I have had my USCG 100-ton captains license for almost ten years which has provided me the opportunity to operate a boat around 50+ ton endangered whales (about twice as heavy as our vessel, Easterly). A good captain has worked their way through the ranks and fully appreciates that each role, regardless of how big or small, is essential to the working of the ship. Before I received my captain’s license I worked as a naturalist, deckhand, galley help and dock support. I’ve experienced all of it, from educating passengers to cleaning the heads (toilets) and everything in between. What it has taught me is that every part of the crew is essential personnel, that every job is critical, and that, while the captain is responsible for the vessel and its passengers, they are only as good as their crew.
I am very privileged to work with an amazingly hard working and talented crew both on, and off, the water. Driven by passion for the animals and a responsibility to our supporters, they work tirelessly each and every day to make a difference in the lives of whales and dolphins. And while we often provide updates on our successes, there are countless hours of work that go on day in and day out that go unnoted.
I am starting this series to give you periodic snapshots into our work, not just the big successes, but also the behind the scenes work that is the backbone of who we are in North America. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to during just the first two weeks of July!
- Trained newly arriving interns and interviewed interns for our fall season
- Responded to four seal strandings
- Processed research sightings of identified humpbacks for collaborate projects
- Set up a new computer for video storage and editing
- Deliver outreach event for Plymouth Maritime Day and Jones River Landing
- Design Dolphins and Whale for Plymouth Boat Parade of Lights (we won!!!)
- Submitted and was accepted for a poster presentation at the American Cetacean Society’s conference in November
- Designed a special database to “tag” images of humpbacks with vessel strike injuries
- Meet with Audubon of Rhode Island and New Bedford Whaling Museum to develop educational materials specific to the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.
- Guest Speaker at Mass Maritime Academy
- Provided support to the Atlantic the Large Whale Disentanglement Team to respond to an entangled humpback whale
- Drafted comments to stop beluga imports to Georgia Aquarium
- Organized drive hunt/directed take strategy call and recommendations
- Complete and publish a public opinion poll showing that the majority of Americans do not support orcas being held in captivity
- Finalized a journal article on the brutality of dolphin kills during the drive hunts in Japan
- Submitted grant proposals to four foundations to support our work
- Offered a $3000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for killing a dolphin with a screwdriver in the Gulf of Mexico
- Submitted comments to NOAA to reduce risk of entanglements and vessel strikes to whales from vessels fishing for Blue Fin Tuna
- Obtained and code 3612 digital images of whales, dolphins and seals during two weeks of field work!
These bullet points do not do justice to the time and effort that went into each of these projects, nor does this list fully reflect all that has happened. But I do hope it gives insight into the work that we have done and will be doing on behalf of our supporters to protect whales, dolphins and their habitats.If you want more information on any of these programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We exist only with your support for which we are deeply appreciative and I am Honored to be at the Helm.