National Geographic UK features Barba and Arctic Sense 2021

“It was a very touching moment to see something so fantastic and so majestic, especially knowing it could have been lost. Their slow recovery is a success for conservation. It shows there is hope.” – Andreas B. Heide

In a recent National Geographic UK article written by Hugh Francis Anderson, Barba and Arctic Sense 2021 were featured with the story of their blue whale encounter during the expedition. The article depicts the strong feelings of emotion felt by the crew being that close to the largest animal on earth, and seeing likely 10 different individuals at once. As the North Atlantic population of blue whales was brought to the brink of extinction, it is estimated that still only around 1,000 individuals are living today. However, seeing these animals, an arguable 1% of the entire population, gives hope that despite humans nearly depleting them entirely, they are making a slow recovery.

This is not to say that North Atlantic blue whales aren’t still facing major threats – they are far from ‘saved’. For these reasons, Andreas plans to hopefully return to Svalbard in 2023 with the specific focus of further studying and tracking the blues.

Read the full article here 


Feature photo by Tord Karlsen / Barba

Live broadcast for 400 students in US & Canada

December 7th Andreas had the great pleasure of doing a live broadcast for 400 school children in the US & Canada, speaking about sailing in the Arctic and nature conservation.

The presentation was hosted by Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, whose goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists and explorers. They do this by bringing science, exploration, adventure and conservation live into classrooms through virtual guest speakers and field trips with leading experts around the world. Our goal is still to reach 200 000 school children with the Arctic Sense expedition, and with this, we are off to a good start. The 50 minute long presentation can be seen here.


We received a number of comments from the students including this one from a 4th grader from Glenview, Illinois: “The most important thing that I thought was helpful was not to throw stuff in the ocean and recycle, because then we can save the animals in it.” With these words we wish you all a great and plastic minimalistic Christmas!

Arctic Sense – the end and the beginning

October 5, 2021 Barba returned to her homeport of Stavanger which she left June 1st 4 months earlier. The total travelled distance was 6000 nautical miles / 10 000 km, equivalent to a quarter of the globes circumference.


First of all, it was a collective effort, enabled not only by the crew, but also by a dedicated onshore team as well as multiple partners and sponsors.  Overall, the mission has been an overwhelming success, and this in a time of pandemic that complicated the matters even further, says Andreas B. Heide mission director and captain of the Barba.


Although the expeditions is completed, the communication will continue with full force in the time to come. Numerous feature stories will follow, talk, school presentation as well as the making of two documentaries.


Click here to see the expedition summary page.

Renewables UK: Global Offshore Wind conference

On 29th and 30th of September, Barba sailed to Royal Victoria Dock at ExCeL for the Renewables UK: Global Offshore Wind conference. This conference included over 200 world-class speakers and 150 global exhibitions to discuss the future of using offshore wind as a source of renewable energy for the future. 

Andreas was invited to give the opening address at the climate business leaders COP26 breakfast and later presented the Arctic Sense project on the Energy Transition stage. At the climate breakfast we shared Ocean Bottles filled with seawater collected at 80 Degrees North to guests to inspire future action for Arctic conservation. Attendees also had a chance to visit the boat and hear about the crew’s voyage from the Arctic. 

We are very grateful to the support of our partners, such as the Norwegian British Chamber of Commerce, who helped facilitate our participation.

News-O-Matic Article: ‘An Adventure for the Wild’

The Arctic Sense expedition was recently featured in a News-O-Matic article. This online learning platform makes non-fiction news accessible for children, parents and teachers all over the world. 

In the article, Andreas shares some of the wildlife highlights of the expedition with News-O-Matic writer, Alexa Tirapelli, and why these sightings give him reason for hope. We are excited that children in countries near and far from the Arctic will feel a bit closer to these incredible creatures and fragile environment through reading. 

Featured image by News-O-Matic 

Barba arrives to London

A moment of great anticipation and importance for the Barba crew.

After departing Stavanger nearly four months ago to begin the Arctic Sense expedition, Barba has finally arrived to London.

Before the expedition began, Andreas envisioned meeting a political leader in London to share highlights of the journey and specifically gift an Ocean Bottle filled with Arctic seawater as a thank you for the incredible cleanup of the Thames (now the cleanest river of a major city in the world). This would come full circle by using an Ocean Bottle, reusable water bottles made of recycled plastic. By purchasing a single bottle, you fund the collection of 1000 ocean-bound plastic bottles in weight in costal locations around the world. Whilst in Svalbard, the team made the first step in making this idea possible by filling four bottles with water when they first hit the pack ice,  North of 80 degrees.

This idea became a reality this past week when Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, visited Barba in London. The team was able to share stories and successes of the expedition and gift the Deputy Mayor a bottle of Arctic water. We are very grateful that she took the time to visit Barba and we very much look forward to future conversations!

The day was made even better by sharing it with Larissa Clark and members of both the Ocean Bottle and Whale Wise teams, seeing one another for the first time in person since the Arctic Sense expedition began.


Featured photo by Sophie Bolesworth

Jan Mayen Arrival

Barba has made its way across the Northeast Atlantic and arrived in Jan Mayen. The crew will soon begin their ascent of Mt. Beerenberg – traveling in the footsteps of Wordie exactly 100 years later.

Follow their summit of Mt. Beerenberg using the inReach tracking link


Featured photo: Hugo Pettit

Chapter 3 begins: Jan Mayen

On 20th August 2021, the Jan Mayen 2021 Expedition, a critical chapter of the Arctic Sense project, sets sail on a 1,200 nautical mile scientific research and historical storytelling voyage to the remote island of Jan Mayen onboard the ocean conservation platform S.V. Barba.

300 years ago, the small Arctic island of Jan Mayen was a prolific whaling station. In just 50 years, the wild population was hunted to near extinction. Left uninhabited, it wasn’t until August 1921 that a British party led by Shackleton’s former geologist, Sir James Mann Wordie, visited the island to undertake its first geological study. Whilst there, Wordie and his team also summited the unconquered peak of the world’s northernmost volcano Mount Beerenberg. Exactly 100 years later, a team co-led by Norwegian Andreas B. Heide, captain of the research vessel Barba, and British writer & adventurer Hugh Francis Anderson, will travel in the footsteps of Wordie to assess and document the island today.


Featured image and video by Hugo Pettit

Get video and photo updates