Ashley K. has always liked taking photos but it was the whales who turned that like into a love and passion. Working for a whale watching company allows her to pursue both passions but she would love to see whales and other marine mammals all over the world.
Where did your whale love start?
It’s funny to say but I’m not really sure where my love of whales started… I just have always loved them. Perhaps being so lucky to have grown up so close to the Ocean has given me an ingrained love of all things Marine. I can’t image a life away from the water.
What current ocean conservation issue do you feel most strongly about?
Plastic… one of the worst things we do to our waters. Pipelines and tankers traveling through or near any water. And although again it fits under plastics… BALLOONS!!! I hate balloons! Last but not least, what is happening to our Salmon in particular but fish of all types in general.
What have you changed in your life to help save whales?
I have made a number of changes, though I am always looking for new things I can do to make a change. Everything is more about helping the planet and our oceans over just the whales. I, of course, recycle as much as possible. I make sure any products I buy don’t have micro-plastics in them. I pick up garbage along my way (specially balloons, I pop them and dispose of them whenever I see them floating around, in the water or on land). I have stopped eating Salmon, hoping that their stocks will recover (as much as I loved eating Salmon, it’s not something I NEED to eat, Orca and other animals NEED to eat them, I don’t. Humans have many other food options, we are not limited). In fact I have stopped eating most seafood. I always bring a reusable bag with me shopping. I choose sulfate free, paraben free beauty products and face washes that use a natural substance for exfoliation. I choose natural cleaning products over the traditional heavy chemical ones.
What advice would you give to others to take steps in their lives to help whales?
One thing I think is very important for everyone to know is that every choice we make is important. Too many times people feel like they are just one person and what can they possibly due to make a change in this world. Everyone’s choices count, you aren’t the only one choosing to make changes, and though it can sometimes feel like what we do is barely a drop in the bucket, your choice could be that last drop that overflows the bucket. Every little bit counts and is important!
Any whale tales to share? (what’s your favourite one you’ve already shared?)
One story I have not had the chance to share, cuz I am still recovering those photos from a hard drive malfunction, is a day last year when we were hanging out with a fairly large group of Transient/Bigg’s Orca. They were socializing in true T-party fashion, tail slaps, pec slaps, cartwheels and breaches. We heard on the radio from some other boats to the South that there was another group heading North. Our group had been traveling North but had switched directions and started to head South. At first their behaviour didn’t change much but soon we saw them start to line up, side by side by side, and porpoise through the water towards the other group of Bigg’s, in what was my very first Transient/Bigg’s Orca greeting ceremony (or at least that’s what I assumed it to be). They met up, they all went on a deep dive and then popped up right beside our boat and started to circle and roll over each other. We quickly shut down our engines, waiting for them to move away before we continued to follow them. They all started to move in a Northerly direction again, frolicking together. We had reached our time limit with them but as we moved away, leaving them to others to visit with them, we could see them breaching, some over and over, others one after another. It was a truly beautiful day. I will post photos as soon as I have been able to recover them all but here is one for the time being. One of my favourites.