Jodi Stark from British Columbia!
Jodi has won a Whales and Totems sailing trip of a lifetime with Maple Leaf Adventures. She’ll be sharing her experiences, as well as plenty of photos and videos, right here on this blog in September. Be sure to tune in again!
Here it is, the winning story:
Whangamata junction on Highway 25
The moment that changed the course of my life was a completely spontaneous one at an unassuming junction on Hwy 25 in the land of the long white cloud. I had been aimlessly exploring New Zealand when I veered off the highway literally and metaphorically into a new chapter of my life.
Upon my arrival in Whangamata, I stopped to withdraw cash. Unexpectedly, I learned that I was down to my final $10.98. Gulp. So, I did what any other logical freewheeling backpacker would do. I stayed, got a job and bought a surfboard (on a credit card, of course). What was supposed to be a quick stop turned into a summer of firsts for this suburban Montreal girl.
It was my first time surfing, growing food, diving for paua and catching, killing and eating my own fish. I walked barefoot all day delighted by the sand between my toes and slept all night to the sound of crashing waves.
Mostly, I surfed. The countless hours I spent getting pummelled by the waves made me painstakingly aware of the ocean’s power. And yet, I also discovered its dichotomy: Despite her enormous power, the ocean is extremely vulnerable to our impacts. And, without the ocean, we can’t survive.
And so, I made a profound commitment to marine conservation. In the 10 years since I veered off that highway, I completed a master’s degree in marine protected areas policy and have spent my career advocating for the health of our oceans and coastal communities.
It’s a small offering in return for the enjoyment, spiritual tranquility, inspiration and companionship that the ocean so generously provides me.
Visit Send me Sailing to find out how I would share the stories, photos, videos and issues from the Broughton Archipelago with the world through Google's Explore the Ocean if I win this competition.