Ok so this post is way overdue. For those of you who don't know, I am backpacking through Europe for the month of April during Easter holidays trying to raise awareness and money for the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation dedicated to shark conservation (if you haven't seen his documentary.. you should). For any non marine biologists, here is a quick recap..
Shark have been on this planet since before dinosaurs and in approximately the last 100 years shark populations have decreased by 90% worldwide. This is ridiculous. One of the major causes of this has been the demand for shark fins to make shark fin soup in China and other parts of Asia. Shark fin soup is a sign of wealth. Basically if you can afford it, that means you have money. The sad part is that the shark fins add absolutely no flavor to the soup at all.. just a weird texture. Honestly, I have nothing against shark fin soup or any culture's traditions.. I have a problem with the way sharks are being fished to meet this demand. Not only do fishermen use illegal forms of fishing such as long lining in order to catch as many sharks as possible, but they also only keep the fins and throw the rest of the shark back in the water (still alive) because the rest of the shark is not as valuable as the fins themselves so they don't want to take up space on the boat. Watch this video, it summarizes what I'm saying really well.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFs78Y2yMgg&feature=fvst (copy and paste in another window). It's disgusting and it makes me sick. And then I had this idea..
One day I was sitting in my room and a few students came by and started talking about a university sponsored (University of Southampton) hitchhiking competition to raise money for HIVE, HIV Education. Teams of two or three have 36 hours to get as far away from Southampton as possible without spending any money on travel. My friend Sara and I went to the meeting and found out that they have had people get as far as Australia!!! They even told us all the secrets to hitching free rides on buses, trains, ferries and even planes! It seemed completely possible to at the very least make it to continental Europe. I talked to one guy who hitched to eastern Germany in 36 hours and then hitched all the way back in 24 hours! I immediately fell in love with this idea but I wanted to do it for a cause I am passionate about.. a.k.a. SHARKS!!! And that's how this all started. I am going to blog during my travels and if you feel like donating, just click on the handy dandy Donate button on the right side of the screen. My goal is to not spend ANY money at all and raise money instead. ALL donations will go to Sharkwater. Any size donation is welcome and keep checking back for updates!