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Warrior Women of the Sea Connection | Conservation | Community





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Ocean appreciation


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Confessions Of A Warrior BY JESSICA WINKLER


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Welcome to our 6TH issue of Barnacle Babes magazine! e to begin, how do you tell someWelcome to the Ocean Appreciation Issue! Wher All the while knowing, we as a is? she thing so brilliantly perfect, how amazing grew up in a home with an alI . heart my s break It human race are defiling her. his solace. It was the ONLY place coholic and drug addicted father. The ocean was r for who he really was. He fathe my we could go where I got to truly experience time), out on the ocean. the of (most sober was was happy, he was free and he then. ‘She’ gave me my father. ‘She’ My appreciation for the ocean’s power began lf. ‘She’ let me daydream, explore, also let me have the opportunity to be myse was my escape. ocean the and breathe and play. I was a mermaid through our planet. She is susteShe is our breathe; she is the blood circulating r! Can we just stop what we powe ing nance, she is abundance and she is amaz she provides for us, and What us? for does she what are all doing and appreciate just say…thank you. es in our lives. Let’s all aim to We can also appreciate her through small chang le. Let’s lessen our petroleum live a healthier life and as plastic-free as possib to help a marine animal in sure dependence, stop overfishing, live simply, make waste you come across. or ge garba any up danger, care for the coral, and pick May you all find some time to love her, appreciate

Much love,

her and sing her praises.

Jodi Mossop



s, about the articles you’ve read, the people As always, I love to hear from you, our reader your stories and if we find them GREAT, hear to love also you’ve encountered and we would all emails to we’ll include in our next upcoming issues. Send | 3

"This publication was printed on Sugar Sheet - a 100% tree-free paper, created from the residue waste fibre of sugar cane. Barnacle Babes has selected Sugar Sheet as its paper of choice in an effort to measurably reduce deforestation and CO2 emissions."

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Content 08 16 24 34 42 | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

08 To be with Whales Jenny Swing


For the Love of Diving Tess Hedderich

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16 Answering The Call to Conservation Alexandra Morton interview by Sylvia Taylor

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20 Constraining Coral Carnage Sarah Specker


Growing Up Ocean Susan Knight

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28 Words and Water Teena Clipston


Water World, Now Kelli Sroka

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38 A Soap Box Call For the Love of the Ocean Saoirse Wang


Salty Warriors | 5

Barnacle Babes Vancouver, BC, Canada JODI MOSSOP

Publisher | Editor | Content Curator


Graphic/Layout Designer


Managing Fashion Editor




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Thank You

Featured Article ALEXANDRA MORTON Alexandra Morton is a Canadian American marine biologist best known for her 40 plus year commitment to whale and salmon research and conservancy. Most of her work has now shifted toward the study of the impact of salmon farming on Canadian wild salmon. Her tenacity, spirit and commitment to the ocean and her health is inspiring and we are grateful. You can find her moving story on page 16.


TEENA CLIPSTON Teena Clipston is a graduate with a diploma in Journalism and Short Story writing. She has since published 100’s of articles and 2 short stories. Teena has also created and sold 3 successful magazines out of BC, Canada, positioning herself as publisher and editor-in-chief of BC Musician Magazine, Gonzo Magazine and TheGreenGazette. Teena’s hobbies include sailing and travel. After selling BC Musician Magazine & Gonzo Magazine, she bought a sailboat and lived on it for one year while sailing around Vancouver Island. She would later co-produce a short lived sailing vlog called CruiserTV. She currently resides in Playa del Carmen, Mexico where she is studying the ancient history of the Maya. For more info:

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SYLVIA TAYLOR Sylvia Taylor is a writer, editor, educator, and communications specialist in Metro Vancouver, with a passionate commitment to communication. In addition to her two books, The Fisher Queen: Tales of the BC Coast and Beckoned by the Sea: Women at Work on the Cascadia Coast, she has published over four hundred articles and literary pieces in various publications. Taylor serves on the board of the Arts Council of Surrey and was a past president and former executive director of the Federation of BC Writers. For more information

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JENNY SWING Jenny Swing is a sailor and wildlife enthusiast living on the coast of Maine. After raising her two children in Vermont and more or less retiring, she has devoted as much time as possible to boats, sailing and the sea. Along with sailing, her profound passion is marine wildlife, especially cetaceans. Over the past few years, she has been the first mate on a 58’ traditional sailing vessel and has traveled the world to spend time with our beloved soul family of the sea, both in and out of the water. | 7


Jenny swimming with an adult female just waking up, as others are just heading for the surface after being vertical, Dominica


HERE was a calling for me, a relentless pull to be with whales. The great joy and life-altering experience of swimming with wild Atlantic spotted dolphins in Bimini had opened my heart to this calling.

My path became clear when I caught a Facebook post of some extraordinary whale footage by a BBC wildlife photographer, Patrick Dykstra. At the end of the clip, it mentioned that he allows a few people to accompany him on his filming expeditions. Bingo! I emailed him and he had a spot he was trying to fill.

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halewhalewhalewh TO BE


Sri Lanka and Dominica by Jenny Swing

My time in the water with whales began where that footage had been shot, in a fjord in northern Norway, late November of 2016. Warm in a drysuit, floating above them, I watched orcas and humpbacks feast on herring. Orcas darted wildly this way and that, rounding them up. Humpbacks took advantage of the orcas’ hard work and lunged through the herring with their mouths wide open. I felt sure they knew exactly where I was, but that I was of no concern to them. My fondest recollections are of the two

humpbacks who glided silently right beneath me and of the striking beauty of the orcas shining in the low light and murky Arctic water. My exposure to the whales in Norway was overthe-top thrilling, but I knew there was more for me to experience. My passion led me on. A few months later, I made my way to Sri Lanka to join Patrick during his time with blue whales. They are quite shy. It isn’t easy to catch even a fleeting underwater glimpse of one. Patrick is skilled at making it happen, and I did get to see a female | 9

whalewhalewhalew with a calf hidden on the other side of her. It was all over in a flash. Topside we were able to be quite close to these magnificent beings without disturbing them. As phenomenally blessed as I felt, my time with these whales was not what my heart most yearned for, as there was no sense of connection.

