Remember, my goal - peaceful coexistence. To have a relaxed mindset as we enter into the world of these whales. To be open to learning from them, and unoffended if the whale does not seem accepting of us at any particular moment. We inhabit this planet together. Why wouldn’t we want to celebrate each other’s beauty, while respecting the other species’ own lifestyle and needs?Read More
Media serves a lot of different purposes in today’s society, and can invoke a huge range of emotions. For those of us with a passion for imagery, audio, and other types of creative outlets, there is an immense responsibility to ensure we’re spreading the right messages to our audience. In the marine conservation world, my cohorts and I have taken on the rather large task of illuminating the problems and threats faced by our ocean and its inhabitants.Read More
Because Tonga is one of the breeding grounds of the South Pacific humpback whales, we see an extensive range of behaviors that are focused around accomplishing one of two goals: 1) you’re either here to give birth and raise a calf or 2) you’re here to get pregnant or impregnate another whale.
Sometimes I make jokes that whales are the “original tropical island honeymooners”and that Tonga is the bedroom and Antarctica is the kitchen, connected by the world’s longest hallway, but these expressions are a bit of a euphemism. It’s definitely not all chillaxing and playful getting it on for the whales here. Breeding season is hard work.Read More
One of my big goals is to sail as much as possible, in the very near future. I’m trying to manifest that with positive thinking and affirmative action. I took a sailing course in the San Juan Islands in June with my family (photos below) and fell even more in love with the concept of harnessing the wind’s energy to spend time on the best thing in the world (the ocean).Read More
Another busy week is whirling by, filled with bouts of spitting rain and random bursts of sunshine. The sun is always teasing us, staying out just long enough to dry our towels and our salt-stained clothing before it ducks behind a cloud and we have to run around frantically collecting our laundry before the next downpour.
Island weather, it turns out, is a fickle friend. And I love it! Some nights it’s a bit chilly and we are bundled up in blankets, drinking mulled wine and nibbling on our sacred stashes of dark chocolate while watching movies. Other nights, we’re sweating and draped on top of our bedsheets, wishing for the soft whir of a fan next to our ears and some sort of reprieve from the hypnotic buzzing of the mozzies.Read More
You’re looking at a brand new Master/Engineer Class 6! A.k.a. I’ve obtained my basic skipper’s ticket. I just finished the last stage of my skipper’s course, which consisted of a fifteen minute verbal exam with an officer from Tonga’s Marine and Ports Division. This whole process has been going on since May - I took a three week course in Nuku’alofa on the main island of Tonga with 25 other skippers-to-be. My friend Thom and I were the only two palangis (Caucasians) in the class, and I was also one of two females (REPRESENT). I really enjoyed learning with and being around my Tongan classmates. Everyone was welcoming and very kind!Read More
Things have gotten busier around Sea Change this week! More and more guests are arriving, and a somewhat spontaneous wedding ceremony was held last Saturday alongside a Tongan feast. It’s nice to see some new faces around the property, and with each new group comes more bubbling enthusiasm, different stories, and fresh conversations to be had. I’m excited to meet and chat with a lot of these people out on the whale swims this season. It’ll be interesting to see what their experiences with whales have been prior to this visit. I imagine a lot of them might be seeing whales for the first time? Who knows!Read More
Island life - a perfect paradise all to ourselves, crystal clear water steps from our bedrooms, falling asleep and waking up to a light breeze rustling through vibrant green ferns. The sun shimmering through coconut trees that are positively loaded down with sweet young cocos, just waiting for us to crack them open and indulge in their sweet, sweet liquid. Morning coffee sipped with your toes in the sand, watching whales blow in the distance. Every single day like this….right?
