Thursday, May 18, 2023

David Kirby & Superpod8 Details

May 18th 

Today is David Kirby's birthday

Sadly & shockingly, David passed on 16 April 2023, in Puebla, Mexico, at age 62. Medical complications, after a fall, lead to a hospitalization from which DK never returned. We are still processing this loss, as we were planning a reunion with David, at #Superpod8, whose book is a big topic at the event 

David talks with Amy Goodman, here

David's journalistic accomplishments are distinguished and some can be viewed here. Gabriel Rotello recently wrote of DK's outside interests

Kirby was a passionate cook, gardener, and lover of all things Mexican. He and his partner Carlos Jimeno had recently renovated a villa in Puebla, Mexico, a job he detailed to his many Facebook friends and followers. The couple had previously renovated a former bungalow colony in upstate New York. At his death, he was working on a memoir of his time traveling the world with Elizabeth Tayor for amfAR


DK was a friend of animals, people & the planet. He launched Death at SeaWorld at #Superpod2 & was looking forward to seeing the book's adaptation presented at Superpod8, by Simon Allen, writer & show runner for the TV Mini Series which is in development 

Simon says, "We'll be talking about why we optioned the book, our plans for the show, paying tribute to David and giving a short reading from the book in his memory." He also told me, "I was hoping to conclude the presentation... from Chapter 3 of Death at SeaWorld (Capture) which, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful things he wrote, and one of the many reasons why I fell in love with his book." 

Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of The Apartment, said: “Death at SeaWorld will not only be a searingly relevant prestige television event but also an inspiring rallying call to protect the beauty and wonder of our troubled planet.”

My Last Words with David 

We will honor Ken, DK & our Orca Heroes at Superpod8

Travel Logistics & Outline for Superpod8:

The Ferry Landing in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA, USA 

Most travelers will be arriving via ferry from Anacortes, on the map, partially, screen right. Note Friday Harbor, the location of Superpod 8.  You Are Here marks the location of the Center for Whale Research, and home of Orca Survey [1976 - Present]

Getting on island requires a boat or plane ride. Here is a link to the Washington State Ferry Schedule out of Anacortes. Most will be arriving via this method, including myself, and if you're bringing a car, make a reservation. It's peak season in the Pac-Northwest

While state ferries provide a remarkable & picturesque ride through the islands, arriving via Kenmore Air is supreme; especially if you come in on their Wild Orca DHC-3T deHavilland Otter Seaplane 

Kenmore Air seaplane pilots Michael Hays and Anna Gullickson founded Wild Orca in 2014, inspired by their unique view of the Southern Resident killer whales, and were determined to make a difference. They hatched a crazy dream of flying an orca seaplane above this endangered population they were working to protect and hoped to raise greater awareness of their plight by directly engaging with Kenmore Air passengers 
ANNA is presenting at SP8. Make sure to ask her about #WildOrcaSeaplane   


Michael & Anna with the #WildOrcaSeaplane.  

Once on the island, we'll walk, ride, tell stories, watch, spend time at Lime Kiln, & learn from some of the best in the world. The San Juans are a remarkable archipelago

Lime Kiln Lighthouse, Superpod3, Photo JV 

SP8 dates are 18-21 July 2023, Tuesday through Friday. The first and last days will feature social events & flex time; closing at Lime Kiln Lighthouse. The middle days will be at the San Juan Community Theater, home of the Friday Harbor Film Festival, & feature presentations via orca experts from the USA, Canada, France, Mexico, UK, New Zealand & Russia

Most attendees will be arriving Tuesday 18 July. Flex time excursions might include hiking, biking, Lime Kiln Lighthouse, San Juan Island National Historical Park, kayaking, Roche Harbor, Snug Harbor, water-or-land-based whale-watching [WW] & more. Last visit, while on island in October 2022, we met Copperfield & Jude, just outside of Friday Harbor. It was amazing to observe what they did with the harbor seal pictured below

JV  Oct 2022

Logistically, there are many things to do in the San Juan Islands. Please optimize your flex days so you can attend as many lectures as possible. You don't want to miss those 


Superpod 8 Outline Below 

VOTO's Samantha Berg & John Jett, surrounding Orca Hero Elizabeth Batt, The Batt Woman at #Superpod3

DAY ONE: Tuesday 18 July 2023 [FLEX DAY] 

0735 [Example] Arrive Friday Harbor via WA State Ferry or Seaplane 
0800 [Example] Coffee & Breakfast in Friday Harbor with fellow travelers & attendees  
1000  [Example] Whale Watching Excursion 
1200 - 1400 LUNCH 
1400 - 1630 FIRST SOCIAL EVENT: Deck Party at Friday's Crab House
1830 - 1930 MEETING: Speakers/Organizers Gathering at CWR Outreach Center 
1930 - Cocktails, Socials in Friday Harbor 


