A bit more on the personal side….
I’ve noticed recently in the past few weeks how many guests aboard the Blue Pointer II have been kids and young teens. This makes me excited for many reasons. There’s nothing quite like the unguarded enthusiasm of youth, it has an infectious quality to it that I can closely relate to and also realize its importance in the preservation of our planet.
As a kid, growing up in California, I had an atypical sense of fun and adventure that fortunately my parents nurtured. At six, instead of dolls for Christmas I got a pet snake. I insisted on being a vegetarian from a very young age because of my love for animals. For my 8th birthday I got to go see the Lion King in the movie theatre. It was one of the best days of my life and the day I decided to move to Africa. No matter the obscurity of my dreams and desires, the important thing is that my parents let me choose, even if they didn’t understand, and it’s the reason I am where I am today.
In 2004, when I was a teenager still living in California, a young great white shark was caught inadvertently by fishermen off the coast of Southern California. The Monterey Bay Aquarium was able to keep this female shark in captivity for a record of 198 days in their Outer Bay exhibit. During her stay she ate consistently and grew at a healthy rate before being successful re-released into the wild. For the duration of her stay at the aquarium I insisted on driving multiple times to Monterey from my house, about a 4 hours drive, to visit this special shark. Every time I saw her I couldn’t breathe. I was in love. From the Monterey Bay Aquarium Website “During her stay, she was seen by nearly a million visitors and became, in the words of Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard, “the most powerful emissary for ocean conservation in our history.” It’s amazing how powerful one shark can be and what an impact she had. She is certainly one of the reasons I am currently working for African Shark Eco Charters.
Please read all about the white sharks of Monterey Bay Aquarium at:
Shark populations are declining worldwide due to a number of reasons from warming seas to polluted oceans to intense fisheries pressure (either as the primary target or as by-catch). If we want to see shark species, that have survived so many millions of years on the planet, into the next century, it is the youth of today that we need to inspire and be inspired by. Locally, here in Simon’s Town, African Shark Eco Charters is doing our part to bring the message about the importance and uniqueness of great whites to those with open minds and hearts. However, it is a global mission.
I know this blog may seem a bit personal, but I’m writing it to deliver an important message. It’s never too early to teach your kids about the importance of the natural world, because after all, they are the future of the conservation of the planet. Speaking from personal experience, by nurturing the enthusiasm of youth, as my parents did, you could be inspiring the next generation of conservationists!
These great white sharks are so special… we can’t wait to show you! Make it a family affair!
Hope to see you soon.