[Photo credit: Lea Specht]
Finding the right words to describe my time here at OrcaLab has proven difficult. There have been so many memories made and experiences had, that anything I could say would fall short of accurately portraying the intensity with which the past two months’ events have been felt.
One of my favourite things has been the early morning shifts. There has been nothing more peaceful to me than sitting on the observation platform, watching the sun peek up over the mountains, and feeling the fresh morning dew on my skin. The water is always calm, and the misty blows of humpbacks hang in the distance, falling gently back to the ocean surface. Life awakens as the birds sing in the forest, and the sea lions swim past the front of the lab.
After my morning shifts I’d take a daily walk or jog through the wilderness to Dong Chong Bay for some quiet time, reflecting on the beauty of the morning. Dong Chong is another amazing area, an area holding immense meaning for Hanson Island and OrcaLab, as it was the location used to re-introduce “Springer” back to her family.
Upon my return, the day would proceed with a quick forest workout, often with some of the other assistants, followed by a bite to eat in the communal camp kitchen.
Photo credit: Karien Bergmans
Afternoons were filled with various tasks around the camp including: gathering and chopping firewood, tidying up the kitchen and bathhouse, and occasionally if the tides were right, catching some Uni (sea urchin) to accompany dinner. Then there were the rare events where I would venture off the shoreline in my bathing suit for a quick, but very cold, dip in the ocean.
Photo credit: Momoko Kobayashi
As the evening progressed, we would all gather in the kitchen for an exceptional “family” dinner. Family very accurately describing the togetherness I’ve grown to feel for the incredible group of individuals I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know.
With a full belly and joy in my heart, I would eventually retire to my tent for the evening. Wistfully being lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of lapping waves, and on particularly special nights, the sounds of orca blows.