Happy New Year! The end of one year brings the start of the next but this New Year is more than that: it is the ending and beginning of a decade as well.
A decade – ten years – is simultaneously a long time and almost no time at all. A decade can seem to take forever but then pass far too fast. And two decades of your life – one past and one future – are something to reflect upon, and anticipate, from the here and now of this present moment in time.
Where were you and what was happening in your life on New Years 2010? Ten years ago I was living in Miami, FL and just getting ready for the start of Conscious Breath Adventures’ third humpback whales season on the Silver Bank. That was the start of a decade of operations aboard the M/V Sun Dancer II. The Academy award-winning documentary, The Cove, had recently opened in theaters. The Miami opening is where I met Cloe. Since then I have moved from Miami to Naples, FL and then to Gainesville, FL. And the M/V Sun Dancer II was renamed the M/V Belize Aggressor IV.
World history over the past ten years has proceeded at breakneck speed. It has been brought to us by a minute-to-minute firehose of information. Think about all that has happened, for better and for worse. I can only just begin to scratch the surface of the subject here.
For cetaceans, humpback whale populations have happily increased. But the little vaquita porpoise, the Maui dolphin and other species of small cetaceans teeter on the brink of extinction, with the North Atlantic right whale population and the Pacific Northwest’s southern resident orca populations struggling to maintain themselves.
In other areas, Barak Obama was almost a year into his historic presidency, now Donald Trump is more than two years into his. Electric cars went from a fringe concept to a mainstream idea, from a few Teslas to the point where every major automotive manufacturer now offers more and more electric models. There is even an electric Ford F-150 pickup truck in development. Fossil fuels, however, continue to be extracted and burned at an accelerating pace. Ten years ago historic fires ravaged the state of Victoria, Australia. Today fires are setting new grim records in Australia and California, too. The environment is at great risk but the popular and political will is strengthening daily to tackle climate change, plastic pollution (how much did you know about plastic pollution on New Year Day 2010?), and more. The planet is evolving, sometimes painfully, as it always has and always will.
Where will we all be this time next year, or in a decade? January 1, 2030 seems a long way away, doesn’t it?! What will happen between now and then? Will human beings be living on Mars? How many right whales will be living on Earth? Will technology, robotics, artificial intelligence and quantum computing help us solve known problems or create new ones? Will the world be at peace? It is almost impossible to imagine what the world will be like on January 1, 2030, the possibilities are endless.
Today Cloe & I still live in Gainesville while Conscious Breath Adventures is preparing for our thirteenth season on the Silver Bank. I never imagined all the wonderful people I would meet along the way, so many different folks from all over the world, all sharing the whales and much more.
I’m excited to meet old friends and make new ones aboard our new boat, the M/V Sea Hunter. In just a week Sea Hunter will be leaving her dock in Puntarenas, Costa Rica to traverse the Panama Canal in route to the Dominican Republic. It is an exciting start to a new year, and a new decade, and we are eager to begin!
What are our aspirations over the next decade? First and foremost, we look forward to continuing to lead and our guests from all over the world on transformational and inspirational journeys to meet and swim with the humpback whales on the Silver Bank. With the advent of Sea Hunter we have newfound capacities for crew and staff that we will use to elevate the onboard guest experience.
Most people consider a cruise to the Silver Bank to be a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list experience with humpback whales, and it is that at the very least! But our many loyal and returning guests (thank you!) know that there is much more to the experience than just swimming with whales. The trip is a chance to unplug from the data stream, a chance to be immersed in the environment and the moment, a chance to meet and make friends with like-minded people from all over the world. It is a chance to learn about the world we and the whales live in, to think about our impact in the past and our role in the future. The journey has literally changed a few lives over the years.
The Conscious Breath Adventures team will be looking for ways to enrich the experience even further, with additional onboard activities, an evolving educational program, and continued and expanding support of research and conservation. We plan to continue our membership within the World Cetacean Alliance and in 2030 I hope to be starting our tenth season aboard the M/V Sea Hunter. And because there is much more wonder in the world than the amazing humpback whales on the Silver Bank, we hope to meet some of the other wonderful cetaceans in their homes around the world, too. We hope you will join us!
For the world at large we look forward to a planet that is making an intelligent transition to cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy. We hope for an active effort to clean and repair the damage that has been done to both the physical and psychic world. This will require everyone’s effort. Please help do your part because many small acts of positivity can have tremendous synergistic effects. Make informed decisions as consumers (and strive to consume less). Enjoy what you share in common with everyone rather than thinking about what makes an individual different. We are all human, lets make it our new decade’s resolution to act humanely in all the things we think, say and do. It is a conscious choice we can all make today.
The action-packed chapter that was the 2010s has been written. The new chapter that is the 2020s has an outline in place. But the details of this chapter will take ten more years to complete. Watch this space!
With my best wishes to everyone for a great new year and decade, I hope it will be a thrilling success for everyone.