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by Duke Jarboe


With CNN recently airing the documentary Blackfish, people are reexamining how they feel about animals in captivity and looking for better ways to interact with them. With San Diego being home to both Sea World and the 6th largest zoo in the world, tourists often choose these two attractions for animal interactions. While both of these tourist attractions contribute to conservation, animal rehabilitation and rescue, and environmental cleanup and protection, it cannot be ignored that they are businesses making a profit by keeping animals captive and away from their natural environments.


To be fair, The San Diego Zoo pioneered open-aired, cageless, enclosures mimicking natural habitats and their Safari Park, in San Pasqual Valley houses 1800 acres of free-range enclosures and the world’s largest veterinary hospital. And we owe much of what we know about Killer Whales to the research happening at Sea World. But all you have to do is look at the folded over dorsal fin of the captive Orcas to realize that no matter how much these businesses do to help animals, they’re still keeping them captive, like prisoners. How happy can a 6 ton whale be in tank no bigger than a football field?


And that’s what differentiates us from zoos and Sea World. Our animals our happier, pure and simple. They’re in their natural habitat, which happens to be a Marine Protected Area. We interact with them as part of the natural co-mingling of species taking place in the La Jolla Ecological Preserve. Sea Lions, Seals, Dolphins, Cormorants, Pelicans, Sea Gulls, and Humans all live in the same area. We swim and kayak among them without disrupting them or disturbing their habitat. The Sea Lions are so comfortable with us in their environment that they give birth here. This is the only place where they do so on the mainland. It’s a privilege to be able to guide people out among the wonderfully diverse sea life of La Jolla.

We want to raise awareness of this issue. We're not seeking to shut down Sea World or the Zoo, we just want people to know that there is another way to interact with the animal kingdom. Kayaking with us is one of those ways and it truly is amazing. The experience of being in the open ocean with these animals is something you'll remember for the rest of your life. This is especially true with whale watching. Seeing such massive marine mammals within feet of your kayak is mind blowing. The experience is pure joy. So come play with us and help spread the word! If you see a happy animal, share it with us with the hashtag #happyanimals on twitter, facebook, google plus, or instagram. Share the experience and live the dream. 


Duke Jarboe
Duke Jarboe