Thank you for sharing your personal stories, songs, poems, paintings and videos. We couldn't be more appreciative! We loved reading all of your stories, which made picking "winners" extremely difficult.
Our Best Pacific Ocean Stories Ever story contest allowed thousands of people to share a small slice of life on the B.C. coast, and we're all a bit more connected to our Pacific coastal waters because of your stories. Thank you!
And, without further ado.........
FIRST PLACE: A knock-down, drag-out fight with a devilfish. By Xwu'p'a'lich, Barb Higgins.
This story absolutely captivated us. It may appear long, but trust us, it's well worth the read. A Coast Salish woman recounts a very real story of her life as a little girl in 1943, sharing wisdom from a bygone time.
"Back in the olden days — when I was wise beyond my years and knew everything — life seemed pretty simple to me. Periodically, parental rules got in my way, but mostly I was able to sidestep or negate them when they became too inconvenient.
I'm going to tell you about one of those times."
BEST SHARER: Peter Mieras, Rendezvous Dive Adventures.
Located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Peter shares his love of B.C.'s underwater world by running SCUBA dive charters and local stewardship projects. Peter submitted a few videos about local stewardship projects to the Best Pacific Ocean Stories contest, including this one, where he leads a team of volunteer divers to remove derelict fishing gear that is lost in the sea and causing damage to marine life and habitat.
Peter was a champion at getting the word out about ocean stories, sending emails to his customer database, publishing it in an online issue of Pacific Northwest Diver posting it to ocean friendly Facebook groups. Thanks Peter for helping to spread the word, and for all the work you do under the water to protect it.
RUNNER UP: My ocean, my life. By Jude Grubb
In her story, Jude tells us that "No matter how I feel, it is always better when I am by the water. There is a great spirit there. A comforter of souls. The ocean is not only a lifeline for the planet, it is a lifeline for my survival."
RUNNER UP: Kelp Creature. By Jackie Hildering, the Marine Detective.
Jackie spends so much time on or in the water I think it's safe to say she is a marine mammal! Jackie shared a beautiful underwater video with us that really showcases the diversity and beauty of our rarely seen coastal waters. But, the story she gets the runner-up prize for is a simple but lovely story of a playful humpback she named Kelp Creature.
RUNNER UP: Living Lights of the Pacific. By Marguerite Yarmi.
If you've never seen the ocean sparkle with the lights of bioluminescence, this incredibly vivid story from Marguerite will give you a good sense of this magical phenomenon — the fireflies of the ocean. A special mention to Susan Pearson who made an exquisite painting to accompany this story.
RUNNER UP: Encounter with Splitfin. By Maria Chantelle Tucker.
Maria shares a story about a humpback whale with a dorsal fin that had been sliced in two (probably by a vessel strike). She tells us about her time on a whale watching boat when "the exuberant nature of the juvenile humpback whale had every passenger gasping for air. It was one of the most thrilling oceanic encounters of my life,
RUNNER UP: Clam digging. By Carrigan Tallio.
Carrigan is sixteen and Nuxalk, which is the First Nations group who have occupied the Bella Coola valley for thousands of years. Her story starts "I woke up to the sound of wolves howling. It was eight in the morning and my dad and grandfather were preparing the skiff. It was a cold November morning, colder than then rest. It was gloomy, and would rain on and off, but for now it was holding out."
RUNNER UP: My inspiration. By Anuradha Rao.
Anu asks some heartfelt questions in her ocean story: Can I take each person by the hand, give them a mask and snorkel and enable them to see what they miss? Can I teach them to see fish as friend, whale as queen, plankton as foundation, coral as civilization? Can I share with them the gift of respect for all living things?
RUNNER UP: Inspired by Silence. By Nicole Koshure.
Nicole tells us her story about working with Cetus, which is non-profit, marine conservation society which operates in the waters around Victoria and Alert Bay, BC. In her story, as they listen through an underwater microphone to the threatened northern resident killer whales, she realizes "What made the experience more beautiful than anything was the fact that there were no other sounds....no boats, no tugs, no ships....just whales. Sadly, this is fast becoming a rarity off our coast!
RUNNER UP: Prairie dog goes coastal. By Julie Stang.
Julie's from central Alberta and her story is about her 4 hour trip from Bella Coola to Bella Bella. "If I thought the earth, sea and sky were beautiful, I would find out that the people who live there really are the beautiful ones. The knowledge and love that they have for their ocean homeland is like none other."
RUNNER UP: Gone in a Flash. By Rhianna Featherstone.
Rhianna shared a deeply personal story of a pod of whales that that came to pay respects at a friend's burial at sea. They even got some footage of this special encounter.