Corky is one of 2 feature docs that will be screened at Superpod8. Keiko: The Untold Story is the other. Both films will have Q&A's. Of note, Corky recently won the Audience Choice Award at the FH Film Festival. And Holly was instrumental in bringing Superpod8 to Friday Harbor this year

DAY TWO: Wednesday 19 July [THEATER DAY] 

Click graphic to Enlarge. Note that lectures are subject to change 

BLOCK ONE 0900 TO 1200 

1) London Fletcher & Dr Ingrid Visser: Orca interactions with Sunfishes
2) Muriel Anal of One Voice: Tribute to Ken & Update on France
3) Jim Waddell, RET U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lower Snake River Dams
4) Anna Gullickson, Kenmore Air Pilot, WA State Cetacean Captivity Bill HB2888 & more
5) Capt Jeff Friedman: PWWA benefits to education & changing orca habitat

Dr John Jett Presenting the Data from our Survival Paper, link here.
Also an article: The SeaWorld Mole Tried to Catfish Me by Melissa Cronin

BLOCK TWO 1300 TO 1600 

2) Dr Kathryn Comer (PSU): Blackfish at Ten, scholarship review 
3) Dr Naomi Rose (AWI): The Case Against Marine Mammals in Captivity, 6th Ed. 
4) Simon Allen: Show Runner for proposed "Death at SeaWorld" adaptation 
5) Dr Deborah Giles: From Poop to Protection, what scat samples can tell us about the health of the Southern Resident Killer Whales 

BLOCK THREE 1600 TO 2000  

1) Kelley Balcomb Bartok: Tribute to his Dad, Ken Balcomb 
2) Howard Garrett: Tribute to his Brother, Ken Balcomb
3) Michael Reppy: Will describe "Double Bay," a sanctuary for Corky 
4) MOVIE: Corky, a documentary by Director Christine Caruso 
5) Q&A with Christine, Holly Marie Combs, Kaarina Makowski, Naomi Rose, Michael Reppy  & Jeffrey Ventre 

DAY THREE: Thursday 20 July [THEATER DAY]

BLOCK FOUR 0900 TO 1200

1) Oxana Fedorova: Mission impossible: How we freed 10 orcas and 87 belugas from the Whale Jail
2) Dr Ingrid Visser: More information on the Whale Jail 
3) Stephanie Holbert [PhD Cand.]: Contaminants in Chinook Salmon Consumed by Resident Orcas
4) Center for Whale Research: Lecture One 
5) Center for Whale Research: Lecture Two 
6) Center for Whale Research: Lecture Three 

Press Conference: 28 October 2016 Pier 66 Seattle. Story HERE 

BLOCK FIVE 1300 TO 1530 

1) Margaux Dodds (Marine Connection, Uk): 30 years since the last captive cetacean left UK

2) Lincoln Obary [Remote Link with Indonesia]: Dolphin Project Update 
3) Matthew Speigl, Esq & Dr Ingrid Visser: Update on captive orca Morgan
4) Diane Fraleigh (Ontario Captive Animal Watch): Update on Canadian Legislation
5) Peggi Oki: Environmental & fine artist, TEDx public speaker, activist: Art for Tokitae

 BLOCK SIX 1630 TO 2000  

1) Howard Garrett (CWR): Tokitae plans, updates 
2) Dr Lori Marino (Neuroscientist; Whale Sanctuary Project): Update on WSP 
3) Charles Vinick (Ex Dir, Whale Sanctuary Project): Friends of Lotita 
4) MOVIE: Keiko The Untold Story 
5) Q&A with Dr Naomi Rose and Theresa Demarest 
6) ANNOUNCEMENTS: Spain 2024? Lime Kiln Lighthouse Friday Sunset 

Ella Van Cleave, Michelle Duncan, and Melissa Cronin (journalist) 

DAY FOUR: Friday 21 July 2023 [FLEX DAY]

0800 [EXAMPLE] Coffee & Breakfast 
0900 [EXAMPLE] Bike Ride to Roche Harbor 
1200 [EXAMPLE] Visit Snug Harbor 

1900 - 2100 LAST OFFICIAL SOCIAL. SUNSET AT LIME KILN. We will honor Ken, David, Elizabeth, Samantha, & our orca heroes with stories, song, drumming & more 
2200 - Night Cap in Town 




Many thanks to Kaarina Makowski, artist, archivist, orca expert, & movie editor extraordinaire, for her hard work putting together this new website. It will serve as a "hub for Superpod stuff."  Lectures from past Superpod events are there and this years lectures will be accessible later this year. She is also filming the lectures 

If you're attending SP8, you'll get to see her remarkable editing work in Corky, our featured film at Superpod8. This film is by Director Christine Caruso, with Holly Marie Combs as the voice over. There will be a Q&A after the film Wednesday night, including Kaarina, Holly, Michael, myself & Christine. Please join us there! 

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