Join me on Twitter

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Follow along on Twitter tomorrow (7/28) as as I share the story of how curiosity and whale poo helped inspire my decision to study The Unorthodox Whales of Sri Lanka. I will be talking about my journey and its challenges with teachers in a workshop led by New England Aquarium educators and you can follow @MCAF_NEAq on Twitter (2:30-3:30 EST/ 11:30-12:30 PST).

Please do send me questions using the hashtag ‪#‎oceaninspiration‬ and I will try to answer as many as possible at the end of the workshop!

What next? Lessons from an ongoing life

Talking to students about how to get from where they are, to where they want to be!

Talking to students about how to get from where they are, to where they want to be!

Yesterday I had the honour of talking to a class of behavioural ecology students at the University of California Santa Cruz about how to go from where they are, to where they want to be. Educational institutions undoubtedly do a fabulous job at teaching us lots of stuff – textbook, foundational theories that help us understand important concepts in a given field. The problem is, to be successful in your mission, there are so many other things that remain untaught or unspoken. I always have students ask me ‘what do I do now’ and this talk is an attempt at addressing just that. How to bridge the gap between school and the real world. What steps you should take and what you need to think about from NOW! To ensure that students believed it was possible, I wove my personal story with life lessons and essential skills that I have had to learn along the way – through trial and error. It was really fun to talk to, and inspire these third years as they start to think about their next big adventure and more fun to see how quickly they began to adopt my advice! If my personal journey can help others dream big and believe in the impossible, I feel like I am one step closer to achieving my dream of leaving this world a better place than I found it!

Thank you for a great Sunday!


Minutes before the doors opened and people started packing the La Feliz room

Thanks to Susy Honig for this photo of me doing my Science Sunday talk on the 19th of July

Thanks to Susy Honig for this photo of me doing my Science Sunday talk on the 19th of July


My favorite kind of room – a packed one!

Thank you once again to the Seymour Marine Discovery Centre for inviting me to speak to an amazingly engaged audience who exuded lots of great energy. I always enjoy telling stories about the ocean and my unorthodox life but it helps when the room is packed and the audience, keen.

Thank you to everyone who attended, asked questions and stayed behind to have a chat. Engaging people and helping them understand the importance of the oceans is a key part of what I do and you all made it so much easier!

Keep following!

Help me on my quest this Sunday

Photo credit Steve de Neef

Photo credit Steve de Neef

Help me on my quest to ignite the world’s ocean passion by rallying at my Science Sunday talk on The Unorthodox Whales at the Seymour Marine Discovery Centre in Santa Cruz this Sunday (19th July) at 1 pm! Click on this link for the details

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Exciting interview with The Legacy Project

Such a privilege to have been interviewed by The Legacy Project (check out the other profiles!). In their own words ‘The Legacy Project is an initiative that hopes to inspire you through providing you with unlimited access to extraordinary individuals, each of whom have achieved Greatness in their own, unique and varying form. Each person who we interview and profile provides you with a different viewpoint, as well as different lessons to learn from.’

I hope this interview will help inspire youth from all over the world to dream BIG because nothing is ever too big!

You can read my whole interview here:

Happy Mother Earth Day! 

Happy Mother Earth Day to all of you!! What better way than to celebrate with this photograph of a humpback and blue whale feeding in the same area off Monterey Bay! Having worked with and seen lots of blues and humpbacks in different parts of the world I was super excited when I saw them in the same space. We had spent the morning surrounded by common dolphins and humpbacks and the latter seemed so big…that’s until the blue whales turned up! After that the whale-watchers kept mistaking the humpies for dolphins! Perspective is an incredible thing – even I was marvelling at the sheer size of these giants I am so privileged to work with. (Super hard to get both giants fully in the same frame) 


Good Krill* Hunting

Here at The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project we are interested in the holistic picture. While our primary study species is the Northern Indian Ocean pygmy blue whale we get excited when we see all marine life, whale poo or even tiny shrimp-like creatures! Here is yet another sneak peek into our fun lives off southern Sri Lanka. I want to thank my 2015 field team for all their fabulous work and great attitude throughout the season, and particularly Holly for putting this little gem together! Through this series of videos (starting in 2013: we try to give you a glimpse into our lives and show you that the world is your oyster, as long as you are fuelled by curiosity! Please enjoy and share – you might help inspire the next generation of ocean heroes :)

Big thanks to the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka for their continuous support and research permits for our work. The 2015 field season was made possible by The Marisla Foundation, Packard Endowment Grant for Science and Technology, The Marine Conservation Action Fund of the New England Aquarium, and all those amazing people who funded us through our OpenExplorer crowd-funding campaign (!

Uncommon whaleshark sighting off southern Sri Lanka!

Whaleshark off southern Sri Lanka

Friendly whaleshark off southern Sri Lanka

My number one mantra to all my students is “when working on the ocean, always expect the unexpected”. So far, I’ve been right every single day! Never more right than two days ago when we were 50 km offshore in 2 m swell and sea state 4 waters. This little fella (6-8 feet) approached us and just hung around our stopped boat for an hour! As it turns out sightings of juvenile whalesharks are rare because no one knows where the pupping grounds are. So location details of sightings like this and any others (we’ve seen 2 others this season) are super valuable to researchers. No fear, we will be passing on these details to the cool folks at the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences. All I have to say for now is – incredible sighting in crystal clear waters ~ so damn lucky! #fieldwork #slblues #weligama#srilanka #whaleshark #ocean #gifts #precious #cute #bff