Those who are passionate about the sea will know it: Giancarlo Pedote, Florentine, born in 1975, is an ocean sailor, one of those who pick up and leave alone who knows where, who knows for how long. Over the years he has achieved quite a few successes and several trophies. Today he lives with his wife and his two children in France, in Lorient, where he continues to be committed to protecting the ocean, so much so that he has now published We protect the Ocean, the Planet needs you (ElectaKids), a logbook that retraces some of the stages of the legendary regatta Vendée Globe and remembers the waves, the winds and the most amazing encounters. In an illustrated book, he tells what plankton is (“It is the set of floating aquatic organisms transported by the sea”), where Point Nemo is located (“In 1992 the engineer Hrvoje Lukatela managed to find the precise coordinates of the furthest point from any emerged land”) and what underwater canyons are (“Very deep fissures, even hundreds of kilometers long”). In these pages, he focuses a lot on environmental responsibility, explaining well what the institutions are doing and what each of us can do.
Speaking of the Vendée Globe, what was the most exciting and scariest moment?
«Two moments come to mind that are more emotional than the others, both linked to the land: the moment I left the pier into the unknown and the moment I saw land again after 80 days. Greetings to the world and to loved ones: detachment, the passage from a dimension of physical union to that of union in distance. The immersion in a deep dimension of one’s self, immersed in the Ocean which proved to be a mirror for my soul. Greeting the world and my family upon arrival: the meeting of a new me with others and the rediscovery of a new balance.”
In your book you talk a lot about sustainability and, apart from the macro things (not throwing plastic into the sea, nor pollutants…), what virtuous attitudes, which perhaps we don’t think about, can we implement?
«Let’s protect the ocean is a book written to raise awareness among children and adults about sustainability. In it I tried to collect a series of attitudes which, if transformed into habits, become concrete acts that protect the environment. The first attitude to adopt to protect our wonderful planet is to believe that every gesture counts. In the book I have collected a series of them and I invite everyone to choose one, adopt it day after day until it becomes a strong, rooted and stable habit. I know that doing so will require effort, because habits are difficult to change, but with perseverance and the right motivation by taking action by involving those who live with us, it is absolutely possible to do so. And wonderful: it creates a strong bond with the environment and loved ones.”
Which area of the world has seen more pollution than the others?
«The pollution that can be seen when sailing in a regatta, at the maximum possible speeds, is superficial pollution: objects that sink while floating or that can get caught in the appendages of the boat. However, what struck me most during my solo trip around the world without assistance and stopovers was finding the Sargasso Sea miles away from the place where we are used to finding it: a clear sign of an imbalance that affects the marine ecosystem due to pollution.”
Who is your book aimed at? Children? Boys? And what “life at sea” advice would you give them?
«The book is aimed at children between 8 and 12 years old, but with the aim of involving younger brothers and sisters and adults: the whole family, which is the nucleus of society and the center of possible changes. I really believe in education as a means of changing things together; students and educators, who are not just those at school. This is also why I dedicated a page on my website to this book, including two PDFs of activities that children and teenagers can do involving adults. One is dedicated to younger children and one to teenagers. Both can be printed and filled, with the invitation to send us your own works so that they can be published on the site and shared with all those who want to protect the Ocean.”
Do you have your own boat?
«No, I don’t own a boat, but when I can I rent one to spend time with my family on a cruise. Quietly, with the times of simple everyday life, totally different from those of competitive sailing.”
A habit she has when she goes boating…
«Apart from all the habits related to safety at sea, which I promote with conviction, when I sail I adopt a series of gestures that are directly designed to protect the sea. Every time we sail it, we should think about doing it with humility and respect: taking on board a desalinator if possible, organizing a recycling place on board, buying only biodegradable soaps that are not harmful to the sea… but the activity to which I am most fond of, the one that directly involves my family in a playful way, is to play and spot all the objects abandoned at sea and commit to recovering them, obviously in complete safety. Every time we are at anchor, we dive in search of fish and objects, observing the former with admiration and respect and collecting the others by free diving. At the end of the day we always take stock, imagine how they could have ended up in the sea and dispose of them correctly.”
Source: Vanity Fair
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