arby, Nor way

pbacks pass ne

um w, as three H watching belo s nd ie fr o tw Jenny and

My chance to meet sperm whales took me to Dominica a few months ago. There are several groups of resident females there. The males wander the seas alone and return for breeding. Patrick told me sperm whales are less shy, but I had no idea that I’d have close encounters with them that would change my life. My first time in the water brought me face to face with a large female. She came straight to us, clicking curiously for information. Then she began to swim, slowly as if to allow us to join her. We swam by her side as she and I looked right at each other from less than 10 feet away! Our days on the water were full of astonishing encounters, topside as well as in the water. Perhaps our daily invocations helped, but somehow we happened upon something that is rarely witnessed, seven sleeping whales! They sleep vertically. Finding them asleep is very difficult, since they don’t click while sleeping. We depended on hearing their clicks on the hydrophone to locate them. What an otherworldly thing to witness! Even the boat captain and mate took turns going in to see it.

Jenny in awe and ecstasy, Norway

There were five females and two calves. They were aware of our presence and I feel certain that they intentionally allowed us to be there. We spent nearly four hours with them. They slept for about 20 minutes, surfaced for a while, then went back to sleep. They expelled breath while sleeping, and it’s magical to watch the rising bubbles. Unbeknownst to me, I happened to be floating above some and felt a bubble burst on my belly. I also reached out to catch one in my hand ... mind blowing! My heart’s longing to be with whales will never be fully satisfied, but I am at peace now. My time with the sperm whales was intimate and full of connection. I have much to integrate from them. It is profound to consider the spiritual implications of our time together. There was likely much more going on than I can know. It was certainly a meeting of souls, perhaps even an exchange of energetic information. I know that I am not the same. I feel blessed, gifted by them and so in love!

Jenny and two frien

ds watching below, as

a large male Orca pa sses nearby, Norway 10 |

Underwater photographs by Patrick Dykstra. Topside photos by Andrea Steffen.


Jenny and a friend with five of the seven sleeping Sperm Whales, Dominica | 11


Love of Diving



The ocean is my hideout from the world—suddenly you are emerging into a whole different world where you are only a visitor and always will be. The silence down there is most enjoyable; the sound of your bubbles making their way up to the surface is calming on a whole different level. Ocean time is the only time where I am fully able to live in the moment and have my awareness be 100 percent in the NOW.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO DIVING? Most people think about the ocean their whole life. They grew up watching Jacques Cousteau on television and dreaming about becoming an underwater adventurer. For me, I grew up in Germany’s countryside riding horses from very little on. When I turned 20, I wanted to travel and see the world and left for Australia—they offered scuba diving and sky diving. I signed up for both back to back without being aware that you have to have some time between flying and diving. That is how it all started; that’s when I fell madly in love!

WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DIVING LOCATIONS? Most people think I am crazy when they hear my answer to this one. Vancouver Island and Northern British Columbia are my favorite places to dive. I have spent lots of time in the tropics and had some amazing experiences, but nothing quite excites me for an ongoing period of time as much as the Pacific Northwest.

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Photo Credit: Michal Urbanek

Where do you plan to go in the near future? I have been a busy girl these days, setting up dive trips and cleanup dives in our local waters. At work, we also run tropical trips, which I am happy to leave for my workmates to take care of. You will find me somewhere along the British Columbia Coast either shore or boat diving.

Where would be your ultimate dream dive? Very high up on the bucket list is Socorro, off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, otherwise I am happy in my drysuit up at Port McNeill and Port Hardy [in British Colombia] any day!

Why is it important to take care of the ocean? Well, the oceans are the planet’s lungs, so protecting what is crucial for our survival should be common sense. Life in the ocean began about 3.5 billion years ago, and much remains to be learned. We have only yet discovered less than 5 percent of the world’s oceans, which covers 71 percent of the planet’s surface. The mentality ‘out of sight, out of mind’ has not gotten us far in the sense of ocean conservancy; unfortunately, the ocean has become our dumping ground on a daily basis. | 13

What motivated you to host a beach cleanup? As a scuba dive instructor, I have the opportunity to shape the mind of a new diver first hand. Showing them the right way, being a role model to other divers, and caring for what is precious to us doesn’t need a lot of motivation. I had some devastating dives in Indonesia—diving with beautiful manta rays, just for reality to hit you once breaking through the surface in a carpet of trash.

What suggestions can you offer to others wanting to make a difference to the health of the oceans? The oceans should be most valuable to all of us. You don’t need to be a diver to help and show your support. First, be aware. Aware of your impact on the planet; the choices you make on a daily basis. We release toxins into our drains without even thinking about it. Never mind the thought of all the toxins we put on our skin in the first place. Awareness regarding plastics—straws you don’t actually need; using reusable shopping bags, etc. Then, of course, get involved. There are so many fantastic companies out there that give everyone a chance to do something. Join underwater cleanups, beach cleanups, volunteer for the Ocean Legacy and help sort out ocean trash, help spread awareness, be a role model.

When is your next cleanup? We are hoping to get another cleanup dive in before summer and then in the fall again. Specific dates will be posted.

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Photo Credit: Michal Urbanek

If you could send a love note to the ocean, what would it say? Hello dear beloved ocean. I want to express the deep gratitude I feel for you, and want to thank you for all that you do for us. Most of the time, you don’t get the affection you deserve, and mostly you are just taken advantage of; but you keep up the positivity and fuel us with your love, your serenity, and you give us oxygen to breathe and the space to just be. You hold no grudges; you are pure and always restore our souls without wanting anything in return. I want to apologize for all the stress we have put on you just because we didn’t know any better. I want to apologize that we have not yet come to understand how to treat you better. But I promise to try really hard to spread the word, to fight for you, to try to give back to you. You are worth more than anything in our lives; some people just can’t see that just yet. Please forgive them for their ignorance. You are so beautiful, full of wonders, and full of life. You hold the secret of the world; it all started with you. You give me the chance to make a living doing what I love most: being immersed in you.

Thank you. I love you!

