As an experiential extension of my doctorate research dating back to 2009-2013, I committed to regularly swimming the Keurbooms Estuary (Plettenberg Bay, RSA) over the past decade. I was eager to deepen my connection with a particular place and explore my own correlates for connection, meaningful experience as well as sharpening my own skills as a scientific naturalist.
In 2021, I produced a calendar “For the Love of the Lagoon” showcasing of my photos from underwater time with Keurbooms Lagoon (as it is also known). Then last week (July 2023), I was delighted to be able to give a more comprehensive at the Marine Science Symposium which forms part of the Plett OceanFest. My presentation adopted an integral approach, exploring the Keurbooms Estuary from multiple perspectives (inner and outer, individual and collective). Whilst I showcased some of the interesting sightings and behaviours of organisms from an a more objective (standard scientific) lens, the last part of my presentation also disclosed some of the my personal experiences, the meaningful moments that have deeply connected to these estuarine waters.
The formula that I have found most contributed to these experiences was taking time to cultivate a certain quality of being that comprise a mindful trinity of “intention” + “attention” underlined by a deepening “place-based awareness” to = authentic “connection” .
I care for Keurbooms Estuary and it continues to be a font of wellbeing and memory-making in my life.