LOCAL youngsters got to experience life on – and under – the ocean waves when the tall ship Earl of Pembroke stopped in Milford Haven this month.

On June 11, a group of young people, all of whom are either in education or seeking employment, enjoyed a four-hour sailing trip around the Pembrokeshire coastline on board the 145-foot barque.

The trip was part of a project to raise environmental awareness and teach young people how scientific research is carried out.

Despite choppy seas, the group - from Pembrokeshire Youth Services, Milford Youth Matters and MITEC Marine Centre - worked together to collect plankton samples, which were then taken back to Dale Fort Field Studies Centre for examination.

Accompanying the youngsters was a camera crew from the ITV’s Coast and Country programme, and senior scientist Dr Simon Boxall, from the National Oceanographic Centre.

Also on board were representatives of the Darwin Centre, HMS Beagle Trust, Tall Ships Wales Trust, Dragon LNG and the Bluestone Foundation, all of whom had helped organise or pay for the trip.

The outing was designed to reflect the objectives of the HMS Beagle Trust and the Darwin Centre, which draw on the story of the original HMS Beagle and her famous passenger Charles Darwin.

Their joint aim is to inspire young people towards a career in modern science through personal experience on a sailing ship of similar size to the original HMS Beagle studying the many mysteries the sea still holds.

The Beagle trust intends to rebuild a modern version of HMS Beagle, if possible in Pembrokeshire, as an ongoing resource for this work.

The Earl of Pembroke, which has previously featured in films such as Hornblower and Treasure Island, is owned by the medical company Metaco and is now used for charitable work.

Resplendent with her newly acquired set of scarlet sails, she has now made her way out of Milford Haven, but is set to return for another local outing in July.