Dear Sir David,
I’ve been ‘following’ your career, in the lightest sense of the word, since I was very small. The first documentary I remember watching, and the one that has made the biggest impact in my life, was one you narrated back in 1993, titled ‘Wolves of the Sea’. At the time I didn’t know it was considered the seminal work at the time on the lives of orcas, but to me it was magical. I received it for my sixth birthday in February 1994, having just returned from a visit to Disneyland in LA – the day before the Northridge earthquake; our hosts helped my very-early-morning fright with judicious application of the film Free Willy on laserdisc, which duly set off a life-long obsession with orcas. Free Willy was fiction, and glorious escapism, but Wolves of the Sea was fact, amazing fact, and alongside my fixation on orcas (and cetaceans in general) came a fascination and appreciation for science and biology and the natural world.
I went on to go into high school, and saw orcas for the first time in the wild on a trip to Antarctica after I graduated; from there, I went on to do an honours degree in marine science, with my thesis focussing on the biology and ecology of a local bottlenose dolphin population. I worked at a whale-watching company, and had every intention of going on a doing a PhD, studying orcas in Antarctica and finding out something amazing that you would be proud to discuss, with your gentle voice full of wisdom and appreciation for life, in some future documentary.
Life and circumstance gets in the way and I have gone a different direction, but I still remember how I felt that first time (and the million times after) I watched that old VHS, and how I still feel when I watch something you have helped create, capturing the glory of nature and making it that much more special. I still go out and watch orcas and dolphins and whales in the wild, and wonder how we’d treat them now without you to help us along the way.
Thank you for helping set my life on this path, and thank you for making the natural world that much more accessible and precious and alive. You truly are a treasure of the world.
Regards and thanks,
Griffith, ACT, Australia
Catriona holds a bachelor in Marine Science, is undertaking a Masters in Public Policy, is a science and environmental policy nerd of a frighteningly high order, thinks whales are much more interesting than the vast majority of humanity, is owned by a cat, and when her sinuses let her, indulges in scuba diving to satisfy a love of the sea. She can be found in various secret places on the internet, including also-the-abyss.tumblr.com