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Answering The Call to CONSERVATION by Sylvia Taylor


OR OVER 40 YEARS, CREATIVITY, TENACITY AND BEYOND-THE-BOX THINKING HAVE BEEN THE GUIDING LIGHTS OF ALEXANDRA MORTON’S COMMITMENT TO WHALE AND SALMON RESEARCH AND CONSERVANCY. Her call to study and protect the natural world began as a child, exploring the mountain forests of Connecticut with her brother. By age six she was studying frogs, snakes and turtles. By ten she was fascinated by how animals communicate. By thirteen she knew she would study whales and dolphins.

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A free-thinking creative child of an artistic family, she also knew the life of lab coats and academia wasn’t for her, even though there were few opportunities and female role models in the sciences for girls in the mid 1960’s. But when world-famous chimpanzee researcher, Jane Goodall, appeared on the cover of National Geographic it opened a door to a world of possibilities for her. “I grew up thinking outside the box. Perhaps being outside the box all my life allowed me to do the things I do today. I don’t give in to personal limitations, I just do what I think needs to be done. That’s

frustrating for some people, but it keeps me on the front lines of things.” Her tenacity and independent spirit propelled her through a two-year self-designed diploma curriculum of biology, communication and animal research at American University. With a Magna Cum Laude biology diploma under her arm and a stint as a graphic designer for Good Morning America, she moved to California to continue her education and follow her calling to study cetaceans. In 1977, the 19-year-old whirlwind connected with dolphin communications research-

Alex takes samples of fish skin coming from the pens

er, Dr. John Lilly in Los Angeles. In two years Alex catalogued over 2,000 recordings of bottlenose dolphins and learned about working with marine mammals and audio equipment. “I would go into that room and fall into their world. I had found a treasure cave, the next door to my life. I kept slowing the recordings down, thinking these are signals from an intelligent mind.” Following her passion for animal communication, she secured permission from the local Oceanarium to listen to, record and swim with their captive dolphins. Anoth-

er door opened a few months later when their resident killer whale, Corky, gave birth to the first live calf in captivity. Alex stayed awake for days recording the event, then on a schedule of 12 hours a day or night, a month at a time. “The killer whale sounds really struck a chord in me. So different than the fasttalking hyper dolphins. They were slow, polite talkers, deliberate in their activities.

For two years she catalogued their sounds which she divided into 62 different categories. Her goal was to apply her findings in a study of wild whales and began her search for Corky’s family. She reached out to Dr. Michael Bigg, a marine biologist for Fisheries & Oceans Canada, who was studying killer whales of the British Columbia coast and had just devised an identification system based on distinctive markings and dorsal fins.

“I began to feel and understand the heart- wrenching experience of animals in captivity.”

“Dr. Biggs was a rare scientist that didn’t ignore me because of my youth and lack of advanced education. He sent me pictures of Corky’s mother and her A5 Pod and told | 17

Alexandra Morton by Clio Nelson

me to go to Alert Bay where I found them the first day.”

survival, constantly thinking about how I can do this.

Alex soon met and married Canadian wildlife filmmaker, Rob Morton, and together followed the killer whales to the Broughton Archipelago on the northern coast of BC where they raised their son in a remote settlement and devoted their lives to studying resident and transient killer whales. Tragically, Rob lost his life while filming at sea and Alex soldiered on.

“I helped save the wild pink salmon of the Broughton Archipelago once. We have to save them again because the measures put into place, we knew weren’t going to be permanent. If we stop, the wild salmon will go extinct, the orca won’t have food. The lights will go dim here. Salmon feed over a hundred species. They built the soil. When I look in my grandson’s eyes I fear for what he might face.”

“Following your calling is like being on a dark trail in the woods. Suddenly there’s a little lighted area that shows you a few feet ahead and a bit farther, and you say that’s where I belong, I’ll follow that. It’s still like that for me but the trail is very different. Today I’m fighting for the animals’

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However as we push our planet to breaking point, incredible people around the world are stepping forward and positive things are happening. Conservationist and author, Paul Hawken, says those who are intervening for the wild world are the immune system response of the planet.

“I don’t call myself an environmentalist, I’m just a woman cleaning house. You fall in love with the place and with the species you’re studying and you see they are being destroyed and it’s your job to do something about it. “Jane Goodall said she was fortunate to be gifted with enormous energy and a very fit body. I am too. This old body is such a workhorse. I do get depressed and sometimes I’m exhausted and don’t want to do this anymore. But I’m like those little ponies on the northern islands who just put their heads down and wait out the storm. You build up endurance. You have to be that support system inside yourself.” Alex believes that the most important thing is to take care of yourself. If you are a key component of what something needs

to survive, you need to survive. You have to keep stoking the fire with good fuel. “I know so many environmentalists that have burned out and simply vanish or die. One of the most important things is not to be angry. Anger is exhausting and eventually kills you. You have to replace it with love and let that be your fuel source. Find something you love to do that isn’t work. I play guitar. I have to have a dog in my life.” One of her greatest joys is motherhood, and is thankful for the love and support of

her grown son, daughter-in-law, teenage daughter and beloved grandson. Her joy also comes from the animals of the wild world and pride in her accomplishments. Being adopted by a First Nations family and given the name Gwayum'dzi, Big Whale. An honourary PhD in 2010 for her work in sea lice research. Earning income creating prints of local fish species in the Japanese tradition of Gyotaku. Publishing on viruses in major scientific journals in collaboration with a virologist and statistician.

Alex answers her Call to Legacy by inspiring and supporting others in ocean conservation. At her research station she advises the young graduate students to be the ‘small mammal’ not the ‘dinosaur.’ To be agile and adaptable. “I think the most important thing is to follow your heart. Build up your allies and don’t fall to self-barriers. If there’s a field of science you need to be part of to follow your path there’s always a way to access it. Don’t be afraid and don’t get angry. Just buckle down and do it.”

