How does one start a field project, anyway? I guess it’s different for different projects but, sometimes, they literally find you. The Turks and Caicos project found us through the Malcolm family- Sue, Jagan and Jade. Spending part of their year in Canada, they also live part time in Salt Cay, an island of the Turks and Caicos. It's on Salt Cay where they ran Green Flash Café and Whale Watch Tours (http://saltcay.org/whales.htm) .
A number of years ago, I, serendipitously met them when they came to Plymouth, MA to whale watch. We chatted about humpbacks in their feeding and breeding areas. Over the years we chatted on occasion but it was in 2006 when Sue contacted me as they were getting ready to head to Salt Cay, and that is when this project really began. We chatted by phone about the possibilities of getting information about the humpbacks wintering off the islands and what we could do to help each other. Sue, Jagan and Jade made a pit-stop in Plymouth on their way south to pick up a digital camera and data sheets from WDCS. The conversation over dinner (which Jagan made, and is quite a good cook, if I do say so myself!) led to them generously offering someone form WDCS to go to Salt Cay and check out the place. That’s where WDCS biologist Sue Rocca stepped in and the pilot project began in February of 2007.
Sue M. and Jagan decided to stay in Canada this winter and leased their Cafe to Porter Williams (http://greenflashcafe.blogspot.com/). While still in Canada this winter, the Malcolm's have continued to work with whale watches in Canada during the summer and will return to whale watching in Salt Cay next winter. They remain a tremendous help to WDCS with contacts and information about the islands and the whales for which they care deeply.