A Bit Disappointed, and I Missed My Mule

Whale-postcard.jpg         My summer travels and book-selling attempts for Saving Our Oceans were  slightly worse than pathetic. Although I did sell all the books I had with me, it was a LOT OF WORK. Partially this is due to my reluctance to approach conventional bookstores. The Independent stores are far more gracious and willing to take small publisher titles. Happily I picked up orders for a few of our other titles and I just sent 25 copies of Saving Our Oceans to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum yesterday. So, it’s all good.

Well, I have to confess that the Marine Naturalist Training Program I was so gung-ho about was a little bit of a let down. The presenters absolutely knew their subject matter and were very passionate about it, but too many really needed training in public speaking. (Mumble mumble) Some were okay. A few were good, but too many were inaudible.

I also wasn’t sure why some of the topics were included, to be honest. Other topics, like plastic pollution, weren’t even mentioned.

The entire program, though, was staffed by extremely nice, knowledgeable, caring people.

As of now, I seriously doubt that I’ll do the required practicum to obtain a Marine Naturalist certification. I’m feeling more and more certain to remain in Arizona and not relocate north. More about that later.

But, all that being said,  due to the program I attended I armed myself with several Marine guides and had an absolutely great time finding cool creatures and plants on my own. I will admit the training program added a lot of interesting exploring to our travels.

Orange Ribbon Worm
Orange Ribbon Worm I discovered in a tide pool

BACK TO BUSINESS

Happily I came back to a bunch of orders for books sitting in our post office box…not so happy for those waiting for their purchases, I suppose. I’ll definitely have someone deal with mail and orders next summer.

My to-do list is so long I almost feel paralyzed.  No one else will be back until the middle of September, if then, so I have time to get myself and the business organized and ready to roll at a nice, leisurely pace.

This fall we’re looking at possibly a new cover for The Littlest Wrangler,  and getting Lee Anderson’s book, My View from the Saddle, into print asap. Also a small ebook is in the works, and due to the slowdown after a fabulous full year of sales, A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule will likely go to ebook also…maybe. Gotta think about that one. No…I just changed my mind. Not going to do that yet.

I’m glad to be home. My bed here is way more comfortable than the bed on the boat!! And I missed my mule!

cropped-cropped-rebaandbecky.jpg

 

Day 3: Spotting Whales

After two long days of lectures we will now be out in the field for the next 3 days!

Today’s outing was to Lime Kiln State Park to look for whales passing by, take a hike, and two more classes…two outside and one inside.

It’s interesting that the Southern Resident pod is finally finding its preferred food on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and not so much here in the Salish Sea. Reports from the coast are that the whales are looking fatter and happier! Meanwhile, a transient group of orcas, Biggs transient pod, is now in this area more. The Southern Resident pod prefers to dine on Chinook, and the transients like seals, sea lions, etc. And there are plenty of those around here. Their population has exploded in the last 40 years since they were listed as an endangered species…so no more shooting them for stealing fish off your hook! The Southern Resident pod is still around some though, but this year they even hit up Monterey Bay for food. It’s been a spell since the Southern Resident pod has traveled that far for Chinook.

The day, incidentally, was great! Weather was accommodating, the speakers were knowledgeable and interesting.

The question is growing in my mind, though, can I be a Marine Naturalist in Arizona? How’s that going to work? I will have to give this A LOT of thought. I signed up for this course thinking we’d be relocating back to the Pacific Northwest. This may not come true if our house in AZ doesn’t sell. Bummer.

Could I be a naturalist in Arizona? I just don’t see the culture there embracing this. We’ll find out soon enough.

Oh…we saw no whales.

Day 1: Marine Naturalist Training Program

After driving 1600 miles and meandering around the Salish Sea for six weeks, we finally claimed our reserved dock spot in Friday Harbor, Washington, where the MNTP is held twice yearly. Would this class be worth the $1000 fee I paid to attend? And would it be worth my time considering my chances of relocating to the Northwest seemed slim and slimmer due to my house in Arizona not selling?

Day 1: Today’s session was “classroom lecture” oriented. After not having sat all day listening to lectures for many years I was glad I was not a student again. The program has two days of lecture and then three days of field trips.

Today I found the talk on the Chinook fish hatchery located on Orcas Island very informative. These are NOT farmed fish filled with chemicals and antibiotics. The spawn actually go to sea for 3 to 4 years and then return.

Also, Joe Gaydos, a veterinarian who belongs to the SeaDoc Society, gave an excellent, entertaining account of Mustelids of the Salish Sea (river otters and sea otters). Joe is also involved with organizing and starting a Southern Killer Whale Health Profile Project.

Jenny Atkinson gave a nice presentation on the Southern Resident pod’s biology and culture.

Although it was a long day of being “talked at” it’s necessary to learn all of this information in order to become a Marine Naturalist volunteer.

Hours of volunteer work are also required and that will be a challenge for me to find something I can do in Arizona.

One more day of lecture and we’re off on a field trip!!

Eventually, however, I’m going to have to address the horrendous news of how Sea World had inhumanely treated the orcas. People who worked for Sea World are finally speaking out. It’s criminal.