For more on Alexandra's work: | 19

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Constraining . Coral Carnage by Sarah Specker

Despite their inanimate appearance, corals are actually living organisms, biologically classified as marine invertebrates. They are often found living in compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. With its sac-like cylindrical body, usually attached to a firm structure on one end, and a central mouth opening encircled by a crown of tentacles on the other, a polyp looks a lot like a vase held by gloved fingers. The tentacles are covered with stinging nettle cells (nematocysts) that pierce, paralyze and poison potential prey, like copepods or fish larvae. The muscle fibers inside the tentacles allow for transportation of this captured food straight into the body where digestive enzymes do the rest of the work: similar to hands putting food straight into your small intestine. 

Surprisingly, coral reefs occupy less than 1 percent of the ocean floor, yet they provide a home for more than 25 percent of all marine species. Because of this enormous biodiversity as well as their ability to perform photosynthesis, coral reefs have earned themselves the nickname “rainforests of the sea.” But, unfortunately, coral reefs are threatened by multiple factors, including pollution, introduced invasive species (e.g. lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea), overfishing, destructive fishing, oceanic acidification, coastal development, diseases and, of course, global warming. Too much stress makes coral expel its own zooxanthellae in an attempt to alleviate the pressure. Unfortunately, this means that coral robs itself of its main nutrient provider; and if the algae don't return, the coral will permanently lose its colour and starve to death—a process called coral bleaching. 

To fortify and protect its delicate body, some polyps build their own limestone skeleton using calcium and carbonate absorbed from the surrounding water. This hard outer reinforcement, called a calicle, shapes the outside of a single polyp. By connecting to one another, these polyp-calicles first create small colonies that function as a single organism. Through growth and fusion with other colonies, these structures eventually form complete coral reefs.

In the last three decades, several global bleaching events have happened, with the longest one ever recorded occurring between 2014 and 2017, killing coral reefs globally on an unprecedented scale. The culprit? A big increase in sea surface temperatures, attributed to global warming. A rise as “little” as 1 degree Celsius—if lasting—is enough to damage coral irreparably.

But no matter how self-sufficient these colonies are, they would be nowhere if it weren’t for their plantlike partner. Zooxanthellae—single-celled algae that live symbiotically inside the polyp—provide the corals with the majority of their organic carbon nutrients (up to 90 percent!) needed for metabolism, growth and reproduction through photosynthesis. Plus, they give the corals' calicles a nice colour too.

The ability to withstand these stressors and recover from bleaching depends on numerous factors, such as the type of coral, duration of thermal stress, type of zooxanthellae, and health of the coral, to name just a few. Unfortunately, the impacts seem to be too many, too big and too long-lasting nowadays, meaning even the most resilient of reefs are taking a big blow.

A polyp’s simple body structure hasn't changed in more than a half a billion years, making it a living fossil; yet, this unelaborate body shape allows for an unimaginable diversity, proven by the amount of different corals present in our oceans.

The rapid worldwide damage and disappearance of coral reefs—our oceans’ lungs—basically means that the oceans are choking. And scientists expect the worst is yet to come … . Thankfully, our understanding of coral characteristics | 21

as well as awareness of the severity of global reef damage is increasing, leading to small attempts to control the damage. One such small—but seemingly effective—attempt to restore damaged coral is through a process called “coral gardening.” In human medicine, when your lungs are (nearly) completely destroyed, you are dependent on oxygen for the rest of your life, unless you get a lung transplant. In an oceanic context, this translates to a coral transplant. Similar to a plant nursery, small coral fragments chopped off from remaiming healthy coral are “planted” onto a grid. Under strict surveillance and a lot of TLC, these fragments slowly grow into new coral colonies. Once they have reached a certain size, the newly grown coral crops are planted back onto the depleted reef in an attempt to replenish what remains. In Western New Guinea and Bonaire, I was lucky to see and partake in such particular conservation attempts first hand. Contributing to the restoration of affected reefs through “hands-on” activities was not only very humbling and rewarding but also informative and fun. Another option is to move remaining healthy coral from a

Brain coral (flavia) and staghorn coral (acropora) from around Chicken island, Maldives

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threatened to a less stressful site while providing it with the necessary monitoring and protection to recover and flourish again. During the last global bleaching event, the coral reefs fringing the Maldivian atolls got hit hard. An estimated 60 to 90 percent of all the reefs bleached everywhere around the islands. During my last trip there, I was lucky enough to see such an attempt for coral restoration and coral conservation “live.” Cecile Richard, an amiable, passionate French marine biologist, decided to create a coral gardening/restoration project after seeing the mass destruction of these reefs first hand. She set up a local project called Muraka Bageecha (meaning coral garden in Dhivehi, the Maldivian language) together with a team of ocean enthusiasts on the small island of Thulusdhoo, aiming to save threatened coral by relocating it to a more stress-free environment, thereby trying to mimic natural patterns as much as possible. At the threatened reef site, coral heads are detached from their substrate simply using a hammer and chisel. After being transported in a crate, the coral gets a chance to acclimatize to its new “safer/ healthier” home site before being replanted onto its new

substrate using special cement. This might sound invasive, but it’s actually quite straightforward, small scale and “easy.” And the result is clearly visible: While the detached coral is still acclimatizing to its new home turf in a crate, the local fish are already examining it and seem to be taking a liking to it. Such restoration attempts, no matter how simple or small scale, have already proven effective. Several recent studies (mostly focused on staghorn coral, also known as Acropora, a fast-growing yet vulnerable and currently threatened coral species) at Caribbean reef sites have shown that these current restoration methods do not cause excessive damage to donor colonies and the propagated fragments behave just like “wild” coral after implementation. Some leading professors in the marine biology field are stating that these restoration programs are an essential component in the conservation and management of reefs worldwide. And the best

thing about such projects is the fact that they are more and more accessible; nearly everyone can get involved, sometimes even while on vacation. Global warming and new, more frequent bleaching events are inevitable. Corals are trying to adapt and are becoming more resilient to these changes, but this still requires time. And that is exactly what is lacking. To protect and save what remains, the motto “think globally, act locally” is just what the reefs need right now. And it seems like every little effort helps. These local projects—whether at home or during travels—are more and more accessible to everyone, meaning anyone can get involved. So, why not tend to our oceanic gardens the way we do to our earthly ones? It’s time to get our hands dirty and sow something beautiful to reap in the future. | 23

Growing Up




HE FAMILIAR RETURN TO GRAVITY AFTER FLOATING WEIGHTLESS. Dragging my camera through the water, carefully maneuvering onto the rocky lava seashore as we all four return to land from the keiki pond. This small pond is at the edge of the huge wild ocean. It is calm and salty, perfect for children at play. Aaliyah is 3 months old. She just spent her first time piercing the veil of the ocean’s surface with both her Mother and Grandmother in attendance. A memory they will forever share. Three generations under water.

