What if you could dive from your own back porch? For Nate Porter and Jordan Copp – this is their reality! Aboard their 75 foot (23 meter) sailboat Sylfia, these two PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainers and passionate ocean conservationists are truly living a ‘Seek Adventure, Save the Ocean’ life. With the power of the wind and waves, this epic crew (including the most adorable baby pig) is on a mission to share their love for all things aquatic via their captivating YouTube channel: Expedition Drenched. Captain Nate gives us an in-depth look at what life is like above and below deck while sailing and diving the world.
Question: What’s the inspiration behind the name Expedition Drenched?
Nate: Drenched has been our alias for 3 years of making weekly YouTube videos. We feel that the name encompasses what we do by not just physically getting drenched in the ocean, but also fully immersing into other cultures and being open minded in our travels. After globe trotting around the world for two years, we decided the very best way to travel the world and explore off the map dive sites would be with a huge lifestyle change. So we traded land life for an expedition vessel and expanded our small crew of content creators to a much larger scale crew of sailors, scuba divers, and editors. Now, it seems that the title Expedition Drenched has become an extension of our brand that our fans have grown to love.
Question: As a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, what do you love most about getting to certify fellow crew members aboard Sylfia?
Nate: I love seeing the ocean from a new diver’s perspective. The smallest seemingly mundane creature, such as a sea cucumber, can be seen with new eyes of excitement. When I see that amazement behind the mask it’s a constant reminder of how special our lifestyle is and our ability to dive off our back porch whenever we desire. But mostly, I’m proud of seeing our new crew develop into incredible divers with superb buoyancy control. By showing the development of the new crew learning to dive on board, it also demonstrates to our audience that diving is something anyone can learn. Rather than exclusively watching experienced divers, seeing a new diver very quickly becoming a confident, expert diver is an important connection for our viewers that we believe they can relate to.
Question: In what ways do you and the Expedition Drenched crew bring elements of conservation into your adventures above and below the surface?
Nate: We are a U.S. based Marine Educational Non-Profit 501c3 – this is a really important element for us. On Sylfia, diving is not just a hobby, it is so much more than that. It’s the glue that holds us together. It’s what everyone on board is passionate about because we believe that if we can help people fall in love with the ocean, it will change their outlook on life. As Jacques Cousteau once said, ‘people protect what they love’; so if we can inspire a feeling that the ocean is important, people will do what they can to help preserve it. To get this message across, we try our best to show citizen science, and where possible, collaborate with other non-profits and sustainable organizations to highlight good people doing good deeds for our planet. When we’re in an area that has a certain marine issue, we try and find and connect with individuals and organizations that are doing something about it. In the past, we have been able to highlight issues related to lion fish, crown-of-thorns starfish, culling, and coral bleaching through working with and by interviewing experts in the field. While not every episode is as educational about the big blue world, by simply showing our lifestyle, we promote a way of living that aims to reduce waste and lessen our carbon footprint – by not eating meat on board, co-sharing living spaces, supplying our electric needs with solar energy, and traveling with the power provided by the wind.
Question: What’s it like having ‘Peanut the Sailing Pig’ as a crew member?
Nate: When we first got Peanut, a village told us that they had a little runt piglet that was getting bullied and not getting to eat. Without even a moments hesitation, the girls agreed we would take her. I don’t think we fully thought that one through to be honest. But here is what I didn’t expect – I didn’t expect that Peanut the Sailing Pig would quickly become the smartest animal I have ever encountered. As she grew older, her personality grew as well and we were all amazed as to what tricks she learnt. Within weeks she was swimming, sitting, kissing, barking, and running. She has quickly become the star of the show and now I realize that showing empathy and kindness to this little piglet is right in line with our goal of showing empathy and kindness to the environment, animals, and cultures.
Question: With periods of isolation often built-in to life aboard a sailboat, what advice do you have for people around the world that may be experiencing elements of isolation as a result of the pandemic?
Nate: On occasion, we find ourselves isolated from the outside world for weeks at a time. What we’ve learnt from this is the importance of using downtime in a productive way. Finding hobbies and activities that fill you with joy will keep you busy and help reduce stress build-up. Some examples of what the crew likes to do that can be done in a limited space include: yoga, drawing, play the ukulele, reading, play board games, cooking dishes from their home countries, making jewelry, brewing kombucha, editing photos, and my personal favorite – getting better at filming underwater. Lucky for all of us, even in an isolated world, we are still very connected through the internet, so even when we can’t see our loved ones and need a little extra pick-me-up, they’re never much more than a phone call away.
Question: As a sailor and a diver, what does the ocean mean to you?
Nate: I’ve logged about 4,000 dives in my career and I never cease to be amazed by the world below. Each and every dive I am still learning, taking better note of the small things, witnessing the interactions between species, and even the personality of certain fish. Still now, my bucket list of sea creatures I’m yet to see doesn’t get smaller, in fact it gets larger by the day. The ocean is a place of plenty and wonder, and I truly believe there is always something wonderful to see. Lately I’ve started simply diving right under the boat even if it’s not a named dive site, sometimes just going slow, enjoying blowing bubbles and watching little plankton. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad day that I went diving, and if I’m ever feeling blue I know it’s time for a dive. Through our channel, we try our best to bring that same sense of awe and excitement to others that don’t have the ability to simply dive off their back porch.
Inspired to seek adventure and save the ocean in your own way? You can start your next dive adventure right now from the comfort of your home (whether its floating or not) with PADI eLearning. eLearning allows you to complete the online portion first, and then connect at any time with a PADI Dive Center or Resort to complete your in-water training.