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  • Writer's picturechristineklin

DAY 20: surf lessons and marine protected areas

so far, only the prospect of taking a dip in the ocean has managed to get me out of bed before 8 am. I joined wagaligong's daily surf van to the neighboring dulan beach this morning to make a second attempt at catching waves in taiwan. this time, it was way better! not only because the waves were much calmer in the morning, but also because I braved it out and went past the whitewater this time – which meant I was able to chill past the breaking waves, sit on my board, and look out on the horizon.


I only caught one wave, but I had a lot more fun hanging out with the other surfers and observing how they were attempting to catch their own. and even though I missed a bunch of swells, it was good practice just paddling with the board and getting a feel for the timing. I definitely wiped out a couple of times (or three), but even getting washing machined doesn't seem as scary as it used to be. a few lessons that surfing has taught me: 1) waves are scary and each wave is unique, but you'll never know how it'll turn out unless you embrace the unknown, 2) if you overthink, you'll miss the chance (but even if you do, there will be more). if a good swell comes your way, just commit and paddle!!! 3) surfers are so chill because they're so used to failing, and 4) hold your breath so you don't belcome full of saltwater 😭


I just watched the Nat Geo documentary Mission Blue, which documents the life of oceanographer Sylvia Earle, since I'm going to meet the film's cinematographer in a couple of hours. Bryce Groark, Linwood Pendleton (who I just met after returning my surfboard at wagaligong), and a few other people doing cool things for marine conservation are all going to convene on the small rooftop for this Indigenous marine conservation workshop. Futuru, whose house I'm currently crashing in, is working on the first Indigenous-led MPA in Taiwan. I think I mentioned that already but it's really exciting and it's something that will make a huge impact on protecting the oceans and indigenous traditional knowledge on this island. I've been racking my brain for what ocean-related project I want to work on next, so for the next few days I'm just ready to absorb information and mingle with ocean scientists.


what I think would be really cool is if I could combine a character-based story with a marine species that needs protection, culminating in a call to make that species' habitat into a Marine Protected Area. for example...a film telling the story about an Amis surfer who has seen the pygmy squid population in her own backyard decline due to overfishing --> why the pygmy squid is vital to the rest of that ocean's ecosystem and Amis culture --> let's rally to make this 100-mile area an MPA so that the industry can't fish here --> end with inspiring surf shots and tender moments of the surfer and a pygmy squid


so like, my octopus teacher with emphasis on preserving Indigenous TEK and a main character that's a little more relatable. establishing a new area in the pacific ocean as an MPA as the throughline is my goal but I have to find a way to make it more interesting. it most definitely won't be about the pygmy squid since I need to do actual research, but this is the seedling of the idea I'm going for.



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