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Photo credits: Susan Knight Studios

Aaliyah loves the water and smiles and giggles as she nears it. When her feet touch the wetness at the seas edge, she moves into it. She loves showers and baths. She leans into the beach and fascinates herself with squishing sand between her fingers. She has been breastfed partially submerged in the ocean as she leans against her Mom in shallow waters. She is a happy kid. Her Mom Jasmine, I have known for many years. We worked next to each other at our respective tour companies and soon discovered a common love of creating and exploring the sea. As special and powerful a water woman as they come, she leads people into nature, surfs, is a gifted underwater model, swims, quietly respects and drinks in the sea with all her creatures. | 25

At an early age, Jasmine’s Mom Sherri took her to beaches in California, put her in swim lessons and eventually gave her a boogie board. They called her Ariel as she took to it like a fish. She is not surprised that her daughter ended up working on the water. Jasmine expresses the specialness of being fully submerged in the sea. “It is so free. You are not attached to anything and can explore what’s under the waves. You can meet new friends. It’s a quiet and peaceful place. The dolphins, manta rays and whales are calling me to be with them. There is something different every day.” I’m struck by how she naturally calls the animals her friends. She shares that as a young girl, she had an overwhelming feeling that she was a dolphin. It doesn’t surprise me that, in an image I once captured of her surrounded by Hawaiian spinner dolphins, one must study closely to pick out the human. Jasmine and Aaliyah descend from a woman who is not naturally comfortable in water. Sherri learned to swim when she was older and was always more comfortable when someone else was around. Still, she was and is committed to supporting their exploration of the natural world and especially their natural affinity for the ocean. She is a powerful mentor and support in a soft and solid way, encouraging her daughter and grandchild to explore a passion-filled life. Sometimes, she plays on the beach with Aaliyah while Jasmine fills her soul surfing. Absorbing knowledge from the sea to bring to the raising of her child. From floating in the salty liquid womb to submerging into the deep blue sea, it seems a natural state that can create a vulnerable peacefulness within us. Perhaps bringing us to the calmness and excitement of our first arrival. With science delving into such wonders, there is growing evidence that not only is it healthier to bring our kids into nature, but likely a requirement for the normal development of the human brain. A requirement. Aaliyah was swimming with dolphins and manta rays in her first few months inside her mother, at work on the boats guiding tourists. It is as if the animals knew she was in there, swimming seemingly excited circles in front of Jasmine’s belly. This behaviour is known to happen around pregnant women. (continued page 27)

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Photo credits: Susan Knight Studios

Nature is one of those things that is more than the sum of its parts. Is it the smells, the sunshine, certain wavelengths of sounds? The essence itself is the reason nature retreats, outdoor walks, and ocean swims bring us something that is desirable yet somewhat without words designed to explain. As parents, aunties and uncles, this is a legacy worth sharing with our children for a healthier world, state of mind and caring society. It is so simple. I love simple. Just go outside. Bring your children. I dedicate this article to my nieces Gabbie and Nathalie.

Photo credit: Sherri Rideaux


Words ater Water Water Wat and Water WaterWater W r Water ater Water Water Wat r Water Water Water W ater Water Water Wat r Water Water Water W ater Water Water Wat r Water Water Water W ater Water Water Wat r Water Water Water W by Teena Clipston

My significant other (at the time) and I bought a custom wooden 35’ pilothouse sloop out of Stones Marina in Nanaimo back in 2010. The boat had already had its life adventure out at sea and since we had absolutely no experience, we thought it could teach us a thing or two. The boat had already been off shore and to Mexico several times. She was old, but still, we thought, had some life left in her.

She was built in 1959 in Prince Rupert by a reputable sailor by the name of Roland Lewis. She was refitted in 1991 to catch up with the times, and the new owner fibreglassed the outside of the hull to protect the aging wood. The inside of the boat was mostly all original cedar. It still had its original mast from 1959, but some mahogany detail was added during the refit. The boat, overall, was in good shape, but certainly needed some repairs before she became seaworthy once again. We had a survey done and were well aware of all the things that needed to be fixed. However, Campbell River was where we wanted to do our maintenance and so we climbed aboard, started up the engine, and motored her up to the Discovery Harbour Marina in the small, Vancouver Island fishing town.

Now, the entrance into the harbor in Campbell River could be a tricky one. The current is extremely strong with dangerous eddies, and when the tide changes it becomes even more dangerous. So the timing had to be perfect to move the old vessel through the passage.

Looking back, safety-wise it was probably not the

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Maple Bay, BC

ter Water Water Wate Water Water Water W ter Water Water Wate Water Water Water W ter Water Water Wate Water Water Water W ter Water Water Wate Water Water Water W ter Water Water Wate Water Water Water W Source: Shutterstock | 29

Maple Bay, BC

best idea to move the boat via the Straight without fixing her first, considering the electronics were not in working order, there was a terrible leak around the propeller shaft, and almost all the bilge pumps were not working. But the day was perfect: sun shining, water calm, and tides on our side. There is something about being ignorant of the dangers in life that takes away one’s fear. We made it to Campbell River and hauled her out of the water. We would stay in the boatyard for a couple of months working on the boat. It was at this time, while we were working on the hard, I started to become more aware of the dangers on the sea. I read every book I could get my hands on in regards to navi-

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gation, sailing practices, and the ocean. That is when I first came across a study on water memory. The study related homeopathy research done in 1988 by Jacques Benveniste, a senior director of the French medical research organization, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (INSERM). The findings about water memory were controversial, as the topic defied what most would consider scientific understanding—I was enthralled. Benveniste reported that white blood cells can be activated to produce an immune response by solutions of antibodies that have been diluted so much that they no longer contain any biomolecules. Somehow, the water molecules retained a

memory of the antibodies that they previously had contact with. If this was true, what else could water do? Further study on the memory of water led me to a video on Youtube on the Masaru Emoto water crystal experiments, entitled Messages from Water. Masaru Emoto was a Japanese author and researcher who claimed human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. He believed water could react to thoughts and words, and our emotional energies and vibrations could change the physical structure of water—so much so that polluted water could be cleaned through prayer and positive visualization. The experiments that led Emoto to these conclusions consisted of exposing water glasses to different words, photos, or music, and then freezing them and examining the properties of the resulting crystals with microscopic photography. Water that was exposed to positive words and thoughts would result in beautifully-shaped geometric design, and those with negative words and thoughts would result in unsightly formations.

