I’ve just returned from a lovely few days on San Juan Island attending the Pacific NW Chapter of the Explorers Club Compass Symposium. A big thank you to Lynn Danaher for organizing the weekend. It was my second event with the Club and a wonderful opportunity to meet all sorts of adventurous people. My godfather, Peter Wadhams, first introduced me to the Club, which promotes field research and exploration. I thought it might be a good community for inspiration and support of my work, so I joined late last year.
The other members I’ve met so far are indeed adventurous, and mostly older than me- as one member suggested, “seasoned travelers” (The Club is interested in outreach, though, and supporting young members! Please let me know if you would like to learn more.) The Symposium was based out of the Lakedale Lodge and consisted of presentations, outings, and schmooze time. Everyone was fascinating and I learned about a range of topics including energy in China, volcanos in the Pacific Northwest, archeology in the South Pacific, and Brazil’s radiation accident in Goiania in 1987 (that’s a wild story- read more about it here)
A highlight of the weekend was exploring the northwestern San Juan Islands. We visited Turn island and also had a lovely whale watching outing. We saw a group of 7 – 10 transient Orcas! It was my first time seeing Orcas in the Northwest and I was curious to learn that the Puget Sound J, K, and L pods (consisting of 89 whales) are considered to have a unique culture. There are a number of organizations studying them, including Beam Reach which offers research opportunities for undergrad and grad students.
I confess, after spending the weekend with folks talking about far flung travels to the South Pacific, Kyrgyzstan, Himalaya mountains, exotic caves, and volcanoes, I felt my wanderlust pique. There are so many marvelous places in the world. We discussed energy at length, though, and it’s shocking to consider our increasing human population and our increasing demand for energy… (Try calculating your carbon footprint here – air travel is a doozy…) Meanwhile I’m now reading about food riots around the world and feeling the strain of increasing food prices here at home. How does that old proverb go? “May you live in interesting times.”