I have always had deep fascination with the ocean and the mysterious life that dwells within. Visiting the shore often growing up, I would always stand along the shore and look out to the horizon, and feel as though I was standing at the top edge of a vast unknown universe. My grandparents would always take me out on their small boat where my curiosity and love grew even deeper. When I was twelve years of age I embarked on my first whale watching trip and saw magnificent beings breaching through the surface of the ocean, playing and being free. From that experience I was inspired to spend three summers attending sailing school so that one day I could experience the open ocean on my own accord. My love for the oceans became entrenched in my being and I couldn't get enough.
Over the years, I decided to become less ignorant to the world and started to research where food comes from and the quality of life animals are put through to serve human animals. I would read about whaling, poaching and the destruction of our land, air, oceans, its creatures and habitats and feel helpless but I always wanting to get more involved.
One day while working my office job, I came across footage of the Grind, a massive Pilot Whale slaughter in the Faeroe Islands. Below it was a link to the Sea Shepherd website. I was amazed by all the work the organization was involved in and I knew, right there and then, that I had found my calling. I joined my local Sea Shepherd Philadelphia on-shore volunteer chapter, which gave me the opportunity to get more involved.
Sea Shepherd has been a big part of my life for about four years. In this time I have developed a much deeper understanding of humankind's impact on our ecosystems and the animals within them. This in turn has prompted me to adopt a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle. Since I began volunteering I have had the opportunity to help lead Sea Shepherd Philadelphia as a Chapter Coordinator and get involved with a few campaigns including serving as a Cove Guardian, Dam Guardian, and working on The Bob Barker as the ship was preparing for Operation Zero Tolerance. I am honored to volunteer once again with Sea Shepherd Australia, serving as crew on The Bob Barker in the lead up to Operation Relentless.
Sea Shepherd has and will continue to change my life. Over the years I, and almost every crewmember, have gone through a tremendous amount of personal sacrifices to follow our passion to defend animals and the oceans. I find it humbling that many of us have cast aside self-centered lifestyles and parted with the people and things we love to live this life of selflessness. "You haven't lived until you've found something worth dying for,” so find your passion and start living.
"Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. " - Henry Beston