• Empty the Tanks 2014 | SeaWorld Orlando

    I believe there is a misconception, or misunderstanding, about cetacean advocates' relationship with SeaWorld.  We do not single out SeaWorld specifically.  Every institution that holds cetaceans in captivity is held to the same scrutiny.  This is not a witch hunt ot a smear campaign of the SeaWorld staff.  Rather, it is a call to open our eyes as a society to what many have known for some time: that cetaceans are not suitable for captivity.  Our harsh attitude toward SeaWorld and other dolphinariums is not ill will towards the trainers themselves.  I do believe they do everything they can for the animals in their care.  The problem lies in that no amount of care will be enough.  We cannot give these animals what they require to thrive.  Survive they mostly can, but at this juncture it is becoming more and more evident these marine mammals are not thriving (see links at the end of this post for more information on the specific problems inherent in captvity).  

    My journey to this revelation began at birth.  Always shy, I sought companionship with non-human animals, and it was through this experience that I began to see the intelligence and the emotional ability of all animals.  At the age of sixteen I made the leap to forgo consuming meat.  Growing up in a small town in south Louisiana, this was not a 'normal' decision.  Many were not respectful of my decision, but almost ten years later I remain a vegetarian embarking on the journey to veganism.  This all to explain how I became sensitive to the possibility that we are not as intelligent a species as we would like to think.  True intelligence is more than the ability to use tools or colonize the Earth.  It is also the ability to be cognisant of the other beings with which we share this planet.  Consider for a moment that there have been no reported Orca attacks on humans in the wild.  Dr. Ingrid Visser frequently swims with them off the coast of New Zealand.  The same record of peace cannot be said of our species.  There are numerous accounts of wild dolphins coming to the aid of humans and we repay their friendship by taking them from their rightful homes to live in concrete enclosures.  We teach them to perform tricks in return for dead fish in a one-way interchange.  There are many things we can learn from cetaceans,  and few things in captivity.  

    It is with all of this in mind that I present my visual account the 2014 Empty the Tanks protest at SeaWorld Orlando.  

    Read THIS PBS interview of Dr. Naomi Rose on cetacean captivity to understand a bit more about the psychological and physiological effects of captivity.  

    The Oceanic Preservation Society has written this press release on captivty as well. 

  • Tybee Island | February 2014

    A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.   -Oscar Wilde

    I usually like my mornings to begin slowly with the daily ritual of black coffee and reading.  I ease into the waking hours.  Some mornings, however, are just too spectacular to ease into and jumping right in is the only approach.  Dawn on Tybee Island on the Atlantic coast was just such a morning.  

  • Ecola State Park | Oregon

    Right outside Cannon Beach, Oregon is Ecola State Park.  It was here that I first fell in love with the Pacific Northwest many years ago.  As a child I was enchanted by the larger than life boulders proudly jutting forth from the waters edge.  My second visit did not disappoint.  

    We arrived at Indian Beach close to sundown, known to many photographers as the Golden Hour.  Dusk along the Oregon coast is magical.  The power of the ocean is palpable as stubborn rocks push back against her repeated attacks, creating loud bursts of froth.  But despite this violence there is a sense of calm. Perhaps it is the knowledge that this back and forth has been repeating for years before I set foot on this sand.      

  • Vancouver | Cananda

    The time spent in Vancouver was brief, but memorable.  On this spontaneous afternoon in Canada we did our best to at least drive through much of the foreign city.  A stop at Lynn Canyon for a brief glimpse of the waterfall and hanging bridge there transformed into a walk through the park until there was no light left to guide us.  We climbed over rocks, surrounded by gushing water, and ran down pathes dotted stones and moss.  It was a northern fall as I'd always imagined it - the leaves a mix of brittle gold and evergreen, and the air brusk as it rushed past our faces.  

    A big thanks to one of my very oldest friends, Sarah, and her husband and daughter for sharing this spot with us.  It was an evening we'll never forget!

  • Washington State | Olympic Peninsula

    I first visited the Pacific Northwest with my parents, ages ago, and ever since I have been dying to return.  This Fall, I finally got my wish.  Ben and I flew into Portland, Oregon and started to drive.  Our destination: the Olympic Peninsula.   

    Driving from Port Angeles to the west coast, we stopped to dip our toes in Cresent Lake.  For a Louisiana girl, thats a pretty chilly endeavor, but completely worth it.  After about an hour of driving through the National Forest we entered La Push and visited First and Second Beach. 

    In our usual style we left our shoes behind and began walking down Second Beach, eventually climbing over a rock wall to find a hidden cove.  

    Ben snapped a picture of my scramble down some rocks on Second Beach.  And the trip isn't over, in fact it's just begun!  More to come!