Some people considered his research pseudoscience. However, I thought his research bore merit, perhaps because it helped me with my fears, or because I wanted to believe that all things in nature were connected in some way. Regardless, I was preparing to live on the ocean and with this knowledge and that of Benveniste, I wanted water to be my friend. So, I set upon a mission to install my thoughts upon the water. I took a clean mason jar down to the rocky shore line of the coast in Campbell River, and scooped up a jar of ocean water. I carried that water around with me for a week. I spoke to it, I told it I loved it, and I asked it to protect me on the ocean. My thought process was well understood in my mind: if the water remembered me and my loving words, when I poured it back into the ocean all of the ocean would remember me as the water from the mason jar would dilute into the ocean. Certainly maybe some thought I was crazy for doing this, but I did not care what anyone thought. I was going to live out on that ocean, and I knew of its dangerous power. I wasn’t taking any chances.

The following week, I poured the mason jar of water into the ocean. Now, I can’t say if my experiment was successful or not… but in my heart, I will believe that it was. Why not? There are people who talk to their plants and see them flourish, and people who talk to the trees … And so why not talk to the water? If nothing else, it brought me peace of mind while out at sea. For more on the Masaru Emoto experiments visit You can also read his Book, "The True Power of Water". | 31

Photo Credit: Michal Urbanek | @michalurbanekphoto |

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There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris . in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, . while some four billion plastic microfibers . per square kilometer litter the deep sea | 33

Richat Sowa's island made of recycled debris Cancun, Mexico Photo credit: Media Drum World

Seasteading Concept Photo Credit: easteading Institute

Freedome Cove, BC, Canada Photo credit: Freedom Cove

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World, Now-

The resilient concept of floating communities, and life on the open ocean. by Kelli Sroka

I must admit; although I find myself deeply troubled by the current state of affairs, I also find I am mesmerized by daydreams of a world yet to come. With the drastic environmental changes taking place and with the rapid expansion of technological capabilities, we sit at the forefront of a powerful time of transformation. I remind myself often that I incarnated here and now to witness and participate in the shift that is currently taking place, and the emergence of a new paradigm we are preparing to step into. With technology ten years ahead of where it was predicted to be at this time, my hope lies in the overlap of advancements and global intolerances. While environmental devastation and degradation are happening more quickly than leading scientists had anticipated, there are parts of me that feel the irony is in the hopes that appropriate technology will be the fundamental driving force which may save the human population from extinction.

Flashbacks take me into early memories of the film Water World. This movie was released in 1995, but took place in a post apocalyptic world in the distant future, around 2500. The polar ice caps had melted and sea levels had risen to cover all solid land. The remains of human civilization were now isolated to floating communities, and soil was a rare and beautiful commodity. I first watched this when I was very young, but the thought has intrigued me throughout my entire adult life. Over the years, the idea of floating communities has fascinated me and the analytics of such a concept have now sprung into fruition. What if we were able to create islands of paradise on the sea? Inside beautiful little coves and inlets, close to the shore yet far enough away to give the earth some time and space to heal and regenerate. What if we took a break from manipulating landscapes to suit our materialistic desires? Mega towers are predicted to be

the housing structures of the future, and for some of the same reasoning. If we lived vertically in massive buildings, we would have much less impact on the land and we may be able to mitigate, repair and rectify the damage that we have done. As a human who has always been inspired by alternate ways of existing, I began researching the possibilities of floating communities while I was living in an eco-village in Tofino, British Columbia. What I found blew my mind. One of the most beautiful and functional floating islands in the entire world was located just a short 30 minute boat ride away in an area called Freedom Cove. Both offshore and off grid, Wayne Adams and Catherine King have been living on an artificial island they created 25 years ago in an isolated cove. They are floating a million pounds, and are virtually indestructible. Functional at a small scale, I began to wonder what this may look like on a much larger scale, and what the pros and cons of this type of design would entail. | 35

Seasteading Concept Photo credit: Seasteading Institute

As a permaculture designer, there is much to consider when looking at sustainable and regenerative community design. My ultimate goals are health, happiness, and alignment with natural cycles and systems. The obvious benefits of existing on the ocean are that you have unlimited space, freedom, and can play with different sets of rules and regulations (many of which do not exist, yet.) You have the abundance of the ocean at your doorstep. The downsides are that the bigger you are, the harder it is to anchor, cost, and to find the ideal conditions to actually exist. Let’s take this a step further. What if we could use the abundance of plastic we have accumulated to build such communities? Well, that is exactly what Richart Sowa has been doing off the shores of Mexico when he created both Spiral Island and Joyxee Island. His design utilize plastic bottles in fruit sacs tied to pallets, plywood and sand, then held together by mangroves. The mangroves are what hold a salt-water island together. The roots are remarkably strong and can grow in both fresh and salt water. How would energy consumption work in this type of scenario? In my opinion, one of the greatest advantages of floating communities would be the ability to catch and store energy, a major permaculture principal. Living on the sea offers an obvious abundance of solar and wind energy, and there are numerous wave power harnessing devices developed now as well. As for water, there are always rain catchment systems, but the use of solar powered desalination devices would be fundamental

