I’ve spent the last year asking myself if I am doing the right thing.
If you’ve been following my stories - or just following me in general - you might have noticed that I love the sea.
I always have been.
If everything goes to plan, I will soon be giving up my job when I move to start my Master’s in Marine Biology.
And I’ve spent the last year asking myself if this is the right decision.
I love the ocean.
I love training animals.
How do I choose?
During the last, I have developed as a trainer more than I ever realised was possible. I explored the science more thoroughly than I ever have before. I went on journeys with horses that have truly delighted and fulfilled me.
And with each new experience, I fell deeper into doubt. Perhaps this was what I was really meant to do with my life?
Today I spent several hours on the Clayoquot Sound (Vancouver Island). Dressed in orange overalls and a horrifically yellow raincoat, I climbed onto a RHIB (ridged-hulled inflatable boat) and took my seat at the back, next to the skipper. I sat with my foot braced against the seat in front of me as we skimmed over the waves and rolled with the swell. I spotted a mink on the mudflats before even the guide. I watched with joy as a pod of orcas - with two youngsters - played together. I melted at the adorableness of two sea otters snoozing, holding hands as they floated in the kelp. I laughed as a Common (Harbour) seal popped up to investigate the boat. I saw a bald eagle silhouetted against the sun as she sat in front of her nest.
I remembered what made me happy.
The ocean has always been my *happy place*. For a little while, I had been distracted from joy and peace it brings me. I had forgotten the part of me that sings as soon as I feel the salty spray on my face.
When I stuck around afterwards to talk to the guide, the RHIB’s radio crackled alive with the chatter of the orca youngsters (one two years old, the other three) which was being picked up by a hydrophone on the other side of the Sound.
That settled it. I love animal training, I will ALWAYS love animal training. But there is a part of me that training cannot touch.
That part belongs to the ocean