Haha! Island life is amazing, but there are definitely little quirks that you don’t immediately think about when you envision what it’s like living tropically. Yes, there are the bright white beaches and beautiful blue waters. But there is also a constant onslaught of mosquitos and flies, along with some very large arachnids that can somehow conjure new webs in what appears to be minutes, right across your normal path to the bathroom.Read More
My friend Fi and I had some fun creating this blog post on eco-friendly fashion, the thrift-store way. Thrift shopping is an awesome way to share some love with the planet and refresh your wardrobe. Fast fashion is straining our planet’s resources - read more about what you can do to ditch this approach to shopping and adopt a more sustainable attitude.Read More
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about routines and rituals. Specifically, I’ve been contemplating how important they can be for our mental and emotional health, and how sometimes, even maintaining a semblance of ordinary or familiarity can help you adjust to challenging new situations that would otherwise be rather anxiety-inducing. I’ve started keeping a few different routines over the past several months. Right now, in hindsight, I find this interesting, as my mantras used to be evolve or be left behind, accept change, adapt constantly, don’t get attached to things that you attribute to your identity, you are constantly in metamorphosis… I never liked the idea of a routine. I thought I would be wasting opportunities to try something new if I kept repeating old habits.
But maybe the real beauty lies in the fact that you can enjoy self-transformation while staying consistent and true to actions that are serving you - i.e. some sort of routineRead More
Lately I’ve been on a kick discussing motivation, self-exploration, and mindfulness. Most of this probably stems from the changes I’m going through right now, moving to a new island and testing the waters of a new job; I find change sparks quite a bit of internal reflection. I think it’s appropriate to mention some of the books that have changed my way of thinking and played an influential role in helping me develop new perspectives and trains of thought. I’ve always been a total book nerd. Every single time I go visit home, I go to the library and 1) spend a couple hours just devouring book covers and sleeves and then 2) checking out more books than I could possibly hope to read in a year, with the ambition of finishing all of them in the few weeks I am spending at home. I just love that the entire world is at your fingertips in a library! You can learn literally anything. You pick your lesson. Does it get better than that? Life is one big classroom; you might as well show up having devoured as many books as you can.Read More
There is a crazy new adventure on the horizon! One of my best friends and flatmates, Fi, and I are heading up to Tonga to work with humpback whales for the austral winter. I’m so thankful that for the last four years, I’ve been able to spend at least one season with my favorite cetacean species. Humpbacks are such incredible, majestic creatures to encounter on the water. With their extra-long pectoral flippers, inquisitive eyes, and acrobatic nature, they never cease to delight guests on a whale watch (or make me scream).Read More
I haven’t written in a while and I feel like I want to share what’s going on in the marine world of dusky dolphins! I’d never really heard much about the species before I moved down to Kaikoura (they’re just found in the southern hemisphere) and I thought all my bros and ladies up in the northern hemisphere might be a bit curious about the dolphins that have been an almost-daily part of my life since moving down to New Zealand.
First off, here’s why marine mammals rock: they live in the ocean full-time but they have to BREATH AIR. Do you know how inconvenient that must be? These animals have risen to the challenge with the help of evolution and they are rocking those blowholes and myoglobin-rich muscles like nobody’s business. Eight minute dive for a dolphin? No problem. Me? Dead.
Five Crazy Fun Facts About Dusky Dolphins
1) They are part of the genus Lagenorhynchus, which contains six species total. They all share the characteristics of a relatively short rostrum, stocky body shape, and a schnazzy body coloration made up of bands and stripes in multiple hues. Like rainbow dolphins. Magic.