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components of such a community. Nets and filters to capture and collect plastics and micro plastics currently polluting our oceans would allow us to harness that waste and convert it into fuel and useable resources with the aid of technology, which is already now more than ten years old. Another consideration to take into account is the weather, ocean conditions, and location of such islands. The larger the waves, the stronger the island needs to be. In French Polynesia, where such projects are already being planned and implemented, a major component of the design are massive floating wave breaks which will be used to protect the city inside as well as its structures. The term Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, which are known as seasteads, and would be located outside any territory claimed by any government. As of now, no one has created a structure or community out in open ocean that would be recognized as a sovereign state. The Seasteading Institute is a non-profit organization that provides a platform for those to explore alternate ways of living, founded in 2008 by Joe Quirk and Patri Friedman, and received financial backing from venture capitalist, Peter Theil (owner of PayPal). The SeaSteading Institute will be the first to trail the floating cities, and has plans in place to tow a network of 15 floating islands off the shores of Tahiti by 2020. The primary goals of this project are to create a climate friendly habitat, and aim to explore alternative political and economical methods. They are using the crowd funding structure

to generate funds, and according to Seasteading, the costs of building a sea-based city are rather comparable to land based costs of building traditional cities, and expect the cost to drop in future models with direct relation to advancements in technology. If the idea of floating islands excites you, you may be intrigued at the idea of starting floating gardens or greenhouses in a nearby lake or pond this summer. By building a raft, you can produce a wide variety of agriculture, allowing the roots of the plants to feed directly from the body of water. Challenge yourself, and see if you can build your foundation from salvaged materials. By finding practical applications and multi-dimensional solutions, we can begin today. Humans have been living on the ocean for a long time, but now as we approach the idea of large-scale communities at sea, I believe we need to move forward with innovation and integrity. Will a large population risk stressing our oceans even more so, or will it provide us with an opportunity to be stewards and caretakers of the water? Imagine; beautiful islands floating in the calm, crystal clear turquoise waters off the shores of remote islands. Edible forests and natural sanctuaries, areas to grow organic food, compost, and make quality soil. A type of closed loop system where no real waste would ever be generated. A community of people who are dedicated to a more conscious approach of existing. A different image floods my mind as I begin to fathom what a life on the ocean might consist of, not like in the film Water World, but of a true paradise, where freedom and abundance really may exist.



Beeswax food wrap is nature’s alternative to single-use plastics! Handmade in Halfmoon Bay, BC Bee Kind Co. supports marine conservation initiatives.




For the Love of the Ocean By Saoirse Wang

I sat with the topic of the ocean for days, writing many beginnings and nothing stuck to the preverbal page. No wit or wisdom wanted to come out for this profound body of water. I was left with the despair of how to honour and why I could not honor something so important to my life, the life of everyone and everything on the planet. I could not hear or feel the call of our mothers’ blood, just a blank page and shallow words. So being the “Spiritual Person” I am, I had to have a great talk with myself and sit and listen to the response. It was a bit of a shock what came out, anger and deep sorrow.

I’m disappointed that I may not get to see all those amazing things I watched on T.V. as a kid come to mind, all the shows about the wonders of the ocean. I watched them all with deep hope to go see them, but that is never going to happen because of the damage done. I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau, and shark week. I devoured weird information about the ocean and dreamed about being out in the water. I studied every ocean book I could get my hands on in the small town of Armstrong. I was introduced to the big ocean in Grade 4, through a teacher who told me I had to write a report on a topic about the ocean. I chose sharks and never looked back. I fell in love with those magnificent creatures and was blown away with how profound they were to the system and how beautiful they are. Though those animals the rest of the ocean awoke to me. I was a weird kid growing up.

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I am right pissed at the stupidity of mankind in the mistreatment of the water, our mother’s life blood, our life blood, the thing that connects us all to one another. The ocean is one of the most powerful elements to us as humans, it purifies us, it feeds us, and it represents and creates our emotions. The ocean is us, we are of it and it is of us.

I hid in the library reading books, mostly about fantasy places and the ocean. My favourite book was about a young girl who in her sleep turned into a dolphin who swam with giant whales. They shared their wisdom with her as she hunted the ocean floor for her lost marine biologist father. I read that book at least 4 times, had the wisdom of the magnificent whale memorized and the image of his gentle eye, still follows me to sleep. I would play out dreams of diving in the ocean, in the summer in the lakes I grew up in. I begged my parents for snorkeling gear and would practice snorkeling and chasing the minnows for hours while in my head recording the adventure, pretending to be the first female Jacques Cousteau. It was not until I was in Grade 8 that my parents finally took me to Vancouver for a family trip and I got to see the ocean, and the Vancouver Aquarium, mind blown. Seriously. I spent my school days trying to figure out how to get back to the ocean and live there forever. I dreamed of working at the Vancouver Aquarium and saving all the sharks or swimming with the wise gentle giants of the sea. The sanctuary of my imagination, of being in the ocean is what fueled me to survive the rigors of being trapped in the classroom and listen to the drone of unimportant information. Then summer hit and we could spend time living at the lake. I imagined it as that powerful majestic place that was home to all my new family members, the ocean. My small-town education and teachers informed me that being a marine biologist was not in my cards. I was not the determined person I am now, so for some reason I chose to listen to that lie. My grades would not be good enough to get into any school, and it was not a wise choice for a girl to do anyway. You can’t get married or make enough money to support yourself as a marine biologist, plus its 10 years of schooling and jobs for that field were cut throat. (Now don’t feel bad for me, I have a pretty spectacular life right now and it just gets better the more work I do). With that information, I focused on art. I drew and painted how the water felt to me and escaped into the ocean through art. I found other ways to dive and love the ocean. I spoke up about pollution, littering and saving as much as I could. I wandered down the path of the spiritual initiate, using the water as my communion and place of power. My first true teacher would always teach my deep lessons by the water. He taught me that the best place for my soul to feel safe, free, and not have the need to hide or lie was at the water. That is still a powerful lesson for me. I go to the water when I can’t hear the truth of myself and need to do some major soul healing.

