When people view and treat the environment as being as precious as their family, children and friends, then we will find a healthy planet that can sustain all its inhabitants for future generations.
from the Honest Eco vision statement
Once, a few years back, I booked a snorkeling trip for myself and my kids out of Pennekamp State Park down in the Florida Keys. It was destined to be one of those epically bad experiences whose value emerges only years later when recalling the experience elicits laughs.
We all piled onto the crowded boat, sitting facing inward. The mate appeared, gave the obligatory safety talk, then disappeared for the remainder of the trip out to the reef. Motoring out to the dive site under diesel power we resembled nothing so much troops n a transport ship, each of us clutching our equipment with equal parts hope and apprehension.
It was a windy day and, once anchored, we were instructed to swim directly toward the reef without deviating lest we be swept clear. Most of the passengers found the conditions in the water alarming and immediately made their way back to the boat. My kids and I actually did make it to the reef – I remember looking down and seeing it race by fast enough that it was difficult to fix my eyes on anything in particular. The current tore a plastic disposable camera from my daughter’s wrist.
Last week I found myself in an alternative universe, the promise land really. My partner at Dolphin Research Tours, Robyn Standke and I were gliding across turquoise waters to the Key West National Wildlife Refuge aboard a solar powered hybrid vessel, the E/V Squid, captained by the witty and personable Captain Mary Houska.
Captain Mary Houska at the bridge of The E/V Squid, Key West Florida. The Squid’s solar panels are visible behind her.