I’ve been feeling the need lately to share the confusion that’s been going on in my head, so this post is a bit more of a journal entry, with plenty of relevance to eco-living and the challenges we “green dreamers” face. I hope that by elaborating on my own thoughts, I might reach someone else who needs to hear that there is another human being experiencing the same emotions. The world is encountering a new level of challenging times right now, and I personally recognize and feel this more and more as I get older, experience the world further through travel, and engage in more and more inspiring conversations with people from across the globe. We are all handling the challenges (whether they involve social injustice, climate change, pollution, food shortages, and other sticky issues) differently, because we are all unique individuals with our own brains and different wiring systems. I tend to feel most strongly and passionately about the “eco” side of things; that’s just where my heart lies. I still get angry and flustered and hurt when hearing about other issues - but one girl would go crazy if she poured all of herself into too many concerns.Read More
I’m pretty sick of all the heavy negative weight around the words “climate change.” Yes, it’s scary. It’s horrifying that we are letting things get this bad. But at the same time, it’s a problem that we are facing, and there are many people taking positive action. Humanity has faced problems before. We’ve tackled issues and seen both successes and failures, and plenty of bumps along the way. In the end, doesn’t it come down to collaboration and problem-solving? I listened to a really succinct Green Dreamer podcast the other day that focused on summarizing climate change science into three basic facts. Dr. Jeffrey Bennet was the astronomer, teacher, and author that was interviewed, and I enjoyed his casual and easy-to-understand style as he pointed out some helpful bits of advice and offered practical ideas for solutions to this crisis. And the episode was only 30 minutes! I recommend listening to the whole thing here, but I’ve also summarized some of the key ideals that really stuck out to me.Read More
Plastic in Paradise
As our boat began to slow and we craned our necks to get a glimpse of the island that would be our next stop, I felt a huge burst of excitement. This was why we came to the Philippines and why we chose a three-day boat cruise from Coron to El Nido in the popular tourist area of Palawan. We were promised crystal clear waters, vibrant coral and hundreds of empty white sandy beaches to explore. So far it had not disappointed.Read More
Two weeks into 2019 and it’s going to keep chugging. Does it feel any different than 2018? Not really. But I do have this sensation, this impatience, this sense of urgency that seemed to ring itself in along with the fireworks and champagne on New Year’s Eve two weeks ago. We all have our challenges that we want to tackle in 2019, our resolutions that we’re hoping to stick to, changes we want to implement in our own lifestyles. For those of you whose resolutions involve tackling the issue of plastic pollution and the impracticality of the “throw-away” culture, please read on. This is a guide on realistic changes you can make this year, and how you can actually keep these habits throughout the coming months instead of getting reabsorbed into the old ways. If you feel like I feel on these topics, you’ll realize that our society is fast running out of excuses to not address these issues on a very personal level.
So, 2019, man! #noexcuses.Read More
I’m sure there are plenty of holiday-makers down in Hawai’i right now soaking up copious amounts of Vitamin D, sipping lilikoi-foam-topped Mai Tais, and perfecting the beautiful art of doing nothing. Is there a better time to immerse yourself in total relaxation than Christmas and New Year’s? Shouldn’t the holidays be about stepping away from the craziness of every day life and just enjoying the beauty of existing? Maui happens to be one of the best places to practice this art form - you’ll get the backdrop of waving palm trees and crystal clear blue water while you’re recharging those batteries of yours.
BUT, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself itching to get into the water after a few minutes on the island. And rightfully so! The water around the Hawaiian islands are warm year round and home to many stunning coral reefs and fascinating marine organisms. Coral reefs are About 25% of the fish, invertebrate, and plant species you’ll find here are endemic, meaning you won’t spot them anywhere else in the world. There are several popular snorkeling spots around Maui that have quite an impressive reputation for good reason - there’s also the allure of the chance of spotting a manta ray, a sea turtle, an octopus, eels, spinner dolphins, or even humpback whales!Read More
So, how the heck do we survive the holiday season while being good to ourselves? This is especially challenging if you also consider yourself a vegan, vegetarian, or another classification of plant-based eater. Now, willpower is not everyone’s strong suit. It definitely wasn’t mine for a very long time. I love food. I really love food, in fact. And the idea that someone decided the holidays should be all about eating used to make for a very big internal struggle. It became a lot easier when I decided to start eating vegan for a purpose bigger than myself, a.k.a reducing my carbon footprint. I did it because I wanted to be able to walk the conservation walk if I was going to talk the conservation talk. Going vegan or vegetarian is one of the most straightforward and impactful choices you can make to significantly reduce your carbon footprint and spread some sanity and love to this crazy world. This post isn’t about preaching the vegan word, though (this one is!). This is a survival guide for a vegan party-goer (or anyone trying to eat healthy) as we dive headfirst into holiday party festive season. HERE WE GO.Read More
So I’ve been on an extended stopover in Maui, visiting some very beautiful, kindhearted friends of mine, many of whom I used to live and work with. I am slowly making my way south towards the Southern Hemisphere, but while waiting for some visa paperwork to process, I couldn’t not stop on the most isolated island chain in the world! Maui holds a special place in my heart because it represents a very dynamic time in my young twenties. I moved out here on a whim (and since then, each subsequent move has become easier and easier) to explore what it meant to be a marine naturalist.Read More