Have you ever spoken to a surfer about why they surf? They will tell you that once you get into it there is no turning back. As someone who has never donned a wetsuit or waxed a board, I never really appreciated the significance of a surfer's relationship with the ocean and how this can influence their broader view of the world. Then I met the team at EcoSwell in Peru.
As you bond with your crew members , their own personal stories start to unravel. Their reasons for being there - from break-ups to dealing with death, to fighting cancer. How they raised the funds, and what they want to accomplish from the experience - the motivation for deciding to escape the world for 1-11 months on a small boat are usually pretty fascinating ones.
Together with 11 other conservation and welfare organisations, HSI recently launched a petition urging the UK government to do just this. If you care about the whales and you are a UK citizen or live in the UK, please sign and share the petition to get your voice heard.
Our beautiful seas and oceans cover about 70% of our planet's surface, with far more species living in the oceans than on land. The marine environment provides livelihoods and food for hundreds of millions of people, so it is important that we protect it. Yet, right now, millions of animals, including whales, seals, turtles and birds are being mutilated and killed by 'ghost' fishing gear - nets, lines and traps that are abandoned, lost or discarded.
By continuing to allocate huge fishing quota to industrial boats, while leaving only the crumbs for our low-impact fleet, the UK government is continuing a business-as-usual approach which will do nothing to safeguard either fish stocks or the livelihoods of fishermen in the UK. The last 100 days have shown us that the Conservative government is missing a trick.
On at least two occasions since the moratorium on commercial whaling was agreed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), member nations have circled around the idea of coming to some form of compromise between the pro-whaling and the pro-whale sides. These attempts at compromise have failed and the moratorium remains in place, but there are indications that another deal is in the offing. This is an unfortunate development.