I am Bia Figueiredo.
My story didn’t start in the ocean but, sure enough, it found its way there very early in the picture.
I am a “Post - New Year’s Eve” baby – born on January 2nd, amidst hot summer days, in the estate of São Paulo, Brazil. It didn’t take long for my old soul to bring my tiny newborn body home - I was only a few weeks old when my parents took me to my auntie’s house by the water. Literally, by the water. The white sandy beach in Vermelha do Sul, Ubatuba was just a mere continuation of my auntie's backyard lawn.
And that is how my journey began.
I took every opportunity I had to head down the coast and spend as much time as I could in the ocean. With my sister and cousins, I explored that whole coastline, swimming, snorkelling, paddling and, believe or not, contemplating.
I was 8 years old when I understood the magic and simplicity of watching sunsets by the sea. It was there where I learned about currents and tides, marine flora and fauna and the vastness of the big blue. It was there where I made the decision to become a Scientist, aiming to further my studies in Marine Ecosystems.
Fast forwarding, as a Biological Scientist, I have worked as a school Teacher, Wildlife Carer and as a Conservationist – this last one being the biggest drive I have ever felt in my adult life.
When I came to the realisation of the current health status of marine environments, I also understood that studying them was no longer enough. I had to voice it and I had to act upon it.
In 2013, I joined the then newest ship in the Sea Shepherd’s Neptune Navy, the former MY Sam Simon. What was meant to be a 4 weeks journey, became 4 full years of my life, where I shifted from ship to ship, campaign after campaign, crewing vessels that had as a main purpose to protect marine life.
From the icy waters of Antarctica to the vastness of the North Atlantic,
I cruised through all the world’s oceans, fighting for its protection and pristineness, stopping illegal whaling activities and chasing illegal fishing vessels across the globe.
In 2017 I disembarked to pursue new goals and engaged in broader public speaking events with the mission of sharing stories that could potentially inspire others to act from the space they were doing life.
Since 2020, I live between Australia and Brazil, working onboard expedition vessels as a Naturalist as well as working with brands that are in a sustainable journey. A big passion of mine is sharing the wonders of this world with people and learning from their experiences.
I spend my personal time exploring coastlines, floating above the water line or submerged and If the weather is not appropriate and being salty is not an option, you’ll find me find me adventuring rugged landscapes, forest trails and waterfalls or in fluffy boots, holding a hot cup of herbal tea, contemplating the blue horizon.
A Journey of a thousand miles.
A raw timeline of endless connection with the ocean and the land with a fearless commitment to protect it all.
Yap. That’s a one year old me.
By the sea, covered in sand and loving it! I can assure you that not much has changed since.
A near drowning experience when learning how to bodysurf kept me away from the ocean for a while.
The ocean called back.
And I’ve listened.
2005 – As an intern scientist,
I have lived and worked in the Amazon undertaking surveys on Pink Dolphin populations.
2006 – My first scuba diving ticket. Brought my sister (and wingman) along.
Became a Rescue Diver.
Finished my Bachelor in Biological Sciences and did my Honors in Marine Science.
Bought a one-way ticket to Australia.
First time diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
Embarked on one of the Sea Shepherd ships in Williamstown, Victoria. What was meant to be a 1 ship 4-week job, became 3 ships and 4 full years of my life.
In 2014, I was part of Operation Icefish 1.
We retrieved the largest amount of fishing gear from the Southern Ocean not-for-profit and engaged in the longest pursuit in maritime history to date.
In 2015, I co-created a Marine Debris Research Department on the ships and equipped two of them with a manta trawl to sweep the ocean surface for microplastics.
I participated in the 67th International Whaling Commission (IWC)
in Florianópolis, Brazil
as part of the Surfers for Cetaceans team.
Got my Coxswain Skipper’s License in 2019, returned to a life at sea, working as a Naturalist, Lecturer and Zodiac Driver on Expedition Ships.
In 2020, I became an Abysse Ambassador and returned to the Great Barrier Reef with a group of Conservationists to produce a documentary.
I was appointed as an Environmental Advisor for Ymbu Agroforestry Project in Ceará, Brazil.
Resumed expeditions guiding in the Kimberley region, NW Australia and Antarctica.
Made peace with the waves and jumped on a surfboard. Sold for life!
To be continued...