How Humpbacks got me out of my slump

The Genesis of the Big Blue Foundation

From the high peaks of the Himalayas to the vibrant coral reefs of Papua New Guinea, my life has been a thrilling journey through some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. As a Mountain Leader I’ve led adventurous souls on treks across South America, Africa and Asia, later leading SCUBA diving research operations in Fiji and embarking on a 3,000+ mile cycling challenge to Morocco to raise funds to protect Spinner dolphins in the Pacific.

Prior to the pandemic I was co-managing a luxury health and fitness business in Canterbury, but I was deeply unfulfilled and wanted to get back on track with my real purpose: marine conservation. By the end of 2020, the impact of the lockdowns on my mental health led to a diagnosis of mild depression. Trying hard to focus positively on the future, I planned a two week trip to Cabo Verde to clear my head and put together a plan for my future. 

On my third attempt to leave the UK I finally made it, leading to a chance encounter with a Spanish cetacean researcher called Pedrin. The first conversation that we had ended up being a pivotal moment in my life. Taking a ferry from one island to another, I was warmly greeted by a team of local marine biologists, led by Pedrin. That same day I was watching (& listening to) Humpback whales breaching off the bow of the research vessel.

Within the week, I discovered that my life’s purpose is to collaborate with local communities on impactful marine conservation initiatives. I returned to the UK with an energy and drive that I’d not felt in over a decade.

The Humpbacks had got me out of my slump!

Arriving home, I couldn’t stop talking about my experiences and many of the people that I talked to began pledging their support. The next step was to recruit passionate Trustees and, after several months of searching, we have our winning team of Katie, Kieran, Dan and Mike.

We were gathering momentum! The team was complete when a chance encounter, followed by a fact-finding trip to The Maldives, led to Dr. Melissa Schiele accepting our offer to become our Chief Scientific Advisor.

Big Blue Foundation became a registered charity in 2023

I am incredibly grateful to be working alongside such inspiring and energetic people, including donors, advisors, friends and my new family. Without their generosity Big Blue Foundation would have remained an idea on a research boat in Cabo Verde. As I approach my sixth decade I’m succession planning to achieve my final goal, to pass the leadership of Big Blue Foundation on to the new generation of conservation champions.