Photo: Jodi Mossop Iona Beach Regional Park in Richmond, BC Canada

Funny how life takes you further away from the places you dream of going. It took me 20 years to make it to Vancouver and get to the ocean, it took me longer to leave Canada and find the ocean further out. And I am pissed at the damage the world has done to it. I am pissed at the fact I may never make it to the Great Barrier Reef and see the diversity. Why? Because she has been stricken with over 50% bleaching due to our mismanagement. The fact that I may never swim with my great whites because they are disappearing and the animals they feed on are disappearing even faster. I am pissed at the fact that the giant whale pod I read about as a child no longer exist due to oil spills, over fishing and any manner of stupidity that mankind has created. My little child soul weeps for the dreams that kept her sane and hopeful all through her weird, wonderful and difficult life. I am left with the recognition from the journey of this article of my deep need to save what is left and head the calling of the beloved ocean. What I write or speak of is her voice in me, and it is the voice of sorrow, anger and fear for what is left. | 39


I am a self-proclaimed soap boxer and disruptor. I am the person who stands on the box in the middle of the crowd screaming at all that pass by. I am the one who points out patterns and forces them to be disrupted and shake to move them and create new.

I do this all with passion and fire. It is often met by blank stares or tomato in my face. I still scream loudly in hopes someone will get the point, the point that we are doing stuff really, really, wrong. I am the canary in the coal mine, but I do not die I keep fighting to change things, mostly your mind, to get you to help the future. What all my yelling and screaming has brought to me, a sad heart and a lot of tomato paste. I have tried another route, love and light and good intentions and positive thinking. What has that got me? Angry, sad and an ocean filled with more plastic than fish. Whales and sharks dying with plastic bellies because they have starved or suffocated from the damage humanity has done. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a part of the problem as well. There is no high horse here; I too have caused the problem. I just recognize I have got to do better and clean this mess up. What I am proposing is a blend of soap boxing, good intention, disruption and action. We need a positive outlook, but we need to yell at the storm and change its direction with the power of our words, art and by doing it. This has been what my new turn of the tide is about; a blend of soap boxing, disrupting, positive outlook and action. How do we change this damage and change this fast? I want to see all those places I saw on TV and in books. I want my children to see them, but I have come to the conclusion that neither of us may. So how do we save what is left. We speak with passion, get off the soap box and look as many people in the face as we can. We show them the work we must do. We disrupt the pattern of ignorance, fear, mediocrity and lies. Then we roll up our sleeves and get this shit done. I may not have become a marine biologist, but I still worship the ocean and all she gives me. What I did become is a strong spiritual coach and spiritual being that will fight for this place, I will not go down! I will keep getting up and speaking for what is right, I will disrupt and yell and see all the places that are left and heal what can be healed.


We stand on the edge of the most powerful moment in our life. This is the moment when life truly comes rushing towards us, what will we do?

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They are mirrored in the beating of our heart that pushes the blood in our body, feeding every part of us with the nutrients needed to become even more then we were a minute ago; a beautiful tango of life inside and out. Do we dance or do we die?

Drawings by Ractapopulous Source: Pixaby

As we dump an ever-inexhaustible amount of toxins into her life blood, the irony of how much toxins we dump into our life blood is not lost on me. We are surrounded with such profound beauty. We are determined to do so much damage to it in such a short amount of time, in the name of so many false gods; the gods of progress, money, structure, jobs, security, obligation, politics, schools, and career. Lies taught so we can turn our head away from the truth of what we are doing to our home, our mother and ourselves. Only the brave stand in the way of the wave of destruction and I have done this journey many times and I will keep doing it till the tide turns and I need to stand in the way no longer. We can do better. More of us must stand and speak up and do more to heal what we have done. Our very existence is begging to be lived and to be remembered. At this moment we can become the glorious goddesses and gods we were born as. To recognize this amazing playground we have the privilege to create on. So please, for purely selfish reasons, let’s disrupt the hell out of what has been happening. I want to see as much of what is left and leave even more for generations who will come after me. We can do this, we have to do this, the ocean beckons, she calls and we must answer her.

Will we dive into the depths and find the possibilities or run to the land locked life? Oh, our beautiful mother beckons us forward into the possibilities tempting us with the sirens call; the call of oblivion, the call of the divine. Our blood responds to her blood, we are one and the same with our true mother. Her waters; the ocean, the lakes and the rivers, are mirrored in our body. | 41

Dominican Republic Yoga Retreat


The all women team in the 75th annual Swiftsure with 200 Boats.




Bending on a mainsail, Rockland Harbor, Maine

Standing on the bowsprit celebrating my first sail of the season, Rockland Harbor, Maine

Sylvia Taylor

Tiffany Spendiff


On the board of a sustainable lobster aquaculture nonprofit in Nicaragua

Barnegat Oyster Collective

RACHEL PRECIOUS I work in oyster farming in CT


14.5 C water temp at Kitsalino Beach in Vancouver, BC Canada


Julia Santana Squamish, British Columbia Doing: Looking out over endangered Parrilla water after a hike and making a video

telling people why this body of water needs protecting from proposed fracking.

Jericho Beach, Vancouver Volunteering with Surfrider Foundation to pick up trash left on local beaches



Warrior Women of the Sea


JUL 7, 2018 10 AM – 4 PM


Speakers Dr. Sarah Specker Susan Knight Writer, blogger, GP and world travelling surfer

Evan Guiton

Marine Biology, under- Gibson's strawless water photography campaign and the story of Bee Kind & mermaids Wraps

Saoirse Wang

Abby McLennan

Let's Talk Trash, Waste Creative Workshop, Creatives Will Save the Reduction Strategies World

Alison Wood & Jenn Wesanko

Charlene Sanjenko

Ocean Ambassadors Canada, connecting our Youth with the Ocean and Plastic Pollution

Founder & CEO of PowHERhouse Media, Purpose Driven Women in Leadership

For more information and to purchase your tickets, go to:

Barnacle Babes Vol 3 Issue 2 - Ocean Appreciation  

Our Ocean Appreciation Issue. Loving what we do for the ocean, appreciating the ocean and each of our own personal connections. Our highligh...

Barnacle Babes Vol 3 Issue 2 - Ocean Appreciation  

Our Ocean Appreciation Issue. Loving what we do for the ocean, appreciating the ocean and each of our own personal connections. Our highligh...