Fortunately we live in an age with the technology to communicate across oceans and as a result I was able to wish my dad an early Father’s Day via video chat on Friday. But yesterday, as I sat on the beach watching the beautiful, green, rolling waves of Walker Bay in the fading sun light – I remembered that my dad is the one who first encouraged me to look into becoming a marine biologist. Some of my favorite summer memories are the ones of going down to the Gulf of Mexico with my family. I remember waking up early, packing all the fishing gear into the pickup, mom fixing a basket full of sandwiches and chips, and trying to find a bottle of sun block that wasn’t passed the expiration date. Not only did we skillfully avoid having any smelly fish to clean when we came home but, more importantly, we always learned something new about the coastal area and gained a new appreciation of the importance of the ecosystem found there. All thanks to my dad's love and knowledge of the natural landscape.
I’ve been to the coast of Oregon, North Carolina, and now South Africa. But as spectacular as these beaches are, each in their own beautiful way, I will always love the sand of Crystal Beach. It was a special moment to me, sitting on the beach with my dad, looking out at the water, and recognizing the passion that would propel my career.
The color of the water, the type of shells, and the way the waves roll all change, but the energy of the ocean stays the same. Just as the miles may be great, the time may be in different zones, but the love between a father and daughter will never fade!