As my time here at OrcaLab draws to a close every morning i try to remind myself to remember & savour every inch of what i see, hear and smell of this place. For when i return to England i will wake every morning missing it! From the green moss hanging above my tent to every molecule of the panorama view of Blackney pass spanning from Burnt point to Gabe’s rock. To remember every smell, from red cedar to the Sealions. To remember every sound, from the A30’s N47 (or whirly doodle as Mark calls it) to the Raven’s echoing song. And most importantly to remember every person. The people i have met in my 3 months at Orcalab have been such a special part of my experience. Everyone has taught me something valuable, made me laugh, watched me cry and most importantly shared amazing encounters with creatures large and small. We were all here for the same reason and that is Orca so immediately everyone has a common ground to jump from but the relationships that have formed with this years band of ‘STRONG WOMEN’ has been incredible. Spending every waking second together discussing everything imaginable, mostly whales and food!
Paul and Helena are the heart & soul of Hanson & having the wonderfully unique opportunity to be here with them has been a dream come true. Not only are they wonderfully hospitable and hugely generous hosts but they are priceless mentors, getting to know them & learning from them about the project of OrcaLab, from its history to its day to day running has been a leaning curve from start to finish. And to begin to understand the complexity of Orca acoustics has been the biggest treat. To begin myself to start to recognize different families of whales like you would the sound of someone’s voice is one of the most surreal and rewarding experience’s of being here. To get to know so much about the lives of these whales and have amazing close encounters with them just from land has been incredible. And the best part about this is that OrcaLab manages to do this with without interfering with their lives at all. I wonder if they know how much we care about them, how much we think about them, and how much we cherish them?
3 months ago I didn’t know what to expect of my summer that laid ahead of me & now that it have flown by I can’t imagine my life off Hanson Island. Some small home comforts I will enjoy briefly once back in civilization but i guarantee within a week i will be craving the sound of squirrels throwing pine cones at my little tent in the forest and the anticipation of waiting for the fire to heat the water tank before A shower! So thank you to everyone and everything that has made my summer not only life changing but completely unforgettable. Every second has been an absolute privilege.
Goodbye Hanson Island, goodbye Paul & Helena & goodbye Orca, see you soon, Love Megan.
by Megan Hockin-Bennet