St Peter's School
Jess has done a great job of keeping the School updated with her adventures, and her latest travel plans - which happen to complement her studies of ‘Marine Biology and Oceanography’ at Bangor University - are no exception.
Jess’s passion for sailing started in 2012, whilst at St Peter’s School, when she had the opportunity to join the tall ship ‘STS Lord Nelson’. Despite the voyage coinciding with first term of Lower Sixth, Jess remembers well how supportive the School was: “Mr Winkley recognised how different and amazing this opportunity was and basically said ‘see you when you get back’”, and so began Jess’s first sailing adventure.
Jess started as a member of the voyage crew and explained how she really enjoyed getting into the role and what the trip offered: “ ‘STS Lord Nelson’ really gave me such valuable experiences. The ships (both STS Lord Nelson and her sister ship, ‘SV Tenacious’, which are both part of the Jubilee Sailing Trust) have been specifically designed to accommodate physically disabled people. I was working alongside a Watch Leader who was totally blind but knew his way around the ship, it was totally inspiring.”
At the end of her first trip, Jess was given the opportunity to become a ‘Bosun’s Mate’ – a voluntary role doing more maintenance and helping out as a leader around the ship, which requires her to help lead voyage crew in training, sail handling, climbing aloft (in the rigging!) and general seamanship. This led to Jess’s next trip aboard the ‘SV Tenacious’, where she took this fantastic picture of the ship anchored in Fiji!
Jess chose her degree subject because “At school I absolutely loved biology, had an interest in Chemistry and had a fascination for the sea. Bangor stood out to me when I went to visit the School of Ocean Sciences at the Open Days, as all the lecturers were extremely passionate about their subject areas which radiated into the audience – their enthusiasm was contagious and left us wanting to know more!”
Jess is the first student at Bangor to undertake these tall ship voyages, getting real experience at sea to complement her studies in the most unique way possible.
Jess is keeping her options open for what will come next after University but would love to “encourage more people to look in more detail at the science behind nature, and to uncover how important it is to appreciate and understand the science influencing our daily lives – from the food we eat to the air we breathe, but most crucially: the world we live in. There is no planet ‘b’.”
Jess’s passion and enthusiasm for the ships, voyages and her degree subject is infectious. Her most recent voyage was on board ‘Bark EUROPA’ during which she sailed as one of the three marine research scientists for 56 days. The journey took place last year between May and July, where she travelled from Cape Town, South Africa to Horta, Azores (approximately 1,000 nautical miles West of Portugal) via the Atlantic islands of St Helena and Ascension (both part of the British Commonwealth). Horta is a small town on the island of Faial in the archipelago of the Azores which is one of the places Jess visited on her very first tall ship journey in 2014 on ‘STS Lord Nelson’ – back to where this all started! There are many more adventures to come as Jess prepares to round off her second year at university and join ‘Bark EUROPA’ again for another summer full of seafaring discoveries. Following in her footsteps from last year will be a new first-year Bangor student from the School of Ocean Sciences which Jess has selected, to conduct their own research and gain the invaluable practical skills in the field on the very same route Jess and the crew of ‘Bark EUROPA’ took last year. “Take every opportunity that comes your way – you never know where it may lead you.” - Jess Fox.
You can follow the ship’s progress by going onto the ‘Bark EUROPA’ facebook page where they post regular updates on the ship’s activities – most recently in Antarctica and is now heading for South Georgia!