Tuesday, February 21, 2023

#Superpod8: Honoring Ken & Blackfish at 10

Honoring Ken & Blackfish at Ten 

This year, Blackfish movie turns ten. And on 15 December 2022, the world lost Ken Balcomb; renowned scientist, Orca Survey founder, father, brother, sage, dam critic, whale Godfather, friend, environmentalist & mentor


In July, we are gathering to celebrate Ken's life, learn more about the Salish Sea, view the award winning documentary Corky, discuss orcas as non human persons, share the most recent Orcinus orca & dam science, hear about a possible new TV Series based on David Kirby's book, Death at SeaWorld, discuss whale captivity & sanctuaries, tell stories, and commemorate The Blackfish Effect at ten years

#Superpod8 is ON

Superpod is an orca conference & social event on San Juan Island, Washington, USA.  The event occurs from 18 to 21 July & the 2023 theme is Honoring Ken & Blackfish at 10. Superpod8 lectures will be filmed, once again, and archived at Kaarina's Delphinidae.info Channel on YouTube

This year, you'll meet and hear scientists from the Center for Whale Research, from Drs Naomi Rose, Deborah Giles, Ingrid Visser, & Lori Marino, as well as movie makers, NGO's, dam experts, a rhetorician, journalists, former trainers & more. There will be over two dozen presentations, land & water based whale watching; and socials in one of the most unique  settings in the world; the San Juan Islands, WA, USA 

#Superpod8 is the latest incarnation of an event that started in July 2011, & after an OSHA investigation was triggered regarding the tragic deaths of two killer whale trainers; one at SeaWorld of Florida & another at Loro Parque, in the Canary Islands

The OSHA investigation & associated trial formed the backbone of #Blackfish movie & Death at SeaWorld, book. The ex SeaWorld trainers featured in those works became galvanized after a misinformation campaign was waged by the company; SeaWorld publicly attempted to blame the trainers for their own deaths; an example, here


Thus, #Superpod1 was a reunion of former trainers who once worked together at the Orlando park. The concentration of ex trainers combined with orca scientists & folks familiar with the SeaWorld whale captures attracted journalists & a documentary film crew. Most of Blackfish was filmed at #Superpod1 & #Superpod2. David Kirby collected interviews at SP1 & released Death at SeaWorld at SP2

Regarding Death at SeaWorld, we plan to hear from Simon Allen,  showrunner for the proposed TV series, based on the book. At VOTO, it is our understanding he'll be attending and is making a presentation regarding the project 

The event has grown with each incarnation & continues to be organized by former SeaWorld trainers, marine mammal advocates & experts whose mission is to illuminate three primary topics, unified by an annual theme, in an evidence-based way: 

1. Marine Mammal Captivity (globally) & the need for an Orca / Whale Sanctuary
2. Scientific updates regarding orcas, especially the So Resident population
3. Salmon Restoration & the need for a free-flowing Snake River 

If you plan on attending #Superpod8, you'll need to arrange travel and lodging. While the activities & lectures are free to the public, attendees arrange their own accommodations.  Various ways to stay on island include: 

1. On a boat 
2. Camping at a Park 
3. Glamping at Lakedale 
4. Air BnB / Vrbo 
5. Rent a house or condo 
6. Hotel 

Most Superpodders get to San Juan Island via Washington State Ferries, which may require a reservation. Kenmore Air has flights as well. 

Superpod events occur daily, and include whale watching, presentations & social gatherings. Please arrange your own whale watching excursions.  Below is a rough schedule to give an idea of how the week is laid out. Keep in mind that it stays light very late in mid July, until nearly 10 pm 


MON: Arrive 
TUES: Morning whale watching / Friday's Crab House / Unofficial Welcome 
WED: San Juan Community Theater / Official Welcome / San Juan Community Theater
THURS: Theater Presentations / Lunch / Theater Presentations
FRI: Whale watching / Lime Kiln / Final Social
SAT/SUN: Flex Time / Departure

Theater presentations, topics & movie screenings have been loosely discussed and will be announced in detail, soon. Most folks consider seeing live orcas and attending Superpod a pivotal & inspirational life experience. Join US!


Info: @SuperPodInfo
email: jmventre@gmail.com
email: giles7@gmail.com