SISTERHOOD OF THE SEA
"Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.”
Bethany Hamilton, Pro Surfer/Soul Surfer
On the Eve of World Ocean Day, hundreds and thousands of people around the World are preparing to stand, swim, surf, beach clean and paddle in solidarity to fight for The Big Blue.
Growing up as a water baby and nature lover, I have always been inspired by strong female role models in the area of conservation. In particular Virginia McKenna, both in the role she played as Joy Adamson in "Born Free" and the subsequent work she has done since the movie, by setting up The Born Free Foundation.
My many nautical female role models, keeps growing as I meet and engage with some truly amazing oceanic sisters. So today I want to introduce you to some of this fantastic collective ......... aka "My sheros".
Meet "The Sisterhood Of The Sea".
BETHANY HAMILTON, PRO SURFER
Bethany Hamilton is a professional surfer, who in 2003, survived a shark attack at the age of just thirteen. A 14-foot-long (4.3 m) tiger shark attacked her,[severing her left arm just below the shoulder. By the time she arrived at hospital she had lost over 60% of her blood. She spent the next 3 months in recovery before being released. Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. One month after the attack, she returned to the sport she loved.
Bethany is involved in numerous charitable efforts, including her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, which reaches out to amputees and youth. She also uses her platform as a professional athlete to promote living a fit and healthy lifestyle and wrote the book Body and Soul. She has also recently released surf film "Bethany Hamilton: The Unstoppable", showcasing her as one of the best women surfers in the world. And if you haven't seen the 2011 biographical movie "Soul Surfer", i highly recommend it for a double dose of inspiration.
Tanya is a British-Caymanian-American, world champion freediver, who was inducted into the Women Diver's Hall of Fame in March 2000. For more than two months she held the overall "no limits" freediving record, for diving a depth greater than the men's record, with a staggering depth of 525 feet (160 metres).
She attended school here in sunny old Brighton, enrolling at Roedean and later on Brighton University. She took up freediving at the age of 25 and began to smash records - Her first major being one being in 1998, when she bettered Deborah Andollos womens "No Limits" diving record by 10 feet. She was inducted into the 'Women Divers Hall of Fame in March 2000. In 2002, she broke the men's "No Limit" world diving record which was only surpassed a year later that year by French Diver Loic Leferme. In 2003 she broke the men's Variable Weight (VWT) world record by diving to a depth of 400 feet (122 m) and held it over a year until the record was broken by mens diving champion Carlos Coste. As a women's record it lasted almost seven years.
Recently Tanya has being a prolific campaigner and environmentalist, as well as a figure head in the fight against ocean plastic pollution. She is a Patron of charity "A Plastic Ocean" and presented the hard hitting documentary "A Plastic Ocean" by film maker and journalist Craig Leeson, and film maker Jo Ruxton.
Incredible footage Tanya freediving to a depth of over 500 feet. She is - and has been on the frontline of seeing the devastating destruction plastic pollution is causing the planet.
"I finally had an opportunity to pay the ocean back" Tanya Streeter
Every now and again people breeze in your life, and you aren't sure why or how .... you just know that they are there for a reason. Meet Coral Evans - she is one of those people. A journalist, founder and head photographer at Salt Images, this Brighton based action-event professional photographer is talent ... with an upgrade!
"SALT.IMAGES was born from the realisation that the standard of event photography could be significantly improved. I'm dedicated to providing exceptional images, fully post-edited for added impact" .
Her pictures caught my eye some time ago on Instagram, and even in the early social media chit chat days, there was a definite warmth that shone through. As a journo, the pieces that she writes and the people that she hand picks, to creatively share their stories, are mini masterpieces. Through time, we have chatted, met in person and dunked in the chilly English channel. She has inspired me to be true to my salty routes, introduced me to an awesome bunch of "salty" ladies and generally boosted my ocean soul.
I am veery much looking forward to some exciting future projects with this lady.
PAT SMITH - AKA ACTION NAN
Imagine a world where you get up every day, and think to yourself .. " I know what I am going to do ..... I'm going to go and clean a beach!" Well thats exactly what my next "shero" did and still does. She notched up a massive 52 beaches in 52 weeks and made national headlines in the process. Pat is a creative genius with an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything there is to do in Cornwall. Also known as Action Nan or Nanny Pat, she has always been at one with nature, creating and managing her Cornwall Sustainability Award winning business at Bosinver. As her alter ego "Action Nan" she also completed a charity challenge 300 mile walk around the entire Cornish coastline in aid of the RNLI!
It was only a matter of time before Pat set up her own campaign to tackle the plastic pollution and climate crisis. “I started the Final Straw campaign with the aim of encouraging individuals to refuse plastic straws when offered and businesses to join us and commit to not provide any other straws other than paper ones. Using this as an entry level on the road to raising awareness of the issue of single use plastic pollution to the general public, I feel excited and enthusiastic about encouraging behaviour change in a wider group of people than my fellow environment embracing counterparts”
We love Pat so much, we are bringing Pat to Brighton later this year.. more about that in tomorrows "Wild Side Blog".
"Make art of waste" they said. "Okay I will" she said and with that, that is exactly what Kittie did! Caroline Bond of Kittie Kipper is a fibre artist, who has been repurposing ghost nets and marine debris since 2014. She lives on the south-east coast of England in the town of Seaford in a little house by the sea. Her work with ocean plastics is a combination of her love of animals and the environment and highlights the risks for wildlife and the devastating impact plastics have on our planet.
It also gives her the perfect platform to highlight and showcase the potential uses for waste material as art materials. By using ghost nets and other marine debris that she finds on the beaches, or that get picked up in the numerous beach cleans she is involved in, she has been able to show other makers, crafters, parents, teachers, and artists - that instead of consuming art materials bought from retail outlets, you can be imaginative and source such materials while making a positive impact on the environment. The materials that she uses have all been documented and shown to maim and kill marine life, either directly or by breaking down and entering the ecosystems and food chain.
If you want to find out more about Caroline and the work she does - make sure you read tomorrows blog, as we will be making some exciting announcements!
As you will know, I have avidly promoted the positive effects of connecting with nature and specifically water, when it comes to mental health and confidence. This is based on very real experience. So its no wonder that Blue Health Coach™ and ocean advocate, Lizzi Larbalestier is right up there as far inspirational ocean women go! She has spent more than a decade coaching people from all walks of life out on the stretch of coast between 7 Bays and Perranporth. Motivated by a desire to promote marine conservation she invites her UK clients to make the trip from city to sea, enabling them to directly experience the deeply restorative qualities of the Cornish coast, where the days are measured by tide times and daylight.
Lizzi’s fondness of the coast is evident, if not coaching near the water, she will be found playing in the water, or campaigning to protect this vital free health resource. Lizzi is a spokesperson and ambassador for Blue Mind, a marine mammal medic and regional fundraising coordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue and a regional rep and plastic free communities lead for Surfers against Sewage. She donates one third of her time and a proportion of Going Coastal Blue profits to these three causes as a part of her “Blue Health Coach™: Protect What You Love” ethos.
Really - whats not to love about this awesome ocean advocate :)
“When you realise the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate on the preservation of the future.”
Dr. Dian Fossey was a primatologist renowned for her work conserving Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park, Rwanda. This quote surmises Fossey’s recognition of the importance of preserving the natural world; that by fully understanding our place on this Earth in relation to nature will ultimately ensure its preservation.
#DoSomethingDifferent #InspireToInspire #WorldOceansDay
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