I had gone to SeaWorld a few more times growing up and each time made me wonder why it was such a popular and fun experience, yet mixed with negativity. I decided that I did not want to work at SeaWorld because it just felt bad. I did not return there, but still enjoyed any opportunity to learn about orcas.
I was fortunate enough to visit the Whale Museum on the San Juan Islands off of Washington State. I loved the museum and learned more about whales there than I ever had at SeaWorld! In fact, the staff knew the whale pods and each individual whale in their area. They did not tag them, trap them, or shoot at them. They only watched them through binoculars at a safe distant away and photographed their dorsal fins for identification. I saw binders holding pages and pages of photos identifying what pods and whales. I even saw a whale pod as they migrated through the Haro Strait. On the boat, we watched the orca pod as they swam by, and then stopped to play. Well, it appeared like they were playing as they leapt out of the water, poked their heads up, and swam along side their babies to the waters' surface. I remember thinking how different they acted and looked in the wild versus the tanks of SeaWorld. I remember thinking, these animals were even more magnificent in their own environment, so why the hell would we need whistles and balls when they have everything they need and want in the ocean? They were so beautiful and they were free.The experience of seeing the orca pods live as they should made me wonder, how did marine parks get their show animals? What was their life like everyday once they were part of a show? I was scared to look into it, since I saw the free orcas and could not imagine intervening with nature. I forced myself to learn, because I love these animals too much to ignore what humans do to them.