Cape Town - Around 17 cartoonists have linked up with the Swiss sailing boat Fleur de Passion while it has circumnavigated the globe over the past four years, mirroring the route taken by famed Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan 500 years ago.
The boat departed from Seville, Spain, in April 2015 and made port in Cape Town in December.
Fleur de Passion is circumnavigating the world as part of the Ocean Mapping Expedition, which seeks to better understand the planet’s oceans through scientific research around microplastics, methane gases and other harmful elements.
Swiss cartoonists have contributed their cartoons to an exhibition titled Our Spice Islands, which opened this week at the Luggage Hall on Jetty 2 at the V&A Waterfront, in Cape Town.
Cartoonists were invited to spend time on board Fleur de Passion in the tradition of past maritime expeditions, where artists were invited on board ships to document the voyage.
Samuel Gardaz, vice-president of Fondation Pacifique, which sponsored the expedition, said cartoons also have an “important tradition” in Swiss culture.
The latest cartoonist to link up with the sailing boat was South African Anton Kannemeyer, who spent time on the sailboat when it passed Mossel Bay.
His cartoons are depicted in booklets that can be viewed as part of the exhibition while other elements include the world map showing both Magellan’s journey and Fleur de Passion’s, video documentaries to show the journey of the boat and some of the scientific findings also in the form of small videos.
“It’s totally free for people to visit the exhibition and they can walk down to Fleur de Passion and we’ll give them a free tour of the boat as well,” said Gardaz.
“It’s the first time that we have done this exhibition at a stopover, with the only other time being in Geneva, Switzerland, where we had a replica boat on display. But what makes this better is you can see the boat right from the luggage hall.”
Fleur de Passion made port in Durban in October before sailing along the coast to Cape Town and needs four crew members to be operational but normally has more than four people on board at any given time, said Gardaz.
“We’ve also had young teenagers from Geneva on board to spend around two months at a time as a ship’s apprentice, where they learn how to work the instruments, sail and about ocean life while also getting to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.”
The sailing boat will be hoisted out of the water at the end of January for scheduled maintenance before it sets sail for Saint Helena Island in February.
It will then travel to the Cape Verde islands port of Mindelo and the Spanish port of Las Palmas, before stopping in Rabat, Morocco, and ending its four-year expedition back in Seville, where it’s due to make port in September.
The exhibition and one-hour tour of Fleur de Passion are free and open from 10am to 6pm daily until January 24.