bittersweet knowing that such a beautiful place has had so much damage done to it. Understandably, it feels as though the damage to the seabed is an afterthought for most people, as the sheer beauty to be found above sea level is suitably distracting. It only highlights the importance of why our focus should be on what lies below the surface, as well as what sits above it.
It is also worth mentioning that one of the best parts about the Seawilding project is the people who are running it. We were privileged enough to spend the day in the company of three men who are passionate, intelligent, conscientious, warm, kind and funny. Their energy and enthusiasm was infectious, and left us all awestruck by them as people, in addition to the work they are doing.
Overall, visiting Seawilding was an exceptional experience. It was educational and fun, set in a gorgeous place, and as previously mentioned, it is fantastic to be working for a business whose foundation supports it. I hope they continue to do the outstanding and important work they are doing, and I hope to be able to visit their project again, and others like it in Scotland and other parts of the world over the years to come.
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