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Follow Natalie Fox as she journeys with Surfers for Cetaceans along the coast of Southern California.

Group Kayak on day one along the Gaviota Coast

Despite late lasting “June gloom” (when the warm Californian air meets the cool coastal waters to produce a constant fog) spirits were high as we left San Diego to join the whole crew at an incredible house in the Hollywood hills. “The mansion” was the setting for (and the home of) one of the worlds most renound photographers who was keen to work his magic for Surfers for Cetaceans – simply offering his skills, services and support after watching S4C’s documentary Minds in the Water at a benefit screening in Malibu.

And so here gathered a collection of hugely talented artists, musicians, filmmakers, photographers and pro surfers, all united for the cause of dolphin and whale protection and ocean conservation, marking the beginning of the epic voyage that is TransparentSea.

As Roxy ambassador and co founder of Women for Whales, I am representing our small and relatively new organisation; a global collective of passionate females dedicated to making a peaceful for whales, dolphins and the oceans – whilst attuning into our exquisite connection with cetaceans, utilising our creative skills and embracing our femininity. We have worked with Surfers for Cetaceans through the first International Whale Celebration in Jersey, UK which coincided with 63rd annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, a great partnering which opened up this very special opportunity for me.

It is an honour to be here, to be surrounded by such inspiring people, to be immersed in the Californian surf culture and to have the chance to meet the creatures of its coastline and enjoy its wonders. We have already encountered dolphins, seals and heard that the blue whales have recently been spotted just 5 miles off the coast. It is also crucial to be able to learn first hand about the plight of local marine life, and the issues facing coastal communities and areas. Creating events in order to highlight these issues and interact with local organisations and surfers is one of the many elements that makes this campaign unique.

After our Hollywood photoshoot we head straight to the beach to catch some peelers at the infamous Ventura surf spot, before following on to our abode for the next few days. Our wonderful hosts Dan and Linda have opened their handbuilt wooden home, right on the ocean front to our crew which must be 20 strong. Such generosity seems to be synonymous with Dave Rastovich and his merry band of vegan activists.

Sandy LeJeune of Surfrider and Dave Rastovich on the campaign trail

S4C urge the surfers and communities of Southern California to join us on our journey, including participating at events down the coast in Malibu, Dana Point and San Diego – and to keep track via the TransparentSea website. The launch event was a huge success; held at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum it included a silent art auction curated by Andy Davis, live music by Band of Frequencies and Will Connor, whale tipi exhibition, screenings of Minds in the Water, talks from local SurfRider Foundation chapter and Environmental Defence Centre plus a special chance to interact with the team. The sail assisted Hobie Kayaks set sail from Gaviota Pier on Saturday, celebrating the last undeveloped 20 miles of the Southern Californian coast.. the mist cleared, the sun came out and of course, the dolphins guided the sailors into the water and along their journey.

Who knows what else natures greatest resource has in store for us; I guess that’s where the adventure lies.

Photos: Dawe/Billabong

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