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From Africa to a sailing boat: Meet Charles, our 2nd Captain

Charles has replaced Stéphane of the Blue Panda and after 10 days in Greece, he is now sailing to the Cote d’Azur in France to #StopPlasticPollution. Let’s meet him…

© Yaz Güvendi / WWF
Charles, the 2nd captain of the Blue Panda

1- Your name
Charles Desclercs

2- Your first encounter with WWF
My first encounter with WWF was in 1972 in Kenya when was 10 years old. My father was working in East Africa and we were travelling there often. I was passionate about this continent and its wildlife. WWF was running a project for the protection of an endangered gazelle.

3- Your feeling being the captain of the Blue Panda
I feel proud to act for something I believe in.

4- When you first decided that you wanted to be a captain
When I was 10 years old, I wrote a letter for Captain Cousteau and sent it to the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. He replied and guided me through this journey!

I have always been attracted to the sea and at 16, I wanted to do a world tour on a sailing boat.

© A. Zamplakos / WWF-Greece
The Blue Panda to stop oil companies from drilling in Greek Paradise

5- How many times have you crossed the Mediterranean - and your favorite memory
I have now been a professional sailor for 40 years, and I cross the Mediterranean at least once a year. So let’s say that I have crossed the Med already 20-30 times.

I have many great memories but I will never forget the time when we were sailing between Corsica and the continent, and a group of dolphins started following the boat. I went into the water, holding a rope tied to the sailing boat and wearing a mask to look at the dolphins swimming under me. They were curious about me at least as much as I was curious about them. We swam together for about 10 minutes, and I felt a special connection to them. It was a once-in-a-life experience that I will never forget.

6- The Mediterranean for you is...
... the mother of all seas. I have been swimming in many seas but none of them is as clear, pure and luminescent as the Mediterranean.

7- Your “wow” moment while sailing in the Mediterranean
Every day is a wow moment when you are in the Mediterranean: the sunset, the Mistral wind and also its calm, flat water…

8- What you like when you are at sea
What I like the most is the fact that I do not have to think about what comes next. When you are at sea, you just act, in the present.

© Yaz Güvendi / WWF
Charles, Méli and Yan: the crew of the Blue Panda for the #OilFreeGreece mission

9- How much plastic you see at sea
A lot. Too much. I remember one scene 2-3 years ago in the bay of Santa Manza in Corsica: looking from the boat, the sea was clear and transparent, we couldn’t find any waste. I wore a mask and dived in this paradise and found out that I was swimming in a real soup of plastic!

10- Your message to the people who will meet the Blue Panda
Be aware about the threats to our Mediterranean before it is too late.


Charles is now sailing together with Gregoire as second captain and Yan, Olivier and Gerard as sailors. If you have some questions for the Captain and his crew, you can meet them and the Blue Panda team in Nice and Marseille (France) from